Project Discover Ashland Place 1: Weisinger’s Winery Disappoints

The view from the tasting room, overlooking Grizzly Peak and the Cascade Range, is as nice as I’ve heard.

But Weisinger’s Winery (3150 Siskiyou Boulevard; Ashland, Oregon), the first of at least twelve places that I plan to visit as an in-town tourist in Ashland, Oregon, was disappointing.

Maybe it was because James and I biked from our house and were dressed in sweaty garb, but while the staff at the winery was courteous and solicitous to a group of four well-heeled tourists who came in after us, they were just shy of rude to my husband and me.

Instead of offering detailed information about each wine, they poured us our glasses distractedly. They did not tell us about the stomp competition that was happening that afternoon (and still had openings), even when I pressed for details. And they only reluctantly showed us the cheese and cracker menu.

The other visitors were offered a free tour of the winery. We were not.

But we were nickeled and dimed. I’m used to paying for wine tastings but Weisinger’s charges even for crackers. They only had one cheese–the most expensive–on the menu ($11.95) and after they cut it up and served it to us, other customers helped themselves. As well they should have. They couldn’t have known the cheese was on us!

But my biggest complaint was the wines themselves.

I’m a huge fan of southern Oregon wines (read more about why in this article I wrote, “Move Over California, Southern Oregon Win Takes a Stand“) and I think their high quality makes it worth spending a little extra to enjoy them. But I actively disliked the taste of these wines, finding most of them unpleasantly metallic with too much acid.

Was it something in my glass?! Two of the three whites we tried left an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth. James had the full flight–three whites and five reds–and he enjoyed them more than I. Though there were two that I found palatable:

Their 2010 Petit Blanc was a bit sweet but flavorful

The 2007 Claret was what James described as a “non-heavy” Bordeaux, with a complex aroma and a faint taste of cigar tobacco

But though I liked the taste of these two wines, they did not seem worth paying $28/bottle for.

I always try to buy at least one bottle of wine at boutique vineyards to support local businesses and small agriculture. Predisposed to like this winery and have a good time (it’s rare James and I get to spend a Sunday morning together), I left without buying a bottle and feeling rather ripped off. We spent $23 on just the wine tasting and shared cheese.

“I can take or leave their wines,” a friend who loves wine said to me when I told him about our experience later that afternoon.

On the way home we stopped at Case Coffee, one of the several excellent coffee shops in town. Their reasonable prices, cold-brew iced decaf, and friendly service helped wash away the disappointing experience we had at Weisinger’s.

This Viognier, which costs $26 a bottle, left the unpleasant aftertaste of pennies in my mouth:

Related posts:
Project Discover Ashland
Three Places Not to Miss in Ithaca, New York
The Cheapest Place to Stay if You’re On A Budget in New York City

Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Her latest book, The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line, will be published by Scribner in April 2013.

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Categories: Ashland Oregon.

Comments

  1. I think it may be true that staff was influenced by the way you were dressed. This should not be the case, I agree. Maybe you should give the place a second change, dressed as tourists and arriving by car? (This story reminded me of the first time my ex and I tried to visit a new apartment house with condos for sale in Paris. They took one look at our comfortable garb and would not even let us in.)

  2. Marni

    We had an amazing experience all 3 times we went to Weisingers, so I’m sad that yours was not. I wish I could remember his name, but there was a man who served us wine all three times, over the span of 4-5 years, and he actually REMEMBERED us each time (we are not overly memorable, I promise). Plus, I enjoyed the wine and they were very courteous and generous with us, even though we were probably in flip flops, we brought a small child each time (who proceeded to grab delicate things and make noise and eat their crackers), and we are obviously not “moneyed”.

    • I’m really glad to hear that Marni. I’m always rooting for local wineries and local activities and I was really hoping our experience was atypical. Both servers on Sunday were young women. The wine maker was around (he didn’t talk to us at all, though he seemed nice from a distance), as was the owner (on whose tour we were not invited…)

  3. What a shame. It irks me to no end when people are not treated equally. Your money and presence was just as valuable as anyone else’s. I’d never return to a place like this, nor buy their products. Bah.

  4. Addie

    I’m so surprised by your review. I used to work at Weisingers and the family always treated me and their customers delightfully well. The older gentleman, John probably is the one that served Marni, and remembered her name. They really don’t judge people by their clothes. They work the land and can often be wearing shorts and casual clothes too. John’s son, Eric, used to work there too and he went on to help others craft wine. I would give it another try. While the bottles do cost $28, the cost of running the winery is expensive.

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