Troon Vineyard in Southern Oregon and the Applegate Valley
We have been meaning to get to Troon Vineyard for quite a while and we were so happy when Craig Camp their General Manager said he had time to show us around.
We had briefly met Craig at the Wine Media Conference in Walla Walla. He has a long history with the conference.
When we visited Cowhorn a few years ago, Bill Steele the owner and winemaker at that time, spoke of Craig and Troon and encouraged us to visit them. The two had worked together as Troon worked to regenerate the vineyard and begin to work biodynamically.
Last year, while the Wine Media Conference was virtual we were able to attend a session with Troon and Winderlea and learn a bit more about their wines.
At long last, we were here. We arrived and pulled into one of the charging spots (they have 2). It was one of the few times we were able to charge Nuit (our Kia Niro hybrid) on our trip.
Craig loaded us into his SUV for a drive around the vineyard, with stops to meet the dogs and see the sheep. We also stopped at the biodynamic shed where he showed us the preparation and compost mixtures and the cow horns.
We headed to the garden where they grow the plants for their biodynamic preparations, Stinging Nettle for Preparation 504, Valerian for 507, and Yarrow for 502.
We also had a chance to speak with Andrew Beedy, their biodynamic consultant who showed us the worm bed.
We finished the visit with a tasting on their patio. They have so many exciting wines here. From bubbles that include Piquette, a Tannat Pét Nat, and a Metodo Ancestrale FIZZante to Amber wines (white wines made with skin contact).
Varieties lean toward the Rhône, with Vermentino (called Rolle in the Rhône) Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Syrah, Grenache then they stray a bit with Tannat, Primitivo and Tinta Roriz. The wines here speak to me in textures, with depth and individuality. These are not cookie-cutter wines.
The morning had been clear, but as we left some of the smoke was being pulled in from the fires that had started up the night before due to lightning strikes.
The vines were fine, the fires far enough away that the smoke will not cause damage, but it’s a reminder of how fragile our planet and ecosystem are.
The regenerative agriculture they are using here is not just meant to keep the soil and planet healthy, it is “re” generative, which means it is regenerating and increasing the health of the soil and the planet. No-till is a method of capturing carbon, which we must do to mitigate climate change.
North through Grants Pass to the Umpqua Valley
At last, we had to leave to head further north, but don’t worry, we will have a detailed post with all the great conversations from this visit. There is quite a bit to dig into.
We headed North and stopped on the Rogue River for lunch in Grants Pass. Taprock Northwest Grill has beautiful river views of the bridges crossing the River, and we watched people kayaking and canoeing down the river as we enjoyed our lunch.
Then it was north to Roseburg where we would meet with the group for our Pre-Conference tour in the Umpqua Valley, sponsored by the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers.
Our first evening was to be a meet and greet, with wines from around the region. We met in the lobby and boarded a bus to head to the restaurant.
The bus…well, it was a party bus, from “Swing from the Vines” complete with a pole, and yes by the end of our time in Umpqua, there was a pole dance (Shout out to Stubbs!).
We arrived in downtown Roseburg at True Kitchen+ Bar where they had a back room set up for us. We enjoyed dinner and wines from many of the wineries we would be visiting over the next few days.
(I’ll remind you here, that all of the attendees had to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, before being allowed to attend the conference).
Full and happy we returned to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. I don’t think we realized how much we were going to need that. The next two days in the Umpqua took us to 13 different locations to taste 17 of the 22 wineries that are part of the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association.
If you are interested in more of our trip you can check out our other posts
And…there will be more to come, we will give you the breakdown day by day and then return for in-depth stories on many of the wineries we visited.
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.