Ashley Cates | (541) 292-2520
“Passion, Positivity & Persistence"
The Oregon Wine Experience is one of the largest wine and culinary celebrations in Oregon. In 2018, over 100 Oregon wineries participated in this multi-day event; some of whom received awards for their incredible wines. Ashley Cates, owner of Cates Consulting and vice president of Rogue Valley Vintners, was involved with two medal-winning wineries — Agate Ridge Vineyard and Anchor Valley — who won a silver and double gold, respectively.
Ashley shared the incredible passion it takes to create award-winning wines and how it feels to receive recognition at the Oregon Wine Experience. Medford Chamber (MC): What is the impact of winning a medal at the Oregon Wine Experience? Ashley Cates (AC): The Oregon Wine Experience brings in a panel of highly-esteemed wine professionals, the majority of whom are Masters of Wine. With only 380 Masters of Wine in the world, the credibility that comes with that level of expertise is not to be taken lightly. When a winery wins a medal of any kind from such a rigorous panel, it is noted in high regard within the industry, the restaurant community and among consumers. MC: How did it feel when your wines were announced as medal winners? AC: The excitement is palpable. Many people don't realize the amount of hours and effort that goes into one bottle of wine. For the winemakers, the growers and the winery teams it’s a welcomed validation of the culmination of a full year of effort, if not more. To put it bluntly, it feels damn good! MC: How does it feel to work on two winning wines? AC: I am extremely proud of Agate Ridge and Anchor Valley's awards. I have to give most of the credit to Matt Cates, my husband, who is the winemaker and vineyard grower for both of these wineries and wines. However, I am also extremely proud of all the Rogue Valley wineries who consistently produce award-winning wines, as I believe the Rogue Valley is a world-class wine region. MC: Describe the flavor profile of Agate Ridge’s 2015 Petit Sirah, which won a Silver medal. AC: The Petit Sirah is big, bold and beautiful, showcasing layers of blueberry, plum and chocolate with a hint of black tea. The structure on this wine is seamless, with extremely refined and elegant tannins. MC: Describe the flavor profile of Anchor Valley’s 2017 Pinot Gris, which won a Double Gold. AC: This Pinot Gris bouquet explodes from the glass with white nectarine, honey and wet stone. On the palate, it showcases meyer lemon and apple flesh with well balanced acidity. MC: What growth have you seen in the Rogue Valley’s wine industry? AC: The Rogue Valley has grown exponentially over the past two decades. In 2000, Oregon had 139 wineries, roughly 20 of which were in the Rogue Valley. Today, Oregon has 725 wineries, and 80 of those are in the Rogue Valley. Not only are our wineries growing, but so is our vineyard acreage. The real secret is in the vineyards. Our wineries create world-class wine because our vineyards produce phenomenal fruit. MC: How do you feel about the future of Rogue Valley wines? AC: The rise of the Rogue Valley is happening as we speak. We have a bright spotlight on us, and the world is watching. Our wines have been our voice. The consistent awards and accolades can't be ignored. We have organically garnered attention from the entire industry. Now that we have launched Rogue Valley Vintners, our sole plan is to officially and intentionally market the Rogue Valley as the premier wine destination that it is. MC: What does the future hold for Agate Ridge and Anchor Valley? AC: Agate Ridge and the Kinderman family have been a pillar of the wine community in the Rogue Valley for the last 18 years. They are excited for the future of the Rogue Valley and Agate Ridge, as they pass the torch to the right buyer when they come along. Anchor Valley has just launched their wine label and the sky's the limit. They have plans to grow their label and brand. I have no doubt that Anchor Valley's dreams will come to fruition. Plus, it didn't hurt for them to come out swinging with a Double Gold medal from the Oregon Wine Experience!
Looking Behind The Vine A Profile of Two Oregon Wine Experience Medal Winners Written by Rebecca Scott, Member Contributor
The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County
101 E. 8th St.  |  Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 779-4847