||For years Earl and Hilda Jones have pursued their passion to produce fine wine from Spain’s noble Tempranillo grape... in America. Despite Tempranillo’s obvious quality role in Spanish wine production and its utilization in America for more than a hundred years, Americans vintners had, by the early 1990’s only produced jug quality wine from the varietal. Why was the wine industry in America trapped in this rut and unable to produce fine wines similar to those produced in Spain’s Rioja and Ribera Del Duero? Travel and research in Spain revealed that a fairly specific climate, characterized by a cool spring, dry-hot summer and a cool early autumn was closely associated with and likely a key requirement for production of fine Tempranillo. Learning that in the USA the grape had been historically grown in the hot central valley of California, they suspected the inability of Americans to produce fine Tempranillo wine was the result of growing the variety in the wrong climate.
Given that the Joneses lived at that time on the subtropical Gulf Coast near Pensacola Florida they were well aware that a long distance move was likely required if they were ever to realize their dream. The question was where? Thus began the search for an American climate that was analogous, e.g. a holoclime, to the Spanish climate tightly linked with production of fine Tempranillo wine.
Searching for that holoclime lead the Joneses to many libraries and through books, climate records, and maps and eventually to visit each of the western U.S. states and finally to Southern Oregon. There they found an analogous climate to blanket much of Southern Oregon’s Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties.
From this climate zone the Joneses selected a site on south sloping hillsides in Douglas County’s Umpqua Valley eleven miles southwest of Roseburg and in 1995 planted the first Tempranillo in the Pacific Northwest. To commemorate the event they named their new vineyard and winery Abacela from an ancient and now almost obsolete verb, ’abacelar’ common to three Iberian languages-Spanish, Galician and Portuguese-and which means ”to plant a grape vine.”
With early success in producing Tempranillo, the Joneses began the Abacela vineyard research and development project to determine if other winegrapes might also thrive and produce fine wine in this unique terroir. This pioneering ”project” has subsequently expanded into a 77 acre parcel growing over 20 winegrape varieties and a winery producing outstanding varietal wines many of which were firsts in the Pacific Northwest.