South Stage Cellars
Begins in the Land and Ends in the Hand
In the heart of historic Jacksonville, just a few steps from the main shopping street, sits a one-of-a-kind experience—the tasting room at South Stage Cellars.
South Stage Cellars began as the dream of Traute Moore, along with her husband, Dan. They co-founded Quail Run Vineyards in 1989 beginning with 13 acres, putting into practice years they had spent experimenting with growing different types of grapes locally.
Quail Run Vineyards currently boasts over 27 different varietals on 280 acres that cover a full range of soils, elevations and microclimates within the Rogue Valley. As son and business partner Michael Moore says, “They spent 28 years finding what grows best where.” Their quality grapes are grown with agricultural practices that support both the land and the flavor of grapes. In fact, Moore smiles, for Quail Run Vineyards to receive their LIVE certification last year, “we didn’t [need to] change a single practice.”
While supplying many local winemakers from that early remarkable selection of grapes, the Moores eventually decided they wanted to provide a unique twist in the market. South Stage Cellars was formed, joining the wine scene in Southern Oregon as a unique vineyard-based tasting room. Each wine featured in the tasting room begins with fruit grown in the Quail Run Vineyards. Their award-winning wines include Cabernets, Syrahs, Grenache, Rhone and some special offerings as well.
“What we’re doing here that is unique is our blends,” says Moore. “We are convinced that varieties can be used like spices to target different parts of the palette.” Their blends include names like Romeo & Juliet and Rhapsody, and offer, says Moore, a “full palette experience” as they move through the mouth. “The taste never drops off.” The wine community has agreed, as South Stage Cellar wines have received both local and international awards for their offerings.
“This is my mom’s vision,” says Moore, as he sits in the tasting room at South Stage Cellars. “She was 74 when this began and she has done such an exquisite job.” Traute Moore not only had the vision for the South Stage Cellars tasting room but also located their current building and even designed the unique double-bowed tasting counter. At that counter, pouring staff members Larry Brewster and Porscha Schiller provide wine recommendations and a wealth of knowledge and story about the wines they are serving. “Some of these grapes have an incredible story and history,” says Moore.
In many ways, story permeates the tasting room, from the wines to the walls themselves.
The building that is now home to South Stage Cellars was the original home of Robby Collins, a man instrumental in preserving Jacksonville’s past by having it declared a historic landmark. Moore has a collection of stories about the home during Collins’ time there and the building still maintains its air of open hospitality with mellowed brick walls and fireplace, seasoned wood floors, ceilings and walls, and collection of furnishings, many built by local friends and artisans. “The building has a warmth and joy that is such a delight,” says Moore. A revolving display of local artwork, a sheltered garden area and live music four nights a week have created what Moore calls “a hub for art and wine and music.”
For a story that begins in the land and ends in the hand, South Stage Cellars offers a taste of the best.
South Stage Cellars
125 S. Third Street, Jacksonville
Words by Valerie Coulman