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New City Center Wine District ready to pop

The first — and currently the only — urban winery in downtown Medford combines passion and purpose as it expands into the new City Center Wine District.

The full city block in downtown Medford consisting of Pallet Wine Co., the original custom crush facility; The Urban Cork tasting room showcasing 130+ Pallet crafted wines; another newly completed wine production facility, and soon, a second urban tasting room, will offer up an unpretentious intersection of quality wine, industrial vibe and urban culture.

“I’m all in with downtown Medford,” says Linda Donovan, founder, owner, winemaker and visionary of the new district. “I firmly believe all downtown areas should have a lot of places to gather — really inclusive gathering spaces.”

While expanding her business in another direction, she’ll retain the core custom crush, with new tanks to allow capacity for 300 tons more production. The Urban Cork will remain the main fun, and family-friendly tasting room, with a large outdoor venue for concerts and special events between it and The District Wine Bar.

She’ll be adding both a new brand and label to this high-end sipping bar with focused wine and food pairings; a destination spot unique to the Rogue Valley. The wine bar is designed as a cosmopolitan, cool, indoor/outdoor space featuring large windows and rolling glass doors, situated by a grassy area with a view of the stunning wine mural.

Along the connecting path, a bioswale is already created and seeded to bring eco-nature into the mix. Tufts of bright green grass are showing up and eventually willow and aspen will make their appearance. A curving bench provides sitting to enjoy the botanical element.

Bioswales are areas designed to move storm water run-off while also removing debris and pollution. An alternative to storm sewers, they can be planted and utilized as a Japanese-style rain garden.

“The bioswale was designed specifically for our surface area of the concrete pads, the lawns and the roof. We are adding rain garden elements with plants, flowers and trees to make it not only effective but pretty,” explains Whitney Grant, business manager at Pallet Wine.

The entire block will be encircled by a 7-foot wrought iron fence. The attitude is industrial, but with the wine, the brio of the mural and the calm of natural spaces compose a harmonious palate of art to complement the extensive pallet of wine offerings.

Full opening is planned for summer 2022.

The District Wine Bar will feature two new wines. District White is a blend of multi vintages — the best of the best — fresh and delicate on a sleek frame. Mouthwatering flavors of soft lemon drop, melon, vanilla, with a silky, tropical cream texture, tickled with a touch of lychee and a kiss of oaked chardonnay. Sure to be a summertime favorite.

District Red is a blend of mostly tempranillo and malbec, with a bit of merlot. The color is dark, sanguine red with deep purplish brown undertones. Aromas of dark fruit, leather and tobacco tantalize the nose. Smoldering, jammy notes are layered with woody spice, cardamom and black olive in this full-bodied, earthy wine with smoothly balanced tannins. There’s a sense of mystery to this wine that lingers after the sensory finish of cedar and tobacco.

Reach Paula Bandy at pbthegrapevine@gmail.com and connect with her on Instagram at @pbthroughthegrapevine.