The New Frontier for American Malbec
By Tamara Turner, Vintner Project, June 19, 2023
A Tale of Two Extremes': How changing climate impacts Oregon's wine industry
By Michaela Bourgeois and Emily Burris, Koin 6, February 16, 2023
Oregon Winegrowers glean lessons from last year's untimely frost
By George Plaven, Capital Press, February 15, 2023
Winter Slumber, The Importance of Winter to Viticulture and Wine Production
By Greg Jones, Oregon Wine Press, February 8, 2023
Top Vineyards, Leading Winemakers Help Albariño Grow In Northwest
By Eric Degerman, Great Northwest Wine, November 15, 2022
The 14 Best Malbecs for 2022
By VinePair Staff, VinePair, August 11, 2022
Despite Climate Change, Oregon’s ‘Other’ Grapes Are Thriving
By Julia Coney, VinePair, August 3, 2022
Talking with Wine Climatologist Gregory Jones
By Aaron Romano, Wine Spectator, April 22, 2022
VinePair; The 25 Best Rosé Wines of 2022
#22 Abacela 2021 Grenache Rosé, VinePair.com
Winemakers Are Poised to Lose Another Vital Tool to Climate Change
By Katheleen Willcox, Wine Enthusiast, February 15, 2022
CLIMATE CRISIS: Wildfires w/co-host Sonya Logan of Wine Titles, guests Drs. Greg Jones and Rebecca Harris
Apple Podcasts, January 31, 2022
While planning for GREEN WINE FUTURE 2022, our effects upon Terra continue. So while we build for GWF22, join host David Furer and producer Michael Wangbickler for their weekly podcast. Each 30 minute episode will focus upon a range of sustainability topics of concern to the wine world with expert co-hosts and guests in wineries, academia, and organizations.
Oregon wine: 2018 Abacela Tannat
Winerabble.com, January 20, 2022
"Southern Oregon is a sweet spot for this unique varietal! Tannat grapes have thick skins and high tannins but growers in Oregon have a knack for taming its wild personality. To soften the tannins, Abacela’s winemaker Andrew Wenzl used 86% neutral French oak and just 14% twice used barrels to age the wine. By doing so, he was able to integrate the tannic qualities into something really memorable and wonderful! Decant if you plan to open a bottle soon or buy several and age them through the next decade and beyond."
Greg Jones on KQEN's Morning Converstaion
December 30, 2021, listen to the full interview on KQEN:
SOU professor says climate change impacts wine-making
By Kevin Opsahl, Mail Tribune, December 27, 2021
Weather & Wine, CBS 60 Minutes, S54 E15 on December 26, 2021
Dr. Greg Jones, Climatologist, featured on story by Leslie Stahl. Watch the full segment here or here. Or read the transcript here or here.
Greg Jones appointed to Oregon Wine Board
Dr. Greg Jones was appointed to the Oregon Wine Board by Governor Brown for a three-year term. Greg Jones succeeds Hilda Jones after her two-term tenure on the Board. The Oregon Wine Board's President, Ted Danowski, commented in the December 2021 Grapevine, "We congratulate Tiquette Bramlett, Cristina Gonzales, and Dr. Greg Jones on their appointments by the Governor to three-year terms on the nine-member Oregon Wine Board. Your new Directors begin their service on Jan. 1, 2022. We thank outgoing Wine Board members Hilda Jones (six years), Bertony Faustin (three years), and Remy Drabkin for their insights, advice and energy as they step down and return to their businesses."
Earl Jones: Bringing Tempranillo to America
By Lance Cutler, Wine Business Monthly, November 2021
"Every now and then someone changes the way grapes are grown and the way wine is made; Earl and Hilda Jones did just that." - PDF of full article.
Oregon Wine, What We're Drinking; 2018 Abacela Grenache
By Michele Francisco, Winerabble.com, September 17, 2021
Greg Jones On The Future Of Southern Oregon Wine
By Joseph V Micallef, Forbes.com, September 9, 2021
Abacela Winery: Brings unique varietals to Oregon
By Craig Reed, Capital Press, September 9, 2021
The 25 Best Wineries in the United States
By Katy Spratte Joyce, Reader's Digest, August 10, 2021
Heat units in Northwest vineyards as much as 29% ahead of last year
By Eric Degerman, Great Northwest Wine, August 10, 2021
A focus on climate helps Abacela procude award-winning wine
By Craig Reed, The News Review, nrtoday.com, August 8, 2021
Abacela Names Greg Jones CEO
By Craid Reed, The News Review, nrtoday.com, August 8, 2021
Abacela winery names Gregory Jones as its new CEO
By Michael Alberty, OregonLive.com, July 23, 2021
Abacela winery in Roseburg has named former Linfield University director of wine studies Gregory V. Jones as its new CEO. Abacela’s owners, who also happen to be Jones’ parents, are pleased as punch. Read the full article.
Millenial Wine Competition: 6 Wines to pair with grilling
#5 Abacela 2020 Grenache Rose, Millenial Competition, June 29, 2021
Abacela: The Rise of Oregon Tempranillo
By Joe Campbel, The Vintner Project, June 8, 2021
Abacela announces a new partnership with Authentic Wine Selections
Roseburg, Oregon, May 26, 2021 – Abacela Vineyards & Winery, a Roseburg-based winery, announces a new wholesale distribution partnership with Authentic Wine Selections, an Oakland, CA-based fine wine distributor. Read the full Press Release.
Unique Wine Tasting Experiences
By Jen Anderson, Travel Oregon, April 28, 2021
Malbec: Southern Oregon's Rising Star
Oregon is famous for Pinot Noir, but US editor W. Blake Gray argues it has another strong suit, too.
By W. Blake Gray, wine-searcher.com, March 20, 2021
Abacela announces new partnership with Cru Selections
Roseburg, Oregon, March 2, 2021 – Abacela Vineyards & Winery, a Roseburg-based winery, announces a new wholesale distribution partnership with Cru Selections, a Woodinville, WA based fine wine distributor. Read the full Press Release.
Planet Grape Wine Reviews - Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis
2017 Fiesta Tempranillo, 94 points; Medium-bodied with ripe plum, cherry and floral notes; concentrated flavors with smooth velvety body and a long warm boysenberry finish - a true crowd pleaser.
2017 Malbec, 92 points; Rich and complex with earthy notes, black plum, mixed berries and chocolate; structured texture, well-balanced with juicy acidity.
2017 Fifty-Fifty (Tempranillo-Malbec), 91 points; Intriguing with focused blackberry, marionberry and nutty nuances, larger more structured texture and well-integrated spicy oak with a juicy cranberry finish.
Abacela 2017 Estate Fiesta Tempranillo
By Great Northwest Wine, January 13, 2021
Rated "Excellent" - In many regards, there are two wines released each year that serve as the Northwest’s emblematic expressions of Spain’s signature grapes Albariño and Tempranillo. Both hail from Abacela – the country’s commercial-scale launching pad for both varieties – and here’s the red example of the style reminiscent of the Ribera del Duero. Billed as fresh and fruity, Fiesta is the approachable ambassador of Tempranillo while offering lots of layers with gusto. Founding winemaker Earl Jones’s research with Clone 2 Tempranillo is seen as the key to this program. There’s an inkiness to the nose of elderberry and brambleberries, but also a spicy gaminess bringing pinches of cumin and sage. A deliciously massive entry of bold purple fruit gathers up some musculature on the midpalate that leads out with a nibble of Western serviceberry in the finish. Suggested pairings include chorizo, Manchego cheese and anything off the grill.
