Southern Oregon Wine Country Bicycle Tour – Day 3
Applegate Valley Wine Country, picnic lunch on the Applegate River at Red Lily Vineyards, wine and cheese tasting at Wooldridge Creek Winery and CrushPad Creamery.
Day 3 of the Southern Oregon Wine Country Bicycle Tour takes us to new valley and a new wine region. The Applegate Valley AVA consists of a group of 18 unique wineries producing a diverse array of high quality and hand-crafted wines. This narrow valley is much less populated than the valley we rode yesterday. The mountains are closer and more rugged and the terrain more varied. The scenery is striking. All these attributes make this one of the most interesting wine regions in the west.
Getting there requires a bit of climbing. If you are up to the challenge, you can ride from our hotel in Jacksonville to the summit of Sterling Creek Road. The rest of us will board the van for a relaxing shuttle to the top. Either way, we are all on our bikes for one of the sweetest downhill rides in Southern Oregon. After six miles of smooth pavement, easy curves, and ever changing postcard quality vistas, we glide to a stop at the tiny ghost town of Buncum. From here the route continues on a gradual downhill course past vineyards, organic farms, and small ranches to our picnic lunch stop at Red Lily Vineyards on the banks of the peaceful Applegate River.
Refueled, and perhaps reinvigorated with a sip of Red Lily’s award-winning Tempranillo, we set out on our bikes again to the bucolic North Applegate River Road with row upon row of grape vines stretching from the river’s edge up the hillsides to forest interface zone. From here, stronger riders may want to extend the route with a 14 mile loop to the other side of the valley and rejoin the group at our next destination, the highly acclaimed Wooldridge Creek Winery and CrushPad Creamery. Ah, boutique wine and artisan cheese, how can you beat that? Rest your legs and take in the magnificent views of the valley you just rode through from the veranda of the tasting room.
We have one more treat for you on today’s route. Hop on your bike or our shuttle for a 3 mile, mostly downhill glide to Schmidt Family Vineyards. This beautifully landscaped property is about as close as Southern Oregon gets to a large estate winery. We’ll nosh on appetizers and sample the libations before we load onto the Via Bike Tours van for a shuttle back to Jacksonville. Rest up a bit at the hotel. We have another fabulous dining experience waiting for us this evening.