An international winegrowing success story
Abacela began in 1995 with a question that would transform the lives of an ordinary, young family: Why doesn’t America make a world-class Tempranillo, the star of Spain’s famed Rioja wines?
For the last 25 years, Earl and Hilda Jones have devoted their lives to rigorously testing their hypothesis that Roseburg, Oregon is a North American crossroads where an ideal climate and site intersect for Tempranillo.
The winery name stems from the word “Abacelar,” an archaic Latin-Spanish verb meaning “to plant a grape vine.” The Joneses have not only accomplished their initial Tempranillo dream but established 15 total grape varieties in their Fault Line Vineyards, creating a cornucopia of wines and critical acclaim for Southern Oregon.
Abacela is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most beloved wineries — an icon of innovation that has shifted the varietal paradigm and influenced winemaking across America. Tempranillo is what initially inspired the Joneses, and today Abacela produces four styles of the variety ranging from its everyday “Fiesta” to the pinnacle of the portfolio, Paramour. Additional reds include Syrah, Malbec, Graciano, Tannat, Tinta Amarela, Merlot and Dolcetto. Abacela’s also makes Albariño, Viognier, and dessert styles Blanco Dulce and Port.
Fault Line Estate Vineyards
To further enhance sustainability, Abacela participates in a unique and mutually beneficial exchange with its Wildlife Safari neighbor: the winery provides hay to feed the animals who in turn produce “zoo doo,” which Abacela then blends with leftover seeds, stems and skins to compost “zoil,” a nutrient rich, organic soil amendment. In 2003, the Joneses created a 300-acre wildlife habitat conservation plan to ensure preservation of the property’s oak savanna and other native flora and fauna.Abacela’s mantra is matching a particular grape variety to its ideal site climate.
After initial success with Tempranillo, the Joneses wanted to experiment with other warm climate grapes. Together, they set four criteria for their variety experiments: the grape must thrive within the climate’s frost-free period, ripen properly, exhibit typical varietal characteristics and produce wine of comparable quality to its Old World counterpart. Additional stand out varieties include Syrah, Grenache, Tannat, Malbec, Albariño and five native Portuguese grapes.