Southern Oregon, Umpqua Valley wine industry continues to gain momentum

(SBG photo)

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards in Roseburg has another reason to pop corks these days.

One of their wines won the "Best of the Best" out of 660 wines in the Pacific Northwest and they're crediting the Umpqua Valley with a huge part of their success.

"The folks here are good, hardworking folks, so a combination of water, soils, the weather...everything is just perfect," said Reustle Vineyards owner Stephen Reustle.

With the wine industry in southern Oregon gaining popularity, more people are spending money in the region.

According to a 2015 study by Full Glass Research, southern Oregon wine-related tourism was responsible for over $110 million in revenue.

"More and more tourists come to the area looking for winery-related adventures and tourism," said Andy Swan with the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at Umpqua Community College. "It drives the development of additional vineyards and wineries in the region."

And it's creating jobs; in 2013, the same study found 2,000 people were employed by the wine industry in southern Oregon.

"Employment has, at least with us, increased every year," Reustle said.

And it's not just the wineries feeling the surge in business.

According to Reustle, "Us bringing people, tourists in. and then staying in our hotels. going to our fine restaurants and those sorts of things, that's a multiplier effect that affects the whole community."

And like a fine wine, vineyards hope the benefits to the Umpqua Valley will just get better and better as time goes on.

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