Savoring Oregon’s Wine Country, No Driving Required
The road to Wine Country starts at the top of a hill in the southern reaches of the Willamette Valley. In the distance, you can’t see anything but forest. Just when you start thinking that you’re going to miss something, the Pacific Ocean opens up and the views expand. But if you’re like me, you’ll still be smiling because you’re approaching Lake Rogue Lodge, the first winery opened by winemaker Mike Bregman and the home of wine tasting sessions and classes.
For the past several years, Bregman, a graduate of the University of Oregon’s College of Optometry, has been traveling around the country educating people about how to produce the best wines from local grapes. After working in California as a consultant for wineries and a researcher for the USDA, Bregman returned to the U.S. and began taking the next step in his career.
Oregon is known for its wine. This wine, which is full of fresh fruit, a little spice and an intoxicating bouquet of spice, licorice, leather and minerals, is what distinguishes Oregon wines from the rest of the U.S. This is wine that is also healthy and tasty, a delight for the senses.
Bregman’s first winery, which he opened in 1996, was located in a part of Lake Rogue known as the Wine Country. That is where a wine tasting session was held in the spring. Then he opened his winery in 2001, taking a break from the vineyard for the tasting session. Now he is back in the wine-producing area, producing wines from the vineyard and developing new wineries in other parts of the Willamette Valley.
Wine country, not the wine.
“The main reason I wanted to do this is so that people can see what Oregon has to offer the winery industry,” Bregman said. “We’ve had the best wines of the Northwest, and I was hoping the public would be interested in trying them and visiting them. There’s a whole lot to learn about winemaking in Oregon and this is a way for people to do