December 31st, 2021

Troon Winery: Southern Oregon Tastes in McMinnville

Meg Ordaz smiles and stands in front of s wine wall with a bottle and glass of wine in front of her.

Meg Ordaz and Troon Winery bring Southern Oregon wines to downtown McMinnville.
Photo by Dan Shryoc

We walk into Troon’s new tasting room on Third Street ready to sample something different. Lauren Randolph, our wine guide for the evening, leads us to a private alcove where we sit on a sofa.

A group is gathered near the front of the room, appearing to enjoy both wine and conversation. The interior design is striking; a long, stainless-steel bar reflects lighting above. A wall of wine displays Troon’s varietals.

Troon Winery is one of the newest additions to Third Street, McMinnville’s downtown culinary walk of fame. On a street dotted with great restaurants, local winery tasting rooms, shops, and taprooms, Troon brings something new to the sidewalk landscape. In this region famous for its Pinot Noir wines, Troon introduces wines reflecting the classic styles of Southern France – Grenache, Syrah, Viognier, Roussane, and more –produced from biodynamically farmed grapes from Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley.

The Applegate Valley?

“The Applegate Valley is a really interesting little sub-AVA (American Viticultural Area) of the greater Rogue Valley AVA,” says Meg Ordaz, the winery’s director of consumer sales. “It’s different than the rest of the Rogue Valley. We get a little bit more moisture. It’s cooler and it looks a lot more forested. It’s this beautiful little hidden gem down there.”

Downtown McMinnville may seem a long way from vineyards west of Jacksonville; it’s about 240 miles. But it’s logical to have a tasting room here, Meg says. It makes sense to showcase wines where consumers can taste it.

“We put a tasting room up here in the Willamette Valley about 14 years ago,” she says, noting Troon’s longtime location in downtown Carlton. “When people are doing their wine tourism, a lot of people are coming to this part of the state and while there are wonderful wines in Southern Oregon, people don’t always make it down that far. We also had a lot of wine club members in the Portland area who really wanted easier access to the wines they really loved.”

So, when a rare storefront space came available at 620 Third Street, Meg and the Troon team jumped at the chance to move to McMinnville and join 16 other wineries in the downtown area. “This was such an interesting move for us,” she says. “McMinnville and Third Street are so vibrant. The community is so interactive.”

The tasting room team first started pouring in July 2021 during the city’s COVID-safe “Dine Out(Side)” program while construction was completed inside. Business moved indoors on Oct. 7.

“What a lovely little spot to be, where you have people going out to wineries during the day and then settling back on Third Street in the evening because you have places like La Rambla and Nick’s and Thistle,” Meg says. “We have all these great restaurants on the street to help support the wineries and vice versa. And then there’s the great lodging. I think we’re better together.”

We enjoy our experience as Lauren explains each wine in our tasting flight. We then prepare to walk down the street; we have dinner reservations at La Rambla. We leave with four bottles in hand. The tasting will continue at home.

Dan Shryock

Dan Shryock regularly writes about McMinnville, travel, and cycle tourism.