After my first encounter with Red Lily Vineyards, I signed up to do the Wild Rogue Relay again, mostly to get back to this special winery, not to really run as part of the relay team or spend 24 hours with no sleep or trying to sleep on hard rocky ground. The race went off well and our team of 12 finished, not even close to last place. We won the battle of running 218 miles without any injuries.
I returned home and told my wife how great this place was…again. Her response? What are we waiting for? Let’s go.
Fast forward another year and our friends at Bitcork said they had a writing assignment for us in Southern Oregon. Low and behold, Red Lily was one of their new clients. In one nanosecond we agreed to head south and visit Red Lily and three other wineries to learn about their wine, tasting rooms, the wine experience, the vineyard and anything else our readers might find interesting and exciting.
Once a year is too long to wait for this special place.There was much more in store for us. We were greeted warmly by the owner and wine maker, Rachael Martin.She made us feel like old friends and could not have felt more at home in this cozy and welcoming tasting room. We sampled all of Red Lily’s wines, each became an instant favorite. Once again the Verdejo sang a song to our taste buds, but it didn’t stop there.
Red Lily’s focus is on Tempranillo. There are several to choose from, each one was better than the last. Rachel fell hard for Tempranillo when she worked at a winery in Spain and was determined to recreate that experience in Southern Oregon. The wines are named lovingly in honor of Rachael’s children, one of the labels was even designed by her daughter.
When we toured the facilities. we found an amazing set up of equipment, rooms for special events and the most beautiful riverside tasting area. It was filled with tables and chairs overlooking crystal clear, chilly water that that invites you to dip your toes, or simply sit by the stream sipping these wonderful wines and enjoying the view.
We also met two of Rachael’s children during the tour. Lily, the namesake of Red Lily, was busy in the storage facility putting labels on each bottle of wine by hand. We also met Riley who was busy doing the tasks of a cellar rat. Ah, the Life of Riley (his namesake wine). Wait till you taste those wines! It truly is a family affair. We didn’t get a chance to meet Rachael’s husband, Les, but we surely will the next time we visit.
We found out during our visit and tour that on Thursday evenings throughout the summer, Red Lily has concerts by the river and on the lawn with preferred seating on the beach, yes, a beach! All you need is sunscreen and wine. More on the concert experience at Red Lily in the next installment. All I can say is 500 to 1000 folks show up for these events, amazing!
You must visit this lovely place. Ask for Rachael and tell her Winery Wanderings sent you. You will NOT be disappointed.
Red Lily Vineyards, along with many other small production wines, can be found in the finest restaurants in Eugene and Portland, thanks to the hard work and creative approach to distribution by BitCork. Visit BitCork to learn where you can try these great artisan wines and ask your favorite restaurants to carry these small production wines. (This blog post was sponsored by BitCork.)