Our vineyards are located near Elkton (pop. 170) in the northern part of the Umpqua Valley of Oregon, which has a climate more similar to the Willamette Valley to the north than the much warmer climate only 50 miles to the south where most Umpqua Valley vineyards are located.
The ocean is only 36 miles away and morning fog frequently shrouds the vineyards even in the summer, reflecting the strong marine influence on our climate. The area receives about 55 inches of rain annually, but little rain falls in the summer months when the grapes are maturing. Summer temperatures will reach 90 degrees on many July and August days, with night time temperatures falling to 50 degrees. The conditions are ideally suited to the production of cool weather varieties such as pinot noir and gewürztraminer.
The region surrounding Elkton is relatively undeveloped. Cattle and sheep ranching are the principle agricultural activities and are largely confined to the river plain and gentler hills close to the Umpqua River. There are large tracts of forest higher on the hills. The Umpqua Valley is a sportsman’s paradise. Wildlife abounds, particularly wild turkey, deer and the namesake elk. The Umpqua River is famous for robust runs of salmon and steelhead in the spring and fall, and fishing for small mouth bass provides considerable summertime enjoyment. Guided fishing trips are readily available and sport fishing is an important mainstay of the local economy.
Our valley was the site of Oregon’s first modern winery, Hillcrest Vineyard, founded in 1965. The state industry has grown dramatically and the Umpqua Valley remains a vibrant participant. An organized tour of the local family-owned wineries is available and visitors will be charmed by their friendly and down-to-earth character, as well as the excellent wines they produce.