And why is Resistance Wine made there?
The Rogue Valley is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Southern Oregon, just north of California. It is bordered by the Siskiyou Mountains and the Cascade Range, both of which protect it from extreme weather.
The first vineyard in the Rogue Valley was planted in 1968, but the local wine industry didn’t really take hold until the 1990s, and most of the vineyards in the area are relatively young. We chose to make wine in the Rogue Valley for so many reasons.
First, we love that the Rogue Valley is home to well over a hundred small-scale, owner-managed vineyards. This may not be the case forever—as wine regions gain popularity, large producers tend to buy up smaller ones, and larger-scale vineyards are planted to support industrial-scale winemaking. But for now, we love the quality that comes from vineyards managed at a sustainable scale.
Nevertheless, we have a critical mass of wine grape growers in the region, which leads to the collaboration and cooperative learning necessary for continuous improvement to farming practices. Essentially, wine’s going to get better and better.
Second, the Rogue Valley is nowhere near homogeneous in climate—it comprises a whole bunch of micro-climates that make for dramatically different growing conditions in the span of a few miles. We can get grapes from vineyards in Ashland or Medford or Gold Hill, on hillsides and in valleys, in sandy soils and clay, and they all bring something different to our wine program.
It also means that we can make multiple varieties of wine that all grow well in their individual micro-climates. I love Napa Valley cabernet as much as the next girl, but all cabernet all the time gets boring. Our favorite Rogue Valley wine grape varieties so far are Rhone grapes (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, etc.), Malbec, and Tempranillo (the superstar of Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines).
Third, although every site and every year is a little different, the Rogue Valley is generally dry from June through September. This is an ideal climate for grapevines, partly because it allows for a deficit irrigation program to concentrate flavors in the grapes and limit vegetative growth, and partly because the lack of humidity limits the pests that plague vineyards in areas that are more humid and see summer rainfall. Fewer pests = less spraying, which we appreciate. Several of our vineyards’ pest control spray programs consist exclusively of organic sulfur, which is wetted and sprayed on leaves to control powdery mildew.
Finally, despite being hemmed in by mountains, the Rogue Valley is not isolated, which is another perk when you want to source the best fruit out there. The Applegate Valley AVA borders us to the southwest, and we are only a few hours’ drive from the Willamette Valley, of Pinot Noir renown.
In fact, coming to the mailing list soon(ish) will be a 2020 Resistance Wine Co Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. Stay tuned for that!
Hey, if you like reading about wine, you’ll definitely enjoy drinking it. Check out the Resistance Wine Company’s best bottles!