Douglas County winery named Oregon's best

WINSTON, Ore. -- For the first time, a Douglas County winery has been named Oregon's Winery of the Year.

This year, that honor goes to Abacela Winery in Winston.

Earl Jones moved his wife Hilde and their two young daughters to the area more than two decades ago, in the hopes of starting a winery. "When we moved out here, bought the land, it was a gamble, we didn't know it was going to work," Jones said.

He says he focused mostly on Tempranillo grapes, choosing not to grow some of Oregon's more classic varietals.

According to Jones, it worked.

These days, Abacela is often receiving awards for their unique wines. "To make something other than Pinot Noir, and be recognized as a winery here in the state, that's pretty satisfying," he said.

Winemaker Andrew Wenzl says the area is in a perfect climate for the international wines Abacela specializes in. "We can get a longer hang time, so you can get a longer flavor development without excessive sugars or excessive alcohols that come with that," he said.

That's what Wenzl and Jones say makes their award winning wines.

Jones says that the recognition isn't just good for Abacela. He believes that this will help to put all Umpqua Valley wineries on the map.