Top 20 Northwest Wines of 2020
By Eric Degerman, The Seattle Times, October 2020
No one in the Northwest matches Earl Jones’ devotion to Iberian Peninsula varieties, and this fortified dessert wine from Southern Oregon is dense, fruit-forward, fresh and complex with dark purple fruit, sweet herbs and nuttiness.
Region’s fortified wines provide sweet warmth on chilly nights
By Eric Degerman, HearldNet.com, October 20, 2020
"This past summer, 48 Northwest wineries submitted samples for Wine Press Northwest’s first large-scale judging of fortifieds since 2015. Abacela winemaker Andrew Wenzl earned four “Outstanding!” ratings for the Jones family, including the Abacela 2014 Estate Port, which topped the judging."
Triumph of Tempranillo; Abacela honors 25 years of leading an American-Spanish wine revolution
By Sophia McDonald, Wine Press Northwest, October 1, 2020
Twenty-five years ago, Dr. Earl Jones planted a dream in the Umpqua Valley. ...he applied his skills and tenacity as a researcher to a new quest: finding the best place in the United States to grow Tempranillo."
Abacela Winery 2019 Estate Grenache Rosé
By Great Northwest Wine, October 1, 2020
Rated "Outstanding!" - As much acclaim as the Jones family has merited for its work with Albariño, Tempranillo and Port programs, they’ve also earned five career Platinums from Wine Press Northwest magazine via its rosé. That success began with the 2008 vintage – Andrew Wenzl’s first as head winemaker. His latest example has qualified for the 2020 Platinum via gold medals at three West Coast competitions, and our panel would agree with those awards. The festive color waves you in for some fun and tickles the fancy by bringing hints of pink grapefruit, Rainier cherry, honeydew melon and strawberry/watermelon. Its structure is compelling, clean and refreshing with a raspberry finish that’s ideal for tapas. This fall, 25% of Abacela’s sales of this rosé, its Albariño and Syrah will be donated to the Greater Douglas County United Way for wildfire relief.
Abacela tops spirited tasting of Northwest port-style, fortified wines
By Eric Degerman, Wine Press Northwest, September 23, 2020
"Earl’s comment; "Abacela entered five port style wines and won 1st place (2014 Vintage Style Port) and three more highest ratings and one excellent rating. Thus 5 of 5 Ports rated excellent or better."
Outside the Box - Loyal patrons react to “new normal”
By Paul Omundson, Oregon Wine Press, August 1, 2020
"Abacela, where owners Earl and Hilda Jones first introduced Tempranillo to Oregon, is in the midst of celebrating its 25th birthday..."
Cycling Series: Part 5, Umpqua Valley
By Dan Shryock, Oregon Wine Press, August 1, 2020
"Cycling the Umpqua Valley should include a visit to Abacela Winery..."
Bringing Tempranillo to Oregon - An interview with Earl Jones
By Liza B. Zimmerman, Forbes.com, July 22, 2020
"Trying to grow and bottle varietal Tempranillo, a wine that had never been successful in the U.S., was risky but science is a solid guide and today 25 years later everything we grow on our estate is site climate matched." -Earl Jones
Oregon Wine, What We're Drinking - 2015 Abacela Reserve Tempranillo
By Michele Francisco, Winerabble.com, July 10, 2020
"Wow, this wine is complex! ...It’s built for aging, so don’t hesitate to lay a bottle or two in your cellar to enjoy in the next decade."
Wine, etc.; Tempranillo In Oregon
By Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr, Capital Gazette, June 24, 2020
Comparing Wines Made From Tempranillo Grapes
By MoreAboutWine.com, SouthFloridaReporter.com, June 21, 2020
"Tempranillo in Oregon too... We’re suckers for a good story"
Wines to Know; Abacela 2019 Grenache Rosé
By Karen MacNeil, winespeed.com, June 5, 2020
"...we liked this Abacela from southern Oregon for going up against some pricier, fancier competitors–and still tasting the best!"
Oregon Wine, What We're Drinking - 2015 Abacela Reserve South Face Block Syrah
By Michele Francisco, Winerabble.com, May 30, 2020
Oregon Wine, What We're Drinking - 2017 Abacela Tempranillo Fiesta
By Michele Francisco, Winerabble.com, May 24, 2020
The Innovative and Delightful Wines of Abacela
By Frederick Thurber, SouthCoastToday.com, May 22, 2020
"These wine are really exceptional; I don’t think I have ever tried a winery’s lineup that was this perfect, from top to bottom."
Great Northwest Wine: Reach for rosé at any time, anywhere
By Eric Degerman of Great Northwest Wine, The Spokesman Review, May 2020
Tempranillo For Two In The Umpqua Valley
By Margarett Waterbury for Travel Oregon, May 2020
After an early-morning departure from Portland, our first stop is Abacela, Oregon’s tempranillo pioneer, with the hope that founders Earl and Hilda Jones can help shed some light on how and why tempranillo first took off in the Umpqua. By Margarett Waterbuy
Oregon Wine, What We Are Drinking - 2019 Albarino
Winerabble.com, May 2020
If you have a hankering for the tropics, you must buy this wine! If I had only one word to describe the Abacela Albariño, it would be passionfruit! Thankfully, I’m not limited to just one word, but wow, this wine brings me right back to Hawaii!
Abacela Vineyards in Umpqua Valley, Oregon: A “Special Pocket of the World” Where Spanish Varieties Flourish
Grape Experiences, April 25, 2020
"What I discovered during our conversation was that Earl Jones, forthcoming and friendly, intelligent and innovative, is an undeniable force in the wine industry."
Drinking With Esther - Abacela Tinta Amarela Umpqua Valley 2016
SFChrinicle.com, April 17, 2020
This southern Oregon winery has been a leading producer of Spanish- and Portuguese-style wines for decades, and it continues to make solid renditions of Tempranillo, Graciano and Albariño, among other wines. But I was particularly excited to try this Tinta Amarela, a Portuguese grape variety that Abacela owners Earl and Hilda Jones believe they were the first in the U.S. to bottle as a varietal wine. I’m sure I’ve had Portuguese red blends, including Ports, that have included Tinta Amarela before, but I’d never tasted it on its own. Abacela’s version is densely structured, with forest berries, graphite and cocoa powder flavors.
Abacela appoints Gavin Joll to General Manager
WineBusiness.com, April 2020
Abacela is pleased to announce that Gavin Joll will start as General Manager May 1st, 2020. Gavin, a native Oregonian and graduate of Willamette University, has worked in the wine industry since 2004, including thirteen years as the General Manager of White Rose Estate in the Dundee Hills.
Oregon Wine, What We Are Drinking - 2019 Grenache Rose
Winerabble.com, April 2020
Abacela, located in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, is celebrating 25 years of winemaking! Owners Earl and Hilda Jones traveled all over the world, searching for a prime location in which to grow Tempranillo, finally landing in Roseburg. This rosé is made using Grenache fruit from their estate vineyard.
