NEWS / FEATURES

Harry & David Do Wine

By Janet Eastman

Harry & David’s stores and catalogues will be carrying a new wine label: the company’s own.

The Medford-based gourmet foods company, which has been selling gift baskets filled with locally produced fruit and snacks since 1934, has hired winemaker Linda Donovan of Pallet Wine Co. in Medford to make nine different wines from grapes grown primarily in the Rogue Valley. The wines will include Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir, priced from $15 to $35 a bottle.

The wines are now available to taste and buy in the Harry & David Country Village, 1314 Center Drive, Medford, says Mary Shanahan, the company’s senior director of brand marketing.

Next year, the wines will be sold online at www.harryanddavid.com.

The company has long sold wines from Oregon, California and imports in stores, and it ships wines through www.wine.com.

“It made sense for us to sell our own label,” says spokeswoman Rhonda Klug. “We are not competing with local wineries. We want to promote the industry and Rogue Valley as a whole.”

The Harry & David Vineyards label will carry the name of the grape-growing region printed across the top, a promotional idea championed by local producers, including Chris Martin, president of the Southern Oregon Winery Association and owner of Troon Vineyard in the Applegate Valley.

Grapes for Harry & David Vineyards’ 2009 Tempranillo were harvested from the Steelhead Run Vineyard in the Applegate. Grapes for the 2010 Syrah came from Valley View Orchard in Ashland. Other varietals are Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Gewürztraminer.

Some Umpqua Valley grapes were purchased to create the 2009 Merlot and 2010 Royal Crest Red, a blend of 60 percent Merlot, 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 percent Carmenere.

“This is exciting,” says Michael Donovan, chairman of the Oregon Wine Board and Oregon Winegrowers Association. “Harry & David has the power to get the word out that Southern Oregon produces premium wine. And who knows the potential for more vineyard development?”

Donovan spoke on Oct. 15, before boarding a plane on a 10-day trade mission to China and Japan to promote Oregon products, including wine.

Donovan, who is not related to Linda Donovan, says since there is a limit to the number of cases of wine that can be sold and consumed locally, wineries need to expand beyond the region “because that’s where the growth is.”

He and others invested in the local wine industry also have been hoping that a significant, outside wine producer or retailer would buy a stake in Southern Oregon and give it instant acclaim, as respected French wine company Maison Joseph Drouhin did when it opened Domaine Drouhin in the Willamette Valley in the 1980s.

“It’s a compelling development,” says Donovan, who is also director of national sales for RoxyAnn Winery in Medford.

Troon owner Martin appreciates Harry & David’s “marketing machine” and says it has “been a great rep for Southern Oregon.”

He says he would like to see local artisan family producers also become a part of the new venture. But, for now, he says, “any chance we have to get the wines of Southern Oregon, as long as they are good, to people across the country furthers the Southern Oregon cause.” 

HARRY & DAVID COUNTRY VILLAGE

ADDRESS: 1314 Center Drive, Medford
HOURS: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m to 8 pm.;  Sun., 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
PHONE: 541-864-2099
WEBSITE:  www.harryanddavid.com

Reprinted with permission from the Mail Tribune. 

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS