Winter 2023 - Phoenix/Talent, from tragedy to revival

Monday, April 23, 2018

JAXON Vineyards - Building friendships over wine


JAXON Vineyards

Building friendships over wine

Story by Pamela Gibson

Photography provided by JAXON Vineyards


Resplendent with unrestrained vistas of the region, the Fern Valley once boasted high meadow grasses and large oak trees back in the 1860s. Bears, cougars, and bobcats formerly stalked the region. The valley was originally divided into three large land donations, and in 1910, the first commercial orchard was planted. Today, the Fern Valley enjoys slopes of vineyards and the remarkable wines and hospitality of JAXON Vineyards.    

Oregon natives Jamie and Katherine McCleary recognized Southern Oregon’s potential for growing outstanding grapes. They knew that the region was “strategically positioned for phenomenal wines with its micro-climates, sun, soil and water.” In fact, Southern Oregon is located on the same latitude, providing similar climates as those of the southern Rhone region of France and the Rioja region of northern Spain. Anticipating an ideal vineyard site for their chosen varietals, the McCleary’s wanted the parcel to provide a warm, southwest-facing setting.  

After a two-year pursuit, they purchased six acres of a sun-filled southwest-facing pear orchard in the Fern Valley. They later added nine acres of adjacent property to help complete the vision. The Rogue Valley—especially the Fern Valley area—provided the ideal terroir for producing exceptional grapes. With a passion in their hearts and soil beneath their hands, they laboriously cleared acres of land. They pulled roots, implemented drip irrigation systems and enlisted sustainable farming practices. The first vines were planted in 2009. Soon, the first grapes were harvested in what was to be a phenomenal year.

In 2015, Jamie sold his transportation brokerage business and Katherine had left her paralegal career to begin a life crafting wines. They attended classes at UC Davis, UCC and OSU extension services where they received an education in viticulture. In addition to their education, they consulted with experts Randy Gold of Pacific Crest Vineyard and Greg Jones of Southern Oregon University who helped guide them through the vineyard installation and varietal selection.

The vision for Jamie and Katherine was to represent Southern Oregon well with beautiful handcrafted wines and uncompromising hospitality. The McCleary’s are quick to attribute JAXON’S success to former winemaker Rob Folin for developing extraordinary wines from 2011 to 2016. Chris Graves of Naumes Crush now seeks to continue to deliver the same outstanding wines since assuming the winemaking position after Rob Folin’s retirement from Custom Crush.

With a combined tenacity, passion and creativity, the McCleary’s have been able to surmount the many obstacles that come with starting a winery. One benchmark was the name of the winery and the label design. It was Katherine’s epiphany to rework Jamie’s middle name (Jackson), thus resulting in “JAXON” as the name for the winery. JAXON’s sophisticated wine label was the result of thoughtful creativity: Each label invokes a sense of color and properties of the embottled wine/varietal with selective photographic images of actual copper patinas.  

The ambiance of JAXON Vineyards lends itself to a feeling of intimacy and family. From the welcoming terrace to the beautifully executed landscaping, peace and awe permeate the air. With comfortable outdoor seating on the terrace, pergola or sprawling lawn, there are an abundance of secluded spaces in which to enjoy your wine. The well-planned property exudes the same thoughtfulness and hospitality that JAXON embraces. It also invites a sense of relaxation and ultimately provides a retreat for the soul.

In April, JAXON Vineyards will begin its “21 Days of JAXON 2018.” Hours are set for noon to 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. On select dates guests may enjoy live music, library flights or hosted vineyard tours. On Saturdays, vertical flights will be offered from library wines. Vineyard walking tours will be held on Sundays with information on the progression of wine grape farming with more detailed information available through their website.  

JAXON also hosts a wine club membership opportunity. Says Jamie, “Members are like family…we get to know them as they get to know us…this is a gift.” Members receive three pre-selected wine shipments per year in the spring, summer and fall. Additionally, JAXON wines can be sourced locally through multiple retail stores and restaurants including Harry and David, old 99, Rays and the Co-ops.

JAXON Vineyards should not be overlooked for a memorable wine tasting experience. The alfresco tasting terrace is conveniently located between Medford and Ashland offering uncompromised wines, views, and hospitality. As Jamie so eloquently states, “We build friendships and relationships over wine.”  


JAXON Vineyards

5709 Hughes Rd., Medford


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