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“Artisan runner” adds wine bar: Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

The “mighty meat” pizza, in the foreground, from the Pizza Mia food truck incorporated pepperoni, sausage and linguica. [Sarah Lemon/Mail Tribune]

The “mighty meat” pizza, in the foreground, from the Pizza Mia food truck incorporated pepperoni, sausage and linguica. [Sarah Lemon/Mail Tribune]

Mia Food Truck Pizza’s vegetarian pizza included fresh basil, tomatoes and peppers. [Sarah Lemon/Mail Tribune]

Medford’s Peter William rose is one of the local wines being poured at Central Point’s The Rogue Grape wine and bottle bar. [Sarah Lemon/Mail Tribune]

Seating at The Rogue Grape is available on a patio, covered with shade awnings, soon to be expanded with a weatherproof deck, fire tables and heating towers. [Sarah Lemon/Mail Tribune]

There is a new “rogue” in the “craft corridor” of Central Point.

Rogue Creamery has welcomed The Rogue Grape wine and bottle bar between Lillie Belle Farms and Coquette Bakery to the strip of shops on Front Street that arguably represents the region’s most distinguished specialty food producers.

Sharing with Coquette the building that formerly housed Ledger David Cellars, The Rogue Grape relocated from Jacksonville’s Bigham Knoll, where it sheltered in early 2021 from the rigors of the pandemic in downtown Medford. Opened The Rogue Grape about five years ago, owner Natasha Hopkins is married to Sean Hopkins, co-producer with Tom Homewood of Awen Winecraft wines.

While The Rogue Grape benefited from a location with more outdoor seating, Bigham Knoll ultimately wasn’t visible enough to locals or tourists, Hopkins said. Proximity to a world champion cheese naturally broadens its scope to showcase the region’s wines.

And there’s a strong indication that wine aficionados making pilgrimages to the Pacific Northwest will seek out The Rogue Grape. The Rogue Valley was recently nominated for Wine Region of the Year in the Wine Enthusiast Magazine 2022 Wine Star Awards. Local residents are also paying attention to The Rogue Grape’s live music lineup and food truck partnerships.

Visiting Hopkins’ Bigham Knoll location over the summer, I loved not only the setting, but an absolutely delicious glass of Troon 2021 Piquette! My sister ordered a glass of sparkling zinfandel from Sound & Vision to accompany a conscientiously assembled cheese plate with generous portions of warm baguette and fresh fruit along with cheddar, chèvre, Gouda and Gorgonzola.

Cheese platters and appetizers at The Rogue Grape’s new, much smaller location will be make-your-own affairs from the in-house inventory of cured meats, olives, hummus, crackers, crackers and condiments, Hopkins said. Customers choose their treats, and she provides the cheese boards and utensils.

The Rogue Grape also invites guests to bring in purchases from their artisan neighbors (or takeout from the restaurant) to enjoy on site with a glass or bottle of wine. Hopkins adds more wine pairing opportunities with a weekly lineup of local food trucks, from farm-to-table at Truffle Pig Craft Kitchen to wood-fired pies at Pizza Mia.

The former truck owned by the chef that I have enjoyed on several occasions and reviewed in this column. The latter had remained elusive, largely sticking to Sundays at Daisy Creek Vineyard in Jacksonville.

When Pizza Mia’s presence at The Rogue Grape coincided with a Thursday night off from kids’ sports practice, I asked a co-worker if she wanted to start the weekend early. Local music artist Gary Margason was on hand to serenade patrons with “nostalgic covers and tasteful originals.”

Hopkins’ taste in wine invariably goes beyond the labels and varietals most represented in the Rogue Valley. Medford’s up-and-coming Peter William Vineyard topped The Rogue Grape’s wine flight and drink list the night I visited. Planted by two local doctors on the hillside below his residence, Peter William took home double gold for his 2018 Syrah at this year’s Oregon Wine Experience.

Peter William’s rose was attractively priced at just $8 a glass. But I also wanted to try the Cliff Creek Cellars syrah, which concluded the flight. In between were tastes of Kriselle Cellars’ Albari and Irvine & Roberts’ Pinot Noir. The $10 flight price seemed perfect for both me and my co-worker, Julia.

I bet the first two wines would make light and refreshing drinks while we waited for the pizzas to cook. The red ones I thought I’d enjoy with Pizza Mia’s “powerful meat”, with linguica, sausage and pepperoni, plus olives and artichoke hearts.

Julia doubled the artichoke hearts in Pizza Mia’s vegetable pie with pesto, tomato, mushrooms and sweet peppers. Other complements were Margherita; natural pepperoni; Canadian bacon, pineapple and jalapeño; and Italian sausage, pepper, onion and olives.

Whole pizzas were priced at $14 each. Half could be had for $7. The dough made daily can be made gluten-free for an additional dollar (whole pizzas only).

The Rogue Grape staff pouring wines that night primed our palates at the bar inside before encouraging us to take the first ounces (rosé and white) outside. Offering a few tables and chairs in front of its shop on a warm evening, The Rogue Grape has a surprisingly spacious patio on its south side, covered with shade awnings for the summer, soon to be expanded with a heavy-duty cover outdoors, bonfire. tables and heating towers, Hopkins said. A few cozy blankets can also be borrowed.

We had barely drained the first two glasses when our third and fourth arrived, just before the food truck bells announced that our pizzas were ready. The nicely charred crust contained just the right amounts of cheese and topping.

Fresh basil pieces sliced ​​raw tomato and diced pepper on Julia’s vegetarian pizza. Artichoke hearts, more like individual leaves, could have been in stronger evidence in both pies. Next time, I’d try the jalapeno Canadian bacon with a glass full of rose, and I’ll keep an eye on The Rogue Grape’s Instagram for the latest food truck show, also posted on their website,

Located at 245 N. Front St., The Rogue Grape is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday until 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Purchase wines at or call 541-324-1447.

Contact Features Editor Sarah Lemon at 541-776-4494 or


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