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Drinking Outside the Box: Irvine & Roberts Vineyard in Ashland

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Photo by Nick Blakeslee

When I first moved to southern Oregon, I went to a wine tasting party with my sister and a group of her friends. I hadn’t been out of college for more than a few months, which meant I was still in that phase of my life where “expensive” beer was Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve and a gourmet dinner was splurging for two boxes of Red Baron pizza and not going to bed hungry.  Naturally, when she told me to bring some wine I brought the only kind I’d really had at school: Franzia. I stuffed it in a grocery bag and we did a blind tasting. I thought it’d be funny.  Everyone at the party had actually brought nice vintages, they were gracious enough to chuckle at my joke and promptly ignore the boxed wine except when using it to wash out their glass. I’ve said it before: I’m not what you’d describe as classy.

Things have changed since then. Last week I went with a few friends and checked out a local vineyard called Irvine & Roberts. It’s not far from downtown Ashland; we stopped by after hiking Hobart bluff one beautiful autumnl afternoon. I’m not the biggest wine buff, but I can at least now enjoy more styles than “boxed.” We shared a bottle of their 2015 Pinot Noir and 2015 Chardonnay. The Pinot had some great spiced finish with a healthy flavoring of red and black fruit. The Chardonnay was great to enjoy in the Fall sun, I tasted citrus, a bit of floral flavors and stone fruit. Not that oaky or buttery. They offered nearly half a dozen other vintages and styles, ranging from Rosé to a Pinot Meunier.

But my favorite part about vineyards are the properties. They always seem to be placed in picturesque locations, whether it’s near a babbling brook or out on some rolling hill. Irvine & Roberts was the latter. The view was stunning, the landscape boasted the rich colors of fall: orange, yellow and red. Song birds chirping, a slight breeze, idle banter among my friends and a comfortable blanket; the only thing that’d make it more idyllic would be a string quartet. This is a place that’s perfect for a group of friends, or just on your own with a good book to read and some time to kill.

I’ve come a long way since the days of boxed wine. Southern Oregon has a long list of beautiful things to offer, vineyards among that list. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, Irvine & Roberts Vineyard is a cozy spot that offers not only delicious wine and small plates, but stunning views and a welcoming atmosphere. Don’t miss out on it.


Irvine & Roberts Vineyard

12 – 6 pm, Wednesday – Sunday

1614 Emigrant Creek Rd, Ashland


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