Whether we’re talking about fruit, cheese or wine, the harvest season has arrived across the West. To celebrate the bounty, how about throwing a wine and cheese party for your friends? A few bottles of wine, a selection of cheese, crackers and some fresh slices of local pears and apples are all you need.Wine, cheese and fruit

You can find the perfect wine to complement any cheese at local wineries in the Rogue Valley. Selecting the right wine and cheese for your party can be a separate adventure of its own.

The Rogue Valley and surrounding area is home to several artisan cheesemakers whose products are available at their farms, local artisanal food shops and farmers markets. Pholia Farm Creamery and Dairy near Rogue River specializes in aged cheeses made from raw goat milk. Owner Gianaclis Caldwell recommends trying their Elk Mountain cheese, which is nutty and robust, with Daisy Creek Viogner or EdenVale Malbec. “Cheese is a complicated food with the potential to inspire and satisfy,” Caldwell says. This udderly eco-friendly farm is off the grid, relying on solar power to fuel their operations!

The Rogue Creamery of Central Point has been handcrafting cheeses since 1935, and makes 15 varieties of Cheddar, as well as their famous Blues. Their Rogue River Blue is a perennial first place show at national and international competitions, consistently beating out over 1,000 other entries. Blue cheeses require a full and aged wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Port. Our favorite is their  Smoked Touvelle.

For help selecting your wine and cheese, visit the Rogue Creamery on Saturday afternoons, from 1 to 3 p.m. for their wine and cheese tasting. Tom Van Voorhees, Certified Cheese Professional and manager of the Rogue Creamery cheese shop, says, “Our knowledgeable cheesemongers are happy to make recommendations and give pairing advice.”

Van Voorhees notes that you can “enjoy specialty cheeses, wines, beers, breads and crackers at home for a fraction of the cost…If you’re willing to open your own bottle, serve each other, and tidy up afterward, the very best foods can still fit your budget.”

Cheers to that!

Photo: istockphoto.com/funwithfood