The Illinois Valley and the river it’s named for carve a path through the forested mountains of the Siskiyou Mountains to the south and the Oregon Coast Range to the west. The tranquil, rural setting is a comfortable place where you can enjoy the outdoors, sip a little wine and simply relax.
The town of Cave Junction, at the heart of the valley, is the gateway to one of our state’s greatest treasures, the Oregon Caves National Monument, one of the world’s few marble cave formations.
With less than 1,900 people, Cave Junction is also the seat of the Illinois Valley wine region. With a high elevation and ocean breezes that spill over the coastal mountains to the west, the valley is perfect for cool-weather varietals like its justifiably famous Riesling.
The Illinois Valley is located in Josephine County and is the westernmost of three valleys in the Rogue Valley AVA. Less than 50 miles from the Pacific Ocean, it lies along Highway 199, which runs from Interstate 5 at Grants Pass to US Highway 101 on the coast. The valley is bordered by the Siskiyou Mountains to the south and the Oregon Coast Range to the west.
The Illinois Valley is home to one of the oldest existing vineyards in Oregon, planted in 1969. Winemaking took off in the 1980s with the arrival of family growers including Bridgeview Vineyards and Winery owners Lelo and Bob Kerivan, with their well-researched European grape-growing practices.
Soils consist of stream-deposited sand, silt and gravel, bench gravel deposits, and glacial moraines.
Source: Oregon Wine Board
The higher elevation and coastal influence creates a micro-climate suitable for Burgundian varieties such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Gamay Noir. Other varietals include Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Riesling.