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Road Trippin' : Planting the seeds

Wooldridge Creek Winery

MEDFORD, Ore. -- There are always projects going on at Wooldridge Creek Winery. Kara Olmo and Greg Paneitz say there's no time for slowing down. The two have been behind a lot of firsts at the winery.

"In 2015, we started a creamery. We just expanded an existing closet, literally and turned it into what I think is the smallest creamery in the United States from what I can tell. We can make cheeses that are both fresh and hard," Olmo says about their adventure.

Before that, there was another first. They decided to put wine into kegs for distribution. They got the idea after ordering a glass of their own wine that wasn't very good.

"The restaurant was known for selling beer and we looked around and 90% of the people were drinking a pint of beer and Greg said, we could do that," Olmo said about the idea.

"We don't distribute anything outside. We do distribute wine to restaurants, which all goes into kegs and poured on tap and we're very proud of that. We were the first in Oregon to do that. We think we've saved hundreds of thousands of pounds of glass by not putting wine in bottles that goes to restaurants," Paneitz said.

Paneitz and Olmo met in winemaking school and traveled up to southern Oregon looking for work.

"I was sitting in class one day in France, looking at the globe at the lines of longitude. I was looking at Bordeaux and if you follow the lines around, you should be in California. But I looked and you actually end up in Oregon. I thought I should go there and see if they have grapes there," Paneitz said about the decision.

They both knocked on a lot of doors, looking for a winery to work for. One of those doors belonged to Ted and Mary Warrick, who found the property in the seventies.

Ted was a United Airlines pilot and often flew over this property often. Something about it sparked his interest.

"He and his wife Mary got in their Volkswagen van, went on a hippie odyssey and they found this place. That was in the late seventies. They built a log cabin that Kara and our family still live in today," Paneitz said.

They planted vines in 1978 and those vines are still growing strong on the property.

Wooldridge Creek Winery is open daily from 11-5. You can purchase a flight, a glass or bottle of wine, along with cheese and charcuterie plates.

It's a family-friendly winery. It's not uncommon to find dogs, goats or a cat roaming around.

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