Why Wine? An Interview with Earl Jones of Abacela Winery
By Michelle Francisco, Winerabble.com, March 2020
Look at homegrown products to avoid tariff woes on imports
By John McDonald, Cape Gazette, January 20, 2020
"Umpqua Valley near Roseburg. Here I like Abacela. They live outside the Oregon box and produce wine normally associated with Portugal and Spain: Tempranillo, Albarino, Dolcetto, Tinto Amarela, Graciano, an excellent Malbec and Port. All are grown in small, defined lots on the slopes of a cone-shaped foothill for maximum terroir effect. Clever viticulture. Barbara and I visited in 2016. Their vineyards and buildings were very carefully groomed. Always a good omen. Their Barrel Select Malbec rated 91 McD, 2011-15 around $30/bottle. Abacela also does a good job with big bottles for those who like unique."
Cheers to these 2 Roseburg wineries: Gerry Frank's picks
By Gerry Franks, The Oregonian, July 14, 2019
"When Earl Jones and his wife, Hilda, adopted Oregon as their home in the early 1990s, Oregon’s small wine industry had already earned an international reputation for great pinot noir. But the Joneses had come to do something different."
Great Wines for 2020, Part II
By Lou Phillips, Tahoe Weekly January 21, 2020
"Abacela Vineyards and Winery in Roseburg is a thought and action leader here with multiple, different wines each vintage, the majority of which are out of the box and, more importantly, delicious. It also farms some of the steepest vineyard terrain anywhere; one vineyard is Chaotic Ridge Parcel, which along with climate and soils, translates into real terroir in the bottle." Read full article
The Nittany Epicurean Review
By Michael Chelus, Read full article
"We're headed back to Abacela to enjoy a red wine that really blew me away."
Oregon’s Iberian Connection
By Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast Read full article
"Tempranillo is the leader here. Its introduction signaled the start of a spreading Iberian influence initiated by the Abacela winery more than two decades ago."
10 Top Wines To Serve To Your Next Dinner Guests
Abacela's 2017 Albarino listed in Forbes.com's 10 Top Wines!
Abacela Appoints Paula Caudill to National Sales Manager
We are pleased to announce that Paula Caudill is being promoted to Abacela’s National Sales Manager effective November 1, 2018. Many of you have come to know Paula through the years via emails, phone calls, and in person at the winery. She has been and will continue to be a great asset for Abacela since 2002. Paula replaces Sarah Waring who will be leaving Abacela after 3+ years of outstanding leadership building the Abacela brand on a national level. We wish both Sarah and Paula the best in thier new adventures.
Does Southern Oregon Need (or Want) a Signature Grape?
By Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast, October 24, 2017
“Currently, the best option for Southern Oregon is Tempranillo. In Spain—especially the Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions—Tempranillo produces exceptional, expressive wines. Yet, unlike the Rhône grapes that have proliferated in the western U.S., Tempranillo remains almost invisible as a varietal wine.” PDF
Oregon Wine Press - Cellar Selects; "Blanc? Check!"
2016 Albariño, A cornucopia of fruit. Peach dominates the aroma followed by pear and jasmine. A slight, pleasantly perfumed bitterness leads to lime, dragon fruit, nectarine, tangerine and apricot flavors, ending with a fleshier, fruitier finish.
Wine Business Monthly
Varietal Focus: Tempranillo
Earl and Hilda Jones.... "They planted their first grapes in Southern Oregon in 1995; and after 22 years, they are one of the foremost producers of Tempranillo in the New World." Read the full PDF.
The Changeup: Goodness Graciano - A trip to Spain with a sip from Southern Oregon
By Michael Alberty Oregon Wine Press
A decade ago, when traveling to Spain to explore as many wine regions as possible, I toured from the desert sands in Jumilla to the lush green hillsides of Galicia. Consequently, I developed quite a passion for Spanish wine and food culture, which is why my curiosity was piqued when I learned a winery in Oregon was making wine with Graciano, one of the rarest red winegrapes in Spain. It was no surprise to discover the winery was Abacela, where founder Earl Jones and his head winemaker, Andrew Wenzl, craft some of the finest examples of Tempranillo and Albariño in the New World. I couldn't drive to Roseburg fast enough. more
SIP Northwest Magazine; Just Desserts, Sweet Wines of the Pacific Northwest
Strength in Numbers: Fortified Bottlings
Abacela Winery in Southern Oregon's Umpqua Valley produces two dessert wines in this traditional style with Portuguese grapes. Earl Jones, owner of Abacela, says the sloping hillside microclimates of his valley are quite similar to that of western Portugal's main dessert wine region, the Douro Valley, where Port is produced. For that reason, he grows classic Portuguese varieties like Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Bastardo, Tinta Cão and Touriga Naçional; five of the over 30 varieties allowed in Port production. - Sipping Sweets 2013 Estate Port, This beautiful wine is inky dark in the glass with aromas of black cherry, dark plum, brambleberry, dates, savory spices and dark chocolate.
Great Northwest Wine Review
Outstanding!, Vintner's Blend #16
"The robust Spanish grape Tempranillo is the historic headliner at storied Abacela in Southern Oregon, and so it understandably makes up essentially half of this Mediterranean-style blend that calls upon 11 varieties. Syrah is the next grape up (21%) for winemaker Andrew Wenzl, who used it to create remarkable balance while toning down the tannins. There’s still ample grip, yet there’s an abundance of fruitiness to match. The nose features hints of black currant, cherry and lingonberry with touches of caramel corn and oregano. Inside, blackberry jam and bittersweet chocolate flavors are joined by tannins reminiscent of espresso grounds, which are led out by a raspberry cream finish." 3/14/2017
Wine Enthusiast Reviews
Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast, April 2017
91 points, 2014 Fiesta Tempranillo
"Fiesta is the lightest, most fruit forward of the four different Tempranillos from Abacela. In a great year such as this, it's also substantial and authoritative, with deeply driven flavors of red and blueberry fruit, a whiff of oak and slightly grainy tannins. This wine clearly over-delivers for the price."
90 points, 2014 Barrel Select Graciano
"Rare in Oregon (or anywhere this side of the Atlantic), this Graciano pushes a mix of pomegranate, cranberry and raspberry fruit front and center. It dips in the midpalate, then re-gathers with a mix of tea, coffee grounds and dark chocolate wrapping up the finish. Put this ringer into your next tasting of Spanish wines and you'll stump everyone."
90 points & Editors' Choice, Vintner's Blend #16
"Roughly half estate-grown Tempranillo, this smooth and deeply-fruited red includes small amounts of 10 other grapes. For all that it's complete, complex and composed, with pomegranate jam, loganberries, polished tannins and prolonged power. Drink now through 2020."
