The Umpqua Valley is home to many internationally recognized wines. In fact, the Valley offers the greatest number of wine varieties of anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps in the Nation. On this Fine Wines Bicycle Tour, you will pass eleven wineries and a meadery, which together represent about a quarter of all the wine-making operations in the Umpqua Valley at this time.
In our area, the wineries generally invite you to sample wines in tasting rooms at their wineries. So as you ride along, consider visiting them as a welcome diversion to time in the saddle. Or after you return to your lodging, you could drive to the wineries and linger. Some wineries might be willing to deliver wines that you purchase while biking to wherever you are staying.
This Fine Wines Tour is an enjoyable ride through wine country along beautiful pastures where horses, cattle, llamas, and sheep graze, interspersed occasionally by vineyards and some excellent views of the Umpqua River. Your Fine Wines Tour starts and ends at Douglas County’s River Forks Park. The park is a day-use-only facility and is located at the confluence of the North and South Branches of the Umpqua River, which when combined form the Umpqua River main stem flowing westward to Reedsport and the Oregon Coast. The park offers restrooms, pavilions, picnic areas, accessible playgrounds, disc golf course, ball fields, sand-volleyball courts, and multi-use paths. Figure on a $4 fee to park. Just after leaving the park entrance on your bike, pause for a moment and enjoy the Master Gardener’s Discovery Garden before pedaling on.
Traffic on the Garden Valley and Melrose Road segments can be moderate to high at times (for example, early- to mid-mornings and late afternoons on work days), and vehicles often travel 55-60 miles per hour. Fortunately, the roads have good shoulders in the high-traffic areas, narrower in less-traveled parts. Elsewhere on the ride traffic is usually lighter, but it also travels in the 45-55 mile per hour range. Shoulders are narrower on Hubbard Creek and Melqua Roads, so make sure you and other riders maintain safe tracks along the narrow shoulders. There will be some rollers and a good hill along the way.
Early in your ride, you can take a short side trip to visit Cleveland Rapids and see a magnificent stretch of the Umpqua River main stem–just follow the signs on Garden Valley Road.
After beginning your ride at River Forks Park, you head north on Old Garden Valley Road until it reaches Garden Valley Road. Riding along, watch for the State’s blue directional signs and winery-owners’ colorful entry signs. Soon after leaving River Forks Park you reach Ferraro Vineyards and Winery, your first winery on your Tour.
Once on Garden Valley Road, you pass three wineries on or just off Garden Valley Road: Becker, Joseph Jane, and Reustle Prayer Rock. Turning west on Hubbard Creek Road, you cross the Umpqua River main stem and pass Henry Estate Winery, one of the Umpqua Valley’s oldest and most respected vintners. Later, you ride past Melrose Vineyards on Melqua Road. Not too much further along, you reach Melrose Road. If you take a short trip to your right, you can visit Hillcrest Winery, the oldest Pinot Noir winery in Oregon. Then, after turning around and heading east on Melrose Road, you’ll pass a u-pick farm on your right and then come to Kruse Farms, a regionally famous and locally owned farm-produce, pie-and-goodies stand…fantastic. Heading further east on Melrose Road, just before the Garden Valley intersection, on your left are tastes of something different at the Oran Mor meadery. Heading north on Garden Valley Road, you pass Tesoaria Vineyard and Winery, followed by the Grange and the Roseburg Country Club. You then cross the North Umpqua River again, and turn left on Old Garden Valley Road. Along this ride segment are three wineries: Evensong, Cooper Ridge, and Glasier.
Turn back into River Forks Park and celebrate! What a great ride and introduction to the finest wines in Oregon!
To get to River Forks Park, you take I-5 Exit 125 and turn West onto Garden Valley Road. Go West about 5 miles passing the Grange and the Roseburg Country Club and then, after crossing the North Umpqua River, turn left on Old Garden Valley Road. Go about a mile and see the signs on your left to River Forks Park.