ROSEBURG, Ore. (KMTR) - For the first time, a winery in the Umpqua Valley has been named the 2013 Oregon Winery of the Year.
On Tuesday, Wine Press Northwest named Abacela Winery outside Roseburg as this year's winery of the year. The award recognizes wineries for a variety of qualities including their history and accomplishments.
Owner Earl Jones says to be recognized as Winery of the Year is not only exciting for Abacela, but it shows that it is possible to grow European and warm-climate grapes in the Umpqua region and to do it well.
"The Umpqua Valley - and Southern Oregon in general - has a great future," Jones said. "And this award is kind of opening that door to everybody's eyes I think. It's a game-changing award."
Head Winemaker Andrew Wenzl says his initial reaction upon receiving the recognition was to smile from ear-to-ear.
"It's a very good recognition," Wenzl said. "I'm very proud of us."
Abacela originally put itself on the map after producing the first internationally-acclaimed Tempranillo. Jones says he picked the winery's location in 1995 because of its proximity to the 43rd latitude. Jones spent years looking for the perfect spot to try to grow the Tempranillo grape.
He looked at weather records, land formations and even soil types, known collectively as terroir. Abacela is also on a fault line: it sits above the Klamath and Coastal mountain fault lines. He says the southern side of the winery has soils that are hundreds of millions of years older than the northern side. Jones argues that anything could change the flavor of a wine including the age of the soil in which the grape vine grows.
The 43rd latitude runs through southern parts of Europe, including Italy. Jones says there are many factors in climate, but Abacela prides itself with many warmer climate grapes.
Abacela Winery is open daily from 11 AM to 5 PM from November through May and 11 AM to 6 PM June through October. The winery is located at 12500 Lookingglass Road west of Roseburg. For questions, call the winery at 541 679-6642.