Top 12 NW Tempranillos
Oregon Business Magazine names Abacela in "100 Best Fan-Favorite Destinations in Oregon"
Promise fulfilled at the First Oregon Tempranillo Conference
By Randy Caparoso, The Tasting Panel, June 2016
Abacela Featured in the Wine Spectator
Syrah Stars in Southern Oregon, By Harvey Steiman, June 15, 2016
Back to Oregon for some outstanding wines
By John McDonald | May 16, 2016 Cape Gazette
Great Northwest Wine Review
Outstanding!, 2013 Fiesta Tempranillo, Great Northwest Wine
"The Northwest Tempranillo master has proved his expertise once again. Earl Jones' Abacela estate grapes from 2013, put into the capable hands of winemaker Andrew Wenzl, were used in this fruit-forward wine aptly called Fiesta. And you'll want to start a celebration of your own after sampling it. Its nose opens with mint, spicy oak and nimble cherries. In the mouth, the cherries are dark, dipping down toward dark Marionberry skin, then unearthing Abacela estate's minerality and grippy tannins. It’s a huge mouthful – “Yuuuge, I tell you” – that calls out for a rare ribeye amply dusted with cracked black pepper. This earned a double gold medal at the 2016 Cascadia Wine Competition."
Abacela, Bunnell stand out at Pacific Rim International Wine Competition
Best of Class & Gold Medal 2015 Grenache Rosé
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Abacela in Southern Oregon and Bunnell Family Cellar in Washington's Yakima Valley each were awarded three gold medals Thursday at the 31st annual Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in Southern California. Eight wines from the Pacific Northwest captured best of class honors at the two-day fundraiser for the National Orange Show. One of those BOC awards went to Abacela winemaker Andrew Wenzl for the latest vintage of his perennially popular Estate Grenache Rosé made from the Fault Line Vineyards of Earl and Hilda Jones. Two other wines from the 2015 vintage – Albariño and Muscat – also went gold.
Great whites from 2016 Cascadia Wine Competition
Gold 2015 Muscat: Annually, Abacela crafts one of the most beautiful and graceful Muscats in the Pacific Northwest. This new vintage is no exception, thanks to aromas of rosewater, lavender and clove. On the palate, it offers flavors of lychee, pink grapefruit and Golden Delicious apple. Its 3% residual sugar and gentle acidity make this a delicious and approachable sipper.
Gold medal reds from 2016 Cascadia Wine Competition
Double Gold, 2013 Fiesta Tempranillo
The Northwest Tempranillo master has proved his expertise once again. Earl Jones’ Abacela estate grapes from 2013, put into the capable hands of winemaker Andrew Wenzl, were used in this fruit-forward wine aptly called Fiesta. And you'll want to start a celebration of your own after sampling it. Its nose opens with mint, spicy oak and nimble cherries. In the mouth, the cherries are dark, dipping down toward dark Marionberry skin, then unearthing Abacela estate’s minerality and grippy tannins. It’s a huge mouthful – “Yuuuge, I tell you” – that calls out for a rare ribeye amply dusted with cracked black pepper.
Top wines from 2016 Cascadia Wine Competition
Best Dessert/Gold 2015 Blanco Dulce: Southern Oregon winemaker Andrew Wenzl crafted a beauty of a dessert wine here, using estate Albariño that hung on the vines and accumulated sweetness well past its normal harvest time. Aromas of honey-glazed apricot and intense Christmas spices lead to flavors of candied orange peel, poached peach and vanilla ice cream. It is a stunning dessert wine. Read more.
Abacela awarded People's Choice at Greatest of the Grape Wine Gala
Best Wine 2012 Northwest Block Reserve Malbec and Best Wine & Food Pairing with K-Bar Steakhouse. Read more.
Abacela earns four 90+ point reviews from Wine Enthusiast
93 Points & Cellar Selection, 2012 Northwest Block Reserve Malbec; 92 Points & Editors’ Choice, 2012 Barrel Select Syrah; 91 Points & Editors’ Choice, 2013 Barrel Select Malbec; 90 Points, 2013 Barrel Select Tinta Amarela; WineMag.com. April 2016 Issue
Get to Know a New Side of Tempranillo
Tempranillo Bottles to Try. By Rachel Singer, Eater.com. February 2016
Terroirist.com: American Tempranillo
92 points, 2012 Abacela Tempranillo Barrel Select Estate. Read the full article on Terroirist.com. February 2016
A little bit of Spain taking root in Oregon
Lovers of the Spanish wine varietal called Tempranillo can take heart that this grape is taking root in the soils of Oregon. By Victor Panichkul, Statesmen Journal. February 2016
Southern Oregon wines' gaining clout could bring onslaught of tourists
The winsome wines of Southern Oregon are gathering acclaim far beyond the Cascades and Siskiyous. Read the full article. January 2016
Southern Oregon named 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations
Abacela is mentioned as a must-see winery in Roseburg. Read the full Wine Enthusiast article. January 2016
Northwest Tempranillo continues to shine
Abacela's 2013 Fiesta Tempranillo and 2012 Barrel Select Tempranillo highlighted by Great Northwest Wine. January 3, 2016
Abacela makes Top 100 Wines of 2015 list
Our 2012 Fiesta Tempranillo made Great Northwest Wine's "Top 100 Wines" of 2015 list!
140 year old vines discovered at Abacela
Abacela discovers 140-year-old Mission grape planting on estate. Read the article. November 26, 2015
Abacela Releases #UmpquaStrong Wine to support the UCC Relief Fund.
Abacela proudly presented Ellen Brown, of the Umpqua Community College Foundation, with a check for more than $18,000. The money was raised by the spontaneous generosity of our bottle, glass, cork, label and capsule suppliers and the Abacela staff and owners for the bottling of #UmpquaStrong. 100% of the proceeds of this bottling went to the #UCCReliefFund (Umpqua Community College). The wine sold out in less than 48 hours, but you can still donate at Greater Douglas United Way.
Statesman Journal; Oregon wines for Christmas dinner
Abacela's 2012 Barrel Select Syrah was chosen by the Statesman Journal as a top wine to have with your Christmas roast.
Portland Monthly; Oregon's 25 Best Wines Under $25
Abacela's 2014 Albariño was chosen by Portland Monthly Magazine as one of Oregon's 25 Best Wines Under $25. Read the article. September 21, 2015
Earl Jones celebrates more history at Abacela
Great Northwest Wine by Eric Degerman on May 27, 2015. Read the article.
8 Excellent Oregon Varieties That Aren't Pinot Noir
Northwest Spain and Portugal's native grape, Albariño, in Oregon results in a fruitier wine than a typical Rías Baixas version. The best examples also show appealing minerality and crisp, ultra fresh flavors of celery, jícama, cucumber and a dash of daikon radish. Abacela, the Umpqua winery that pioneered Tempranillo in Oregon, has perfect Albariño, keeping alcohol levels low and acidity high. Read the full Wine Enthusiast article.
2015 American Winery of the Year Nomination
Abacela is one of five wineries nominated by the Wine Enthusiast for their Wine Star Awards "2015 American Winery of the Year". Read the article.
Northwest Wines: A few 2014 Northwest rosés to tuck in your fridge
Our 2014 Grenache Rosé is featured in The Bellingham Herald.
The Beauty of the Blend; Oregon's red blends come together to produce a tapestry of flavors that will improve your dining experience. Our Vintner's Blend #14 is highlighted.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Earl and Hilda Jones were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Oregon Wine Board at this year's Oregon Wine Symposium. Read the press release.
