Summer brings a colorful tranquility to the Umpqua Valley, which has seen some wineries open, expand and, in one case, rebound from catastrophe.
Story by Nancy Rodriguez, Photo above by Tim Stephanos
Spire Mountain Cellars
774 Hidden Meadows Ln, Oakland
The scenery at Spire Mountain is inspiring, the vineyard visible beneath a canopy of bright, blue sky that has revealed itself from above billowy, white clouds.
Wooden sliding doors open to reveal the renovated interior of an old barn that has been converted to a 4,000-square-foot event center with a view of the winery’s original Iron Wheel vineyard, planted in pinot noir.
The winery had its grand opening on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Adding to the celebration was a silver medal awarded to Spire Mountain’s 2014 Tempranillo at the 48th Annual Greatest of the Grape.
Spire Mountain Cellars is a family business. Owners Kevin and Karen Kohlman have made their own legacy in the foothills of Tyee Mountain. The Kohlman home is the former Cole homestead, originally settled in 1903. In pursuing their winemaking dream, the Kohlmans left Southern California, purchased property on Hidden Meadows Lane in 1999 and planted a vineyard. Since then, they have gone from selling grapes to making their own wine, which is produced by Southern Oregon Wine Institute at Umpqua Community College.
Director of events and tasting room operations is daughter-in- law Megan Kohlman, who embodies the winery’s welcoming warmth. Her contributions have included putting vines in the ground, wine in the bottle and everything between. Plans for the tasting room and events have expanded and will continue to create a customer experience that encompasses all the winery has to offer.
155 Lower Garden Valley Road, Roseburg
The JosephJane Winery was established in 2017 by owners Leon and Kayla Glaser.
The winery and tasting room are crafted with a meticulous detail also seen in JosephJane’s winemaking. The grapes are sourced from the Umpqua and surrounding regions.
The setting on Lower Garden Valley Road reflects the ongoing legacy of renewal, with not only the onset of summer but in building on the past to bottle a new vintage of Glaser wines.
Within a year of selling the Glaser Estate Winery, which was operated by Leon and his mother Sandy, he and Kayla broke ground on their new location, started making wine and built the tasting room.
Summer plans include events at the winery that will help promote other local businesses and continue the couple’s tradition of community service.
325 2nd Street, Elkton
Lexeme is a new winery in the Elkton American Viticultural Area. Its name is derived from the French, a play on the phrase “root of the vines.”
Owners Monja Hudson-Desmeules and Christopher Hudson bring a blend of cultures and winemaking styles from diverse parts of the world.
Monja is from Switzerland, Christopher from Eastern Oregon. Their wine features the varietals that have come to define the Umpqua Valley. Each of the partners brings an individual style that complements the other and a respect that is revealed in the wine.
“The wine tells it all,” Hudson says.
The couple crossed paths when both worked at King Estate Winery and discovered a shared passion for making straightforward, exceptional wine. They have since built a house on their property in Elkton, started a family and planted a vineyard with a view of the Umpqua River.
The winery bottles its product under two brands, “Lexeme” and “Louloute,” the latter an introductory label.
Lexeme’s tasting room opened in October 2017. Flights include tastes of the winery’s viognier, pinot noir and a cabernet-malbec red blend.
Falk Estate Vineyard
551 Falk Estates Lane, Canyonville
In December 2017, the grand opening of the Falk Estate tasting room in Canyonville was celebrated in the Falk family’s home of 30 years. Little more than a month later, fire destroyed both the home and tasting room.
Determined to rebuild, Canyonville native Greg Falk and his daughter, Tessa, managed to salvage an estimated 90 percent of their wine.
The vineyard planted in 2014 is nine acres of nine varietals. As in medicine, Falk says, there is always something new to learn about winemaking. Tessa is a teacher and inherited her father’s love of learning. She has followed him into the vineyard. So has Brodie Goldbeck, Tessa’s fiancé.
The Falk Estate has produced an impressive range of varietals, and its red blend, Le Mardon, named in honor of the Falk matriarch, testifies to the importance the Falks place on family.
As they recover from the shock of the Jan. 31 fire, the Falks are confident they can rebuild. As Tessa says, “There is magic in this place and it will come again.”