Bridgeview Vineyard & Winery Review
Address: 4210 Holland Loop Road Cave Junction,Oregon 97523.
Phone Number: 877-273-4843
Tasting Hours: 11:00-5:00
Region: Southern Oregon AVA, Rogue Valley AVA, Oregon
Review Date: 5/8/2015
Far from the hustle of Oregons wildly popular Willamette Valley, Bridgeview Winery has been quietly producing a selection of quality, value-priced Oregon wines since 1986. We visited on a weekday afternoon after a beautiful drive along Highway 199 from the North Coast. On arrival, we were welcomed by Bridgeview founder Bob Kerivan from his post on a pontoon boat anchored alongside Sucker Creek, which runs through the tranquil estate vineyard. Bob and his wife Lelo retired to the Illinois Valley (an unofficial sub-AVA of Oregons Applegate Valley) in 1979 and gamely threw themselves into developing the thriving vineyard and winery that will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2016. Finally enjoying his golden years, Bob merrily waved us toward the tasting room and into the capable hands of his son and Bridgeview winemaker, René Eichmann.
Stepping inside the Bridgeview tasting room, we escaped the heat of early summer without giving up the beautiful view of the winery grounds through the floor to ceiling glass doors. The tasting room is situated directly between the crush pad and the vineyard, giving not only a sense, but the actual experience of being in the middle of a working winery and vineyard. While tasting at the bar, a pair of swans who call Sucker Creek home swim idly by toward the vineyards oldest block. The tasting room itself is quaint and familial it feels very much like the product of Bob and Lelos warm and unassuming nature.
Lelos son René moved to Oregon from Germany in 1980 to help with the familys newly minted winery. As the years have passed, René has raised three children, overseen Bridgeview growing to become Oregons 20th largest wine producer and earned countless accolades and awards for his wines. In recent years, he has witnessed a different kind of change as tasting room traffic has dramatically declined with over 30 wineries popping up throughout the Applegate Valley, many in locations just off the I-5. But René doesnt overly concern himself with garnering attention from tourists, as he points out that vacationing families traveling to the Oregon Caves (the Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve is just 20 miles away from the winery), often are not interested in wine tasting. Rather, Renes focus continues to be on quality and creating distinctive and affordable wines for everyday drinking. To this end, Bridgeview has dropped their production from 80,000 cases per year to 40,000 which allows René and his two sons who apprentice in the winery to keep their hands on every aspect of production from hand-harvesting grapes off the vine to smoothing labels on every bottle.
Historically, Bridgeview has been known for Riesling, a noble varietal from Germany that is too often oversimplified by the American palate as merely sweet. Rather than try to persuade todays wine drinkers otherwise, Bridgeview is simply meeting their customers preferences by putting most their Riesling grapes towards an off-dry style that American palates enjoy, while also producing Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir and a variety of red blends. These wines fall under three distinct labels all produced from Bridgeviews own estate fruit and are bottled on-site. The Blue Moon series are their best known wines with their signature style, an eye-popping cobalt blue bottle with the elongated shape classic of German varietals. Initially, Bridgeview grew and produced a Muller-Thurgau and Gewurztraminer for the Blue Moon wines, but now mainly focuses on off-dry Riesling, which can be found on retail shelves across the West Coast. The wine is well-balanced, with lively acidity and a touch of residual sugar, making it a perfect partner to tame the heat of Thai and Indian cuisine. René also poured us a lightly sparkling Riesling to begin which would be a lovely opener to any dinner party or perfect summer patio wine. Other labels under production are their Bridgeview wines including an outstanding Chardonnay, a perfectly perfumed Viognier and arguably, the most affordably priced Pinot Noir in Oregon. Finally, Bridgeview bottles a series of racy reds under the Black Beauty label named after a horse than once resided on the estate. The 2011 Red Blend of Syrah, Tempranillo and Merlot is currently at its peak of quality, brightness and balance.
A trip to Bridgeview Winery offers everything one could want from visiting a family-owned winery. Bridgeviews wines are crafted on-site and offer a depth of selection, quality and value. The winery is truly family-owned and operated, hardly leveraging this all too common marketing cache. Sitting on the deck with a glass of dry Riesling in the summer sunshine of southern Oregon watching Sucker Creek flow by the grapevines is certainly a lovely way to pass an afternoon. Make the trek down to Cave Junction this summer and be sure not to miss a legendary producer in Oregons rich winemaking history.