Greatest of the Grape
Our 2012 Malbec wins a Gold Medal from the professional judging and runner-up Best Wine & Food Pairing.
Wine of the Week for February 7, 2015, 2011 Dolcetto
Oregon Wine Press
"Value Pick" February 2015, 2011 Dolcetto and 2011 Malbec
2013 Albariño featured in the article Offbeat grapes making their way in American vineyards
Umpqua Valley: Only Hours From Napa, but a World Away
By Rachel Levin, The New York Times, July 6, 2014
Wine: Try rosés from Oregon: 2013 Grenache Rosé
Sip Northwest Magazine
"Daily Sip" by Erin James 2013 Albariño
2013 Grenache Rosé is a "Heavy Hitter" by Jon Bonné.
Oregon Wine Press
"Value Pick" July 2014, 2013 Grenache Rosé
Oregon Wine Press
"Value Pick" June 2014, 2013 Viognier
Great Northwest Wine
#14 of "Top 100 Wines", 2012 Albariño
James Melendez, JamesTheWineGuy.com
Top 100 Wines of 2013, 2009 Estate Tempranillo
The Passionate Foodie
"2013: Top Wines Over $50", 2005 Paramour
"Southern Oregon Wine of the Week" 2012 Albariño
"Top 100 Wines of 2013" 2012 Albariño
The Seattle Times
"Top 50 Regional Wines" 2012 Albariño
Taking risks in retirement, October 2011
"Abacela Syrah is Southern Oregon's First 95-Point Wine" March 09, 2009 Read the Article Here
"In an historical perspective, 95-point wines are rare. An online examination of data from wines reviewed in the Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator revealed that together these two highly respected magazines have tasted approximately 10,000 Oregon wines of which they rated only 20 wines from just 12 Oregon wineries at 95 points or higher. None of the fruit for these wines was sourced, nor were any of the producing wineries located south of Oregon's famed Willamette Valley, known for world-class pinot noir"
By Kathleen Willcox, Wine Enthusiast, February 15, 2022
Grapes are extremely malleable. Plant the same grape variety in different soils, alter the length of time they’re fermented or vessel they’re aged in, and the taste of the resulting wine will be vastly different.
But the climate grapes grow in, and temperature fluctuation from day to night called diurnal shift, have some of the biggest impacts on a wine’s quality. Just a few degrees’ difference can spell success or doom for sensitive varieties like Pinot Noir, which needs an average growing-season temperature of 57–61°F to thrive.
From frosts and heat domes, to wildfires, floods and droughts, climate change upends the wine industry in countless ways. But the more subtle effects of diurnal shifts are also important, if less frequently discussed.
“A lot of people aren’t putting two and two together when it comes to the diurnal shift,” says Greg Jones, climatologist and CEO of Umpqua Valley’s Abacela Winery. “There are multiple factors at work here. Many warmer regions are now ripening much earlier in the summer, and harvest is happening in August, when it used to happen in September or October. But cool nights are key to correct ripening, especially in September and October, and without that, the sugar, acid, flavor, aroma and phenolic characteristics of the grape will be thrown off.”
Recent climate change research confirms this. According to scientists at the University of Exeter, who looked at temperature patterns between 1983 and 2017, global warming is affecting daytime and nighttime conditions differently, with greater increases in nighttime temperatures being registered.
“Over the past century, nighttime temperatures increased by 1.5°F, while daytime temperatures increased 1.1°F,” says Jack Sillin, climate researcher at Cornell University. “That may not sound like a lot, but that’s a difference of 20%.”
Effect on Grapes
Winemakers depend on the diurnal shift to lock in flavor and brightness, especially in white grape varieties. Diurnal shifts can also impart higher tannins and more complete phenolic maturity, says Julio Sáenz, technical director at Spain’s La Rioja Alta.
“We don’t have exact data, but we have noticed a significant change,” says Sáenz. “Grapes are higher in sugar, lower in acid, there is delayed phenolic maturity and grapes are developing less intense and fresh aromas.”
Franco Bastias, agronomist at Domaine Bousquet in Mendoza, Argentina, notes that changes in diurnal shift are far from uniform.
“In the Uco Valley, the shift is still pretty nice, around 59–68°F, which helps us harvest grapes with remarkable natural acidity and a concentration of fruity flavors,” says Bastias. “But in the center and east of Mendoza, many growers are suffering, and the increase in night temperatures are producing grapes with less acidity and higher pH.”
Resolution in Field
Winegrowers are experimenting with a variety of short- and long-term fixes to contend with these challenges.
At Clos Mogadar, which has 100 acres under vine in Priorat and Montsant, Spain, Winemaker Rene Barbier Meyer says that the changing nighttime temperatures are pushing them to “abandon non-autochthonous varieties, especially the ones that have to be picked early. We’re replanting autochthonous varieties like Grenache and Carignan, and recovering old ones like Picapoll and Xarel-o,” for their lower alcohol levels and higher acidity. New vines are also being planted at higher elevations.
In Paso Robles, Daou Vineyard’s Winemaker Daniel Daou, who has 170 producing acres in Adelaida, says his vineyards are in a better position than most in the region because they’re planted as high as 2,200 feet above sea level and 14 miles from the ocean. Even so, Daou was alarmed enough by changes in the diurnal shift that in 2017 he developed a three-pronged approach to counter the effects.
“We use an organic product called BluVite to activate microorganisms in the soil and strengthen the vine’s ability to withstand thermal stress,” he says. “After a three-year trial, we noticed that it helped lower the temperature of the grapes between 3–5°F during heatwaves.”
Daou also uses shade cloth during the afternoon to shield grapes from sunburn. “It can make between a 5–7°F difference,” he says.
The third element is monitoring moisture in the generally dry-farmed vineyards. “During heatwaves, we water in microbursts, sometimes giving a half-gallon or so during heatwaves in August,” says Daou.
By reducing the impact of the extreme heat spikes on the grapes, Daou says he can maintain some of the freshness lower nighttime temperatures usually lock into place.
Resolution in the Cellar
According to Eric Glomski, founder and winemaker at Page Spring Cellars in Cornville, Arizona, when “the gap between day and night closes” at any of the 30 acres of vineyards he works with, he’s forced to change procedures in the cellar.
“The acid structure gets mucked up, and for our warmer sites, we have to acidulate the wines,” says Glomski. “Picking earlier isn’t always a solution for us, because we want the grapes to be phenologically mature.”
Glomski worries that Syrah, Arizona’s “trademark grape,” will soon no longer be viable because “the acid just can’t hold up to these changes.”
He’s already planting more high-acid grapes like Picpoul Blanc, Gamay, Barbera and Alicante Bouschet, anticipating their increased importance in blending as well as stand-alone bottlings.
In New York’s Finger Lakes region, Red Newt Cellars’ Winemaker Kelby Russell says that, in 2021, he “didn’t have a frost until Thanksgiving. We normally get our first frost in early to mid-October. We depend on those colder temperatures to relieve disease pressure and kill off pests like fruit flies.”
