Red Lily Vineyards • Southern, OR
Oregon has become an absolute wine destination. Willamette Valley has led this charge with a consistent track record for pumping our great Pinots. However, just North of the California border, in the shadow of Mount Shasta, lie the towns of Ashland and Medford. These two small towns are surrounded by approximately 50 wineries scattered from the California border to just South of Eugene.
Red Lily is a great example of what Southern Oregon has to offer the wine snob venturing off the beaten path. Definitely not what I was expecting. Plenty of typical winery panache coupled with tons of Southern Oregon hospitality and charm. Sitting beside Chapman Creek and in the narrow of the valley, the winery is spacious and cozy. A lovely setting for a leisurely afternoon of wine tasting.
Don’t expect a winery with huge distribution nor labels that you’ll find in restaurants and supermarkets far and wide. This is just not that wine region. Producing only 4 wines, Red Lily only produces about 5000 cases of wine which they distributed almost wholly from their tasting room. Tempranillo is the driving varietal for Red Lily and they do it well. Well made and worldly but far from typical while maintaining the local feel that “is” so much of this wine region.
When you drive into the property, the first thing you notice is a cute little wooden bridge crossing a babbling creek with a small beach and tables. If it’s warm, you will likely see more than a few tasters enjoying the creek and the weather. Talk about really staying true to your winery. Red Lily has created a tasting concept specifically for sitting by the creek. Just ask for your tasting in your own personal set of test tubes, yes I said test tubes, and off you go. Your test tubes come in a cute little rack for easy transporting them the 150 yards down to the creek and enjoy your wine with your toes in the cool, wet pebbles.
Tempranillo is not the most common varietal to see driving a winery however Red Lily seems committed to sharing its appeal. Truth be told, it wasn’t their use of Tempranillo that caught my attention but rather their blending it with Cabernet Sauvignon. My palate struggled with it at first. A battle of acid profiles meeting somewhere in the middle made for a delightful resonance. Very creative. My experience told me it shouldn’t have worked but what do I know. The juice was good. That’s what I get for thinking too much and forgetting why I was there in the first place.
Red Lily has a beautiful, open and airy tasting room that begs for a group of wine snobs to sit around, share a few stories and enjoy their fantastic juice. Don’t forget to venture around the property and dip your toes in the creek. That’s why I went to Red Lily. Its always about the adventure. Under your feet and on your palate. Thanks for reminding me why I love wine tasting.
11777 Hwy. 238
Jacksonville, OR 97530
How to get there:
Take I-5 to Southern Oregon. Exit Garfield and head west, then a quick right onto Hwy 99 then a quick left on Stewart Ave. Stewart hooks around left to the South. Just after the curve, turn right onto Bellinger Lane. Follow Bellinger to East California Street/Hwy 238 and turn right. Follow Hwy 238 West about 11 miles and Red Lily will be on your left.