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SOUTHERN OREGON WINES

Passport to a pleasant day

Local wineries join up to offer tours for visitors, residents
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Eric Weisinger ties down grapevines in the fields above the Weisinger Family Winery, one of 10 in the Bear Creek Boutique Wineries Association. Mail Tribune / Bob PennellBob Pennell
 Posted: 2:00 AM March 04, 2014

Members of the Bear Creek Boutique Wineries Association are working together to let tourists and locals know numerous wineries are located just minutes from downtown Ashland, Medford and Jacksonville.

Residents and visitors can enjoy activities in those towns on the same day they visit any of the 10 small, family-owned wineries that make up the association.

"It's a great asset for Ashland in particular," said Laura Lotspeich, co-owner of Trium Wines in Talent. "So many people come to see plays and experience the downtown. They want to get out, taste wines and see beautiful locations. We're all small, we're all personal, and it really builds on the Ashland experience."

Bear Creek Boutique Wineries

• Trium Wines, Talent

• Weisinger Family Winery,

Ashland

• Grizzly Peak Winery, Ashland

• Dana Campbell Vineyards,

Ashland

• Paschal Winery, Talent

• 2Hawk Winery, Medford

• Pebblestone Cellars, Medford

• StoneRiver Vineyard, Talent

• Aurora Vines, Talent

• DANCIN Vineyards, outside Jacksonville

To buy a tasting room passport to all the wineries, visit any of the wineries.

For a map to the wineries and more information about the Bear Creek Boutique Wineries Association and its individual members,

visit www.bearcreekwineries.com.

To encourage people to venture out to the wineries, the association is offering an $18 passport that covers three tastings at each of the association wineries. Passport holders have up to a year to visit all the wineries.

Eric Weisinger of Weisinger Family Winery said wine fans are often part of the same demographic that is drawn to Ashland for the arts.

"It's an industry that complements what's already here," he said of winemaking.

In the summer, 60 to 70 percent of the guests at his winery have come to see Oregon Shakespeare Festival plays, Weisinger said.

He said the enjoyment of wine is also part of the growing culinary tourism trend.

"Culinary tourism is so important because when you go to a region, you want to experience its culture," he said. "Part of any culture is its food and wine. For example, if you went to France, you wouldn't order a chardonnay from California."

Weisinger said he hopes local residents are gaining a sense of pride about living in the increasingly well-known Southern Oregon wine region.

"The wines of Southern Oregon are developing a reputation for their quality. What a lot of locals don't realize is that the story of Southern Oregon wine is just beginning to come out," he said. "The story of what's happening here is really exciting."

The other members of the Bear Creek Boutique Wineries Association — which formed in 2011 — are Grizzly Peak Winery and Dana Campbell Vineyards near Ashland; Paschal Winery near Talent; 2Hawk Winery, Pebblestone Cellars, StoneRiver Vineyard and Aurora Vines between Talent and Medford; and DANCIN Vineyards near Jacksonville.

To buy a tasting room passport to all the wineries, visit any of the wineries.

For a map to the wineries and more information about the Bear Creek Boutique Wineries Association and its individual members, visit www.bearcreekwineries.com.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.


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