Delayed frost also impedes acid development and aromatic potential of their grapes. Short term, that means increasing spraying regimens in the vineyard, something Russell says he hates doing, and on rare occasions, “adding tartaric acid because the acid is so lacking. We added just enough so our Riesling could be correct for the region.”
In the long term, he says, “low acid can also lead to microbiological issues, which may mean we have to switch up our spontaneous fermentation. We are not looking for malo.”
To contend with the current state of climate change, growers may have to continue to cultivate higher-acid grape varieties, move plantings to higher ground and deploy a range of products in vineyards and cellars to ensure customers get the style of wines they’ve come to expect.
“The changes in the diurnal shift represent a pernicious problem,” says Jones. “There’s no easy solution or shortcut, unfortunately. We must reduce emissions drastically to prevent more warming.”
A Southern Oregon University professor was interviewed on “60 Minutes” for a feature that aired this past Sunday about climate change’s impact on the wine industry.
Greg Jones, who specializes in the study of how climate change influences the growing and harvesting of wine grapes, sat down with veteran CBS reporter Lesley Stahl. He told her that grapes are “sensitive” to changes in Earth’s temperature and that it is accelerating the fruit’s ripening process — so much so growers are having to harvest them much earlier than normal.
The “60 Minutes” segment even noted that global warming is one of the reasons vineyards are migrating north of the renowned Napa Valley to places like Oregon, where it used to be too cold to grow grapes, according to Jones.
“The warming to date has helped the state's industry become more consistent and even world-renowned,” wrote Jones, who praised the legendary broadcast show, in an email to the Mail Tribune. “The problem is that additional warming and especially drying could challenge Oregon's wine production in the future.”
The “60 Minutes” segment named Willamette Valley as a region that’s become more popular for winemakers — but it did not mention Rogue Valley, which has its share of wineries and vineyards being impacted by climate change. Jones talked about this and his work at SOU in an interview a day after the “60 Minutes” segment ran.
This southern region of the state has been extensively studied by Jones, who taught and conducted research at SOU from 1997-2017. After leaving Ashland, Jones was named an “affiliate” faculty member — stepping away from the institution to pursue other endeavors, but not exactly retiring, either.
Jones — now CEO of Abacela Vineyards and Winery in Roseburg — has been named to numerous wine publications’ top 100 or 50 lists of influential people in the industry. He was also a contributing author to an international climate report that merited a Nobel Prize in 2008.
Over 20 years at SOU, Jones sought to better understand grape growing in the Rogue Valley, mapping all of the vineyards; collecting data on weather, soil and how the plants were growing.
In his latest “vintage report,” posted on his website www.climateofwine.com, Jones recorded 2021 as having the second warmest growing season on record.
“When you have drought occurrences and real intense heat, those two things, in combination, can be challenging to growing balanced fruit and wine,” Jones said. “I think the growers in the region have done a really good job managing and adapting to the conditions we have.”
Constance Thomas, manager at South Stage Cellars in Jacksonville, acknowledged climate change makes it difficult to grow grapes and produce wine.
“The climate change that’s happening has impacted the grapes all the way around,” Thomas said. “I know vineyard managers that have just left the business, partially because there are still extreme differences from year to year, it’s hard to get any consistency with their grapes.”
Echoing what Jones said on “60 Minutes,” Thomas confirmed in an email that South Stage Cellers has been picking its grapes “earlier and earlier each year.” She did not elaborate more on that before the newspaper’s deadline.
In an earlier phone interview, she talked about a variety of challenges South Stage faces, including the summer heat and how it impacts South Stage Cellars’ grapes.
“You need a certain length of time for the grapes to hang on the vine,” she said. “If the sugars get so high because the temperatures are so high, a lot of times, the flavors don’t get there.”
Thomas went on to say the impacts of climate change on her winery is not just related to heat.
“We are not getting the rain we normally get when we normally get it,” she said. “With climate change, there really is no normality at all.”
Last year, South Stage Cellars was supposed to plant another 50 acres of vines, but decided not to because of the predicted lack of precipitation.
“Winemakers have to be much more creative and try different things to combat climate change,” Thomas said.
The “60 Minutes” segment said wildfires have been known to impact vineyards — and not just if they’re completely burned down. Smoke can be a factor in harming the grapes.
Nevermind the Almeda fire of 2020, Thomas said her winery and others have felt the impacts of smoke emanating from wildfires not even near the Rogue Valley.
“Unless it’s a smokey varietal, it might have a different type of smoke – when varietals age, they might smell a little bit like bacon,” she said. “That’s not from wildfires.”
She acknowledged that dealing with an issue like climate change, that requires an all-hands-on-deck approach to mitigate, is tough — but winemakers are doing what they can.
“We have very talented winemakers in the valley and they’re doing a great job,” she said.
By Kevin Opsahl, Mail Tribune, Dec 27, 2021 06:59 PM
[[TRANSCRIPT OF LIVE BROADCAST]]
TIFFANY CROSS, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everybody. I`m Tiffany Cross in tonight for Joy Reid.
CROSS: All right, everybody. I know we have about 28 hours until the ball drops, but, in the words of Beyonce, we like to party. Sorry for my singing. I can`t.
But I do want to cheer to the new year. And I imagine, like me, many of you will be popping a bottle of bub with your friends and family tomorrow. Sadly, some of you will be drinking alone because you`re in quarantine or you have to be on air Saturday morning like me.
Whatever the reason, I`m sorry. But, even worse, some of you could be popping a bottle of English sparkling wine. I know, the horror. But that`s for an entirely different, but equally disturbing reason. Extreme weather conditions are starting to push good wine out of traditional regions like France, Italy and California into places further north and south, like Norway, Oregon and the aforementioned England.
It`s the literal polarization of wine. Take, for example, France. Extreme weather has hammered the country, leaving its world-class wine and champagne regions hurting. A French government forecasts showed that the 2021 harvest was the smallest in at least 50 years.
Now, that`s a devastating blow to a country whose second largest export industry is actually wine. The threatening effects of the climate crisis on wine are having serious and life-changing consequences.
I`m joined now by Greg Jones, CEO of Abacela Winery. He`s also an atmospheric scientist and vinicultural climatologist.
I hope I said that correctly. Greg, you will correct me if I didn`t.
This is a really entry interesting story. I mean, it`s obviously disappointing for champagne lovers, but the bigger challenge is, of course, protecting Earth.
What`s the solution to all of this? And because it`s so serious, I`m just going to take a sip of the champagne while you tell us what can be done to preserve our precious cocktails.
GREG JONES, CEO, ABACELA WINERY: Well, first of all, thanks for having me on air today.
This is a really big issue. We have been noticing in agriculture in general, but in grape growing specifically, climates have been changing all over the world, and the rise of extreme events that have become more and more problematic, whether it be heat extremes and/or hail and/or heavy rain, have really caused some major challenges.
In 2021, in champaign, a combination of frost, hail, heavy rain, and quite a bit of mildew led to a very, very difficult vintage. There will be some people that just will not even produce whatsoever. There`s hope, though. There`s still, I think, plenty of wine out there for this coming year.
Champagne does something that is very similar to what OPEC does with oil and what maple syrup is done within Quebec. They do have supplies that they keep behind for delivery for a year like this.
