The Umpqua Valley has seen vineyards since the late 1800's, but the real boom in wineries has come in the last decade. Earl Jones owner of Abacela Winery says " It's been a boom, the growth hasn't been exponential, but it's been steady" Pat Spangler owner of Spangler vineyard says" In the 90's there were just 6 wineries now there are 25. " One of the stops on the April 14 barrel tour is Abacela...a winery that has a Spanish flavor. Jones says "Tempranillo. we wanted to find a place where the climates was similar to Spain where they grow the finest Tempranillo, its my favorite wine, goes with the meals i like, i like lamb, spain thrives on it and so do I".
On may 5th the barrel tour shifts to 10 new stops including Spangler vineyards. Pat Spangler says "Like the rest of Southern Oregon it's very warm here so I have Cabernet Sauvignon since 1969, so we do mainly red wines here because that's what I like and what I drink." At Spangler that day you can taste straight from the barrel and say hello to their pack of fluffy wine dogs, but everywhere you enjoy fine foods and a front row view of the Umpqua valley. Jones says "The climate and the geographical spread over the 45 miles, and the botanical sights are amazing." Pat Spangler says "That's the most unique thing about this tour, there are over 30 varieties of wines that are made in this area" There is just under a month before the first tour...it's time to think spring, sunshine and some vino...and maybe the snowy weather be left behind.