On September 14, I toured my first winery (and at that point our newest client) Abacela and learned the importance of a first visit. From the introductions to soaking in new landscapes, and the actual "work", to ending the day with a ride through the vineyards in owner, Earl Jones’ Jeep Cherokee, it was an amazing experience.
We began with a tour of the grounds, first internally and then the vineyards. The tasting room features a large round tasting bar with an incredible open view of the vineyard and a private tasting room highlighting modern yellow chairs -- Abacela's signature color. (They use yellow foil or screw caps on all wine bottles, so these chairs are a very nice touch.
For our next stop, we were given a very descriptive tour of the winemaking process performed at Abacela. Their method of transporting grapes by gravity flow is both time consuming and labor intensive but this method has proven to be more gentler on the grapes and wine.
Earl recalled his garage reconstruction project that would allow space for a gravity flow system – a project that left many skeptical but he managed to pull it off.
After getting down to talking business, we ventured to the vines. The stones leading from the winery to the vineyard map out the varied geologies that make up Abacela’s vineyard. This 76-acre property on the southern tip of the Umpqua Valley,houses many different geological varieties:
- Dothan formation;
- Turbidite sandstone;
- Mudstone Matrix Melange;
- Fluvial deposits;
- Bushnell Rock;
- Siletz River Volcanics; and
- Submarine basalt
Three mountain ranges, the Klamath Mountains; the Coastal Range; and the Cascades, meet beneath Abacela’s vineyard, allowing them the ideal climates for their internationally acclaimed Tempranillo, Rhone and other Spanish varietals.
Another unique aspect of the Abacela vineyard is the trellis for the vines. Earl’s layout of his vines includes an additional post on the end of each trellis, quite uncommon on most vineyards. This additional post prevents tractors from running into the vines and protects the wires on the trellis.
A few grapes were tasted and the tour was complete.
So as I learned, the purpose of a first visit is to show our commitment to and learn as much as possible. For me, the best part of a first visit is seeing our clients in action on their “home turf.”