But the challenge is, is that the supply chain may be more difficult than anything.
CROSS: The supply chain is certainly a challenge with a lot of industries.
In hearing you talk about this, I`m curious. If we cannot address this challenge with champagne, like, what is the responsibility of the consumer? Like, will prices start to go up significantly? Should people be buying champagne, buying more champagne? I understand the champagne committee is trying to decrease the carbon footprint of what`s happening in these regions.
For us at home watching, like, what should we be doing?
JONES: Well, I think the whole industry is trying to look at this as a broader issue.
The idea, number one, is to really look at packaging. How does shipping glass bottles all around the world impact our carbon footprint? So I think there`s going to be some major changes in packaging in the future.
But, as consumers, we just need to be aware of where our products are coming from. Can we buy more locally? Or can we buy more sustainably in terms of how that product has gotten to our doorstep?
CROSS: Great advice, especially as so many people will be popping bottles tomorrow night for New Year`s.
Because tomorrow night is New Year`s Eve, I`m just curious what you will be drinking tomorrow night when it`s time to bring in the new year.
JONES: Well, I have to admit that I do you have an Oregon sparkling wine on my menu for tomorrow night.
I think there's some wonderful sparkling well wines made throughout wine regions in the United States. So, if you cannot, for whatever reason it is, find a champagne on the shelf at the marketplace, look for something else from maybe Upstate New York or Oregon or Washington.
There are some really good sparkling wines made by the producers out there.
CROSS: That`s really sound advice. And 2021 has been a challenging year. 2022 may be another challenging year. Please don`t take our wine and champagne away from us.
Thank you so much, Greg Jones. Cheers to you and happy new year.
And don`t go anywhere at home, because, up next, America`s youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, pens an extraordinary new poem to send us into the new year brimming with hope and inspiration.
We will be right back.
Greg Jones, CEO of @Abacela Winery and wine climatologist, on the impact of global warming on the regions in France that produce champagne, and wine making worldwide. #TheReidOut #reiders pic.twitter.com/7Gxrp8nDgD— The ReidOut (@thereidout) December 31, 2021
COP26: Oregon takes the lead in global wine sustainability
As Glasgow gets ready to host COP26 UN Climate Summit following its hottest summer on record, the need for a global response to the climate crisis could not be clearer. In the US, Oregon winemakers are doing their part and setting new standards in environmentally friendly winemaking.
Oregon’s wine industry is just 60 years old but is already leading the industry both for the quality of its wine and winemakers’ dedication to sustainability. Vineyards are setting ambitious zero-emissions goals, rewilding land and experimenting with innovative packaging.
Some wineries are using autonomous, electric tractors that can even predict when it will rain, while others have returned to farming exclusively with animals. When it comes to packaging, natural wax closures are being used as an alternative to tin screwcaps, while at some vineyards pouches made from recycled materials are replacing glass.
Supported by the state of Oregon, which has adopted the nation’s most protective land-use policies, winemakers are leading the change they want to see in the industry.
SPOTLIGHT ON: ABACELA WINERY
Dr. Greg Jones who is a world-renowned atmospheric scientist and wine climatologist was named CEO at his family winery Abacela this summer.
As a Charter member of the Carbon Neutral Challenge with a science-led approach to sustainable winemaking, he will continue to be dedicated to data-led sustainability.
Sustainable Oregon wines in the UK
Many of Oregon’s eco-friendly wines are available to purchase in the UK. Discover how they’re leading the way in sustainable winemaking:
Brick House Vineyard
Certified organic and biodynamic, Brick House Vineyard is a vineyard and working farm that composts all natural wastes from grape residues to garden cuttings. It is also part of the Deep Roots Coalition, encouraging other wineries to embrace non-irrigation agricultural techniques.
The Eyrie Vineyards
In the 1990s, the Lett family allowed native flora flourished alongside the The Eyrie Vineyards, creating a natural, healthy ecosystem. Today, the land has never been ploughed or fertilised, with nature doing a spectacular job of nurturing the vines, so the winemakers can produce excellent, organic wines.
World-renowned atmospheric scientist and wine climatologist Dr. Greg Jones was named CEO at his family winery this summer. Already a Charter member of the Carbon Neutral Challenge with a science-led approach to sustainable winemaking, that dedication to data-led sustainability will be continued by Dr. Jones.
Big Farm Table
The name says it all. This vineyard is part of a 70-acre farm, where free-range hens, pasture-raised pigs and goats, and grass-fed cows are all part of the vineyard’s novel approach to land use, creating a holistic farm environment to avoid monoculture.
Jackson Family Wines
Not only did the Jackson family found International Wineries for Climate Action, they have also launched their ambitious climate action plan. It includes slashing their carbon footprint in half by 2030 and becoming climate positive by 2050.
Left Coast Estate
Organic, biodynamic and committed to using solar power as well as establishing a 100-acre oak restoration project, Left Coast has also embraced creative initiatives such as using thinner glass in its bottles to cut transport emissions.
Oregon lawmakers passed an ambitious 1889 law prohibiting the pollution of waters from livestock and farming, leading the way in protecting natural landscapes. The 1973 Senate Bill 100 placed restrictions on urban sprawl and much of that land is now home to premier vineyards. And today landowners are taking the lead with agreements such as the Oak Accord, a promise to protect and restore the native oak habitat on their properties in the Willamette Valley.
As COP26 sets new targets for action on climate change, Oregon winemakers are proud to be leading the way in sustainability.
Abacela's Dr. Greg Jones, Ph.D., quoted in an article about Climate Change.
Wine Industry Insider, September 16, 2021
In August, the United Nations’ issued a report that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres characterized as a “code red for humanity” regarding the current state and near future of the planet. Among their findings: global warming is nearing emergency levels, humans are “unequivocally” to blame, and while rapid action is necessary to ensure humanity’s future, certain weather patterns—including fatal heat waves, storms and droughts—are inevitable.
Though humans helped create this existential crisis, we are far from helpless in combatting it. According to a report on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, almost one-third of the global emissions causing climate change are caused by agricultural activities, including the use of pesticides.
In California alone, the state applies more than 200 million pounds of agricultural pesticides annually according to the Department of Pesticide Regulation. Forty million of that 200 million are fumigants, which are 300 times more detrimental to the environment than carbon dioxide. In France, vineyards occupy just over 4 percent of France’s agricultural area, but use 15 percent of the pesticides, according to a 2019 report from the French Agricultural Ministry.
Considering what’s at stake, it may seem tasteless to mull the implications of climate change for the wine industry, but taken as a whole, the segment is expected to reach $434.6 billion by 2027. Millions of businesses, individuals, and entire regions depend on the continued ability to cultivate wine grapes for their survival, and grapes are some of the most notoriously delicate and vulnerable agricultural products on the planet.
In Bordeaux, Marie-Catherine Dufour, the technical director of the Bordeaux Wine Council, says they began seriously assessing and managing wine’s carbon footprint in 2008.
Between 2012 and 2019, they slashed their greenhouse gas emissions by 24 percent by streamlining transportation of goods and their employees, using local vendors, and reducing the use of chemicals in the vineyard.
