I love touring our Oregon wineries, not only because I like tasting the wines but also because I like exploring the back roads and out-of-the way areas where they are located. Over the years, we’ve seen much of western Oregon this way, even the more widely visited wineries outside of our major towns (Portland, Salem, and Eugene) are usually on rural back roads. One time, many years ago, while doing our Thanksgiving weekend wine tour west of Salem we even saw a tree farm harvesting Christmas trees via helicopter!
This year, we explored the back roads northwest of Roseburg, visiting just three of their many wineries. Our first two – Glaser Estate and Becker – were small “mom and pop” wineries, with limited (if any) staff. Our third winery was very different, yet this wasn’t clear as we turned off Garden Valley Road and drove over half a mile through oak woodlands. We crested a hill and were rewarded with a view of the Reustle — Prayer Rock Vineyards, a patchwork of color signaling the different types of grapes growing in rows down the hillside. Driving down the hill into the parking lot, we could see that this winery was very different from the others we had visited that day – the gardens around the tasting room were manicured and polished, the formal pathway lined with twinkle lights.
Tasting at Ruestle happens in the “wine cave” and catacomb tasting rooms. Each tasting was paired with food designed to complement the wine. Our wine pourer was knowledgeable and happy to discuss the nuances of the wines with us. The experience was refined, and at the same time, friendly and relaxed.
Visiting Ruestle Winery was the foundation for our wine trip to this area as I had noticed them mentioned several times in Sunset Magazine’s International Wine Competition. We’ve been to many Oregon wineries over the years, with many, varied experiences. Our experience at Ruestle was unique, which made it all the more enjoyable. Sitting within the wine cave, drinking their extraordinary wines, was an elegant experience. Their grounds were beautiful, and like the wine tasting, every detailed appeared to be well thought out and considered. We came home with several bottles of wine and I look forward to going back on a “regular” day to see how the Thanksgiving event compares to their more normal wine tasting experience.
For directions to Reustle — Prayer Rock Vineyard Winery, please see their website: http://www.reustlevineyards.com/contact.htm