DRINK LOCAL: By the Barrel- Urban Cork in Medford
Have you ever heard of an urban winery? I hadn’t. Perhaps living in Southern Oregon’s inundated winery scene has biased my view of what winemaking looks like. I assumed that every vineyard also has the means for producing wine onsite. Clearly, that’s not quite the case. Urban Cork and Pallet Wine Co. in Medford—connected by business and building—is an urban winery that’s responsible for the production of over 30 Oregon Wines, including many locals. They pump out a staggering 40,000 cases of bottles a year
Linda Donovan, part owner and operator, gave me a behind the scenes tour of their entire operation. I’m quite familiar with brewing process when it comes to ciders or beers, but wine was a complete mystery to me; it was a real treat to see how everything was done. The space is huge, with hundreds of wine barrels stacked from floor to ceiling aging wines for as long as three years. They use grapes sourced from vineyards like Dana Campbell Vineyards and Grizzly Peak Winery, as well as nearly a dozen other local spots. Grapes are hand sorted, separated and smashed and fermented then placed in a wine barrel and moved to a corner of the building to wait for the magic to happen. There’s so much going on, and it’s just right under our noses.
But how does Drink Local come into play? Like I said, they feature over 30 Oregon wines. Their wine flight changes every two days, meaning every time you go in, you can try a different set of wines. Wine flights and vineyards, of course, only feature their own wines. There is seldom an opportunity to try so many vineyards in one place. Want to try Schutlz Vinyards’ 2011 Merlot against Merrill Cellars’ 2013 Tempranillo? You can do that there, and not have to buy two bottles.
They also offer an impressive charcuterie plate, as well as beer and ciders (if you want to bring any non-wino friends). They do live music every other weekend, and are available for private parties. Their space is lovely, and I can imagine it’d be wonderful for nearly any event, professional, casual or otherwise.
The Urban Cork
1 – 7 pm, Thursday – Sunday
330 N Fir St, Medford