As a region, they encourage winegrowers to improve biodiversity and reduce reliance on chemicals through cover crops (they recommend 80 percent coverage), which attract beneficial pests; they are also currently devising a long-term strategy for water-resilient viticulture. The Bordeaux Wine Council is working alongside France’s National Research Institute to find more drought-resistant rootstocks and learn how to manage weather extremes in the vineyard through agroforestry (adding shade over vineyards) and vineyard management practices, like pruning and canopy management.
But the most significant decision by far, Dufour admits, is the introduction of new red and white varieties— Arinarnoa, Castets, Marselan, Touriga Nacional, Alvarinho and Liliorila—which they chose (after experimental plantings of 52 varieties) with the goal of helping the region adapt to climate change while “maintaining the quality of the wines.”
In 2011, Chile formalized its focus on sustainability through the Sustainability Code for the Chilean Wine Industry (SCWI), which encompass goals for viticulture, production, workers and tourism.
Since its inception, SCWI has been adopted by all of the country’s leading producers who encompass 123,550 acres of vineyards and accounts for 80 percent of the country’s exports. In the past decade, individual wineries have reduced energy consumption by between 4 to 30 percent and water consumption by between 3 to 55 percent.
“Chile is a geography of extremes, and from a viticultural point of view, it will be less affected than other regions,” Mario Pablo Silva, president of the R&D Consortium Vinos de Chile, says. “Together with research in existing and potential production areas, the use of plant material better adapted to new conditions and our consistent research and adaptation ensure our future for many generations to come.”
In Alentejo, Portugal, summer temperatures can regularly top 100°F; average annual rainfall rarely reaches 23 inches. These numbers equate to the region being on of the most vulnerable to climate change.
“Our biggest challenges are water and heat-related,” says João Barroso, who spearheads the Wines of Alentejo Sustainability Program. “But at the same time, we have one of the highest numbers of native grape varieties in the world, more than 300, and we are researching how much heat and water stress they can withstand.”
Barroso explains that they also have stringent rules in place to prevent over-development and infringement on the ecological habitats that increase biodiversity around vineyards, and are actively installing “functional barriers around vineyards, and are planning to plant 50,000 trees to help mitigate climate change.”
In Washington, the State Wine Commission is just weeks away from launching its first-ever statewide certified sustainability program. President Steve Warner says they anticipate “majority participation,” first among wine-growers, and then vineyards.
Right now, Washington is most concerned with the increased incidence of wildfires and smoke impact and is heavily investing as a region in “research to help our winegrowers and winemakers prepare and deal with smoke issues.”
Sicily is already on the cutting edge of sustainability, with the largest organic vineyard area in Italy, or a total of 34 percent of Italy’s organic surface area.
But, in the past 20 years, “harvest has begun about 10 days earlier, and four to five days earlier for varieties with shorter maturation cycles,” says Antonio Rallo, president of the Consorzio di Tutela Vini Doc Sicilia.
Currently, the Consorzio di Tutela Vini Doc Sicilia and Assovini Sicilia have come together to establish the SOStain Sicilia Foundation, in a bid to measure and actively reduce the “impact that agronomic and oenological practices have on the land, and to facilitate the sharing of best practices in order to respect the ecosystem, while also providing transparency to the consumer.”
South Africa’s Strategy
Wines of South Africa (WOSA) began introducing sustainability guidelines in 1998. Since then, 95 percent of growers and vintners adhere to them.
The approach is holistic, encompassing environmental and social initiatives. Key elements include: limits on chemicals, the introduction of natural predators in vineyards, water management, and respecting the health and safety of workers. In the past five years, the industry has set aside 120,000 hectares for conservation and re-wilding. Currently, the focus is on experimentation with climate and disease-resistant varieties (like Nero d’Avola), and research into water efficient rootstocks and varieties.
Companies Take on Climate Change
Other large wine companies, with holdings around the world, are also taking serious strides toward sustainability.
Jackson Family Wines, with 40 brands across the globe, recently announced a 10-year plan to combat climate change. Dubbed Rooted for Good: Roadmap to 2030, Jackson has committed to cutting its carbon footprint by 50 percent, and by becoming climate positive by 2050.
Farm for the Future
“The only thing the report changed is that it states with certainty that humans have had a role in climate change,” Dr. Jones says. “But it’s important to keep in mind that no wine region is on the precipice of collapsing.”
The shift in paradigm that the report represents does mean something though, he acknowledges.
“When I started giving talks on climate change in the 1990s, no one took me seriously,” he says. “I recommended that Bordeaux vintners consider planting new grape varieties that could withstand climate change in 1995, and it took them 25 years to do it.”
To contend with the changing climate, Dr. Jones recommends all vintners look at the grapes they’re planting, their farming practices generally, and how they can deal with the world as-is while preparing for the future.
By the time climate researcher Greg Jones issues his next Weather and Climate Summary and Forecast near Labor Day, harvest for sparkling wine in the Pacific Northwest will have begun.
That doesn’t include the estate plantings for Abacela Winery, where Jones recently took over as chief executive officer, but the Albariño at his family’s iconic Fault Line Vineyards in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley American Viticultural Area won’t be far off.
“The overall summer forecast continues to tilt the odds to warmer than average temperatures and remaining seasonally dry for the western U.S.,” Jones reported the day after the annual Albariño Days celebration at Abacela while continuing to work on his ClimateOfWine.com.
Vineyard managers and winemakers have the experience, knowledge and resources to deal with the grapes ripening under those temperatures. However, the domino effect surrounding the drought can bring irrigation problems for some and another season of smoke from wildfires.
“Sorry for the broken record, but the western U.S. continues to be dominated by drought conditions,” he wrote. “Currently over 99% of the west is in some level of drought. The highest drought categories, extreme and exceptional, now make up roughly 65% of the western U.S.”
And there’s no expectation that it will change until the start of fall.
“Both short- and long-term drought indicators along with the seasonal outlook point to the western U.S. being highly likely to continue dry conditions into the start of the fall,” Jones noted.
His latest overview of growing degree days, drought reports and weather forecasts indicates that the 2021 vintage in the Pacific Northwest is leaning more toward the historically hot 2015 growing season than last year. It’s a different story throughout much of California wine country because of the influence of marine layers.
“Most inland areas continue running 5-20 days ahead of normal growing degree-day accumulations, while the coastal zones in central to southern California are near average to seven days behind,” Jones wrote.
Another factor for Northwest vineyards is that wine grape vines will shut down as a result of heat stress, so during the recent “heat dome” episode, those lofty temperatures added to the GDD totals but did not necessarily help with ripening. In a number of varieties, shut down begins around 95 degrees, but that does not apply to all grapes.
For the record, in 2015 the Jones family began bringing in its award-winning Albariño on Sept. 14. That heat didn’t stop winemaker Andrew Wenzl’s Albariño from earning a gold medal — and better — at four West Coast competitions the following year. Last year, harvest for the white grape native to Galicia commenced Sept. 29 at Fault Line Vineyards.
By Eric Degerman, Great Northwest Wine
Image Credit: Pacific Northwest precipitation departure from normal through July 2021. (Images from WestWide Drought Tracker, Western Region Climate Center; University of Idaho)