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Umpqua Valley Wines No Longer a Little Player on International Stage

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6 Nations Challenge: Umpqua Valley’s Reustle – Prayer Rock Vineyards Wins Best Syrah of the New World

Stephen M Reustle (left) accepting the Trophy for best Syrah from acclaimed Australian wine judge, writer, and critic Huon Hooke in Sydney, Australia.
Stephen M Reustle (left) accepting the Trophy for best Syrah from acclaimed Australian wine judge, writer, and critic Huon Hooke in Sydney, Australia.

This year, it’s not Shiraz. It’s Syrah! In a stunning defeat to home-court advantage, Australia, and the five other top New World nations in winemaking today – United States, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, and South Africa – a small family-run winery from what once was a big logging community in Southern Oregon has taken the title of Best Syrah of the New World.

Reustle – Prayer Rock Vineyards, an 8,000 case/year Estate Vineyard and Winery in Roseburg, OR, was awarded the Trophy for its 2012 Syrah Masada Bloc, making it the highest-ranked Syrah in this year’s 6 Nations Wine Challenge.

Facing off against what judges selected as the best wines in the New World, Reustle not only claimed the top award for its 2012 Syrah, but also scored again tying for third place for its 2012 Syrah Reserve.

“This is the only competition in the world where the wines are individually invited by the judges and then all judged together as the best of the best in the New World of wine,” said Judith Kennedy, President of 6 Nations Wine Challenge.

Each of the six international judges could select up to 100 wines across 17 categories, to represent their country in the blind tasting competition. This year 52 wines competed in the Syrah category.

“Because the wines are all selected by each of the judges the standard of wine quality must surely be higher than any competition of this size in the world,” said New Zealand Master of Wine Bob Campbell.

Even though Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards has amassed over 460 medals, awards, and titles over the past seven years, Reustle says: “This award is by far our highest achievement – SDG.”

US Judge Dan Berger lists Oregon’s Umpqua Valley among other great cool climate regions for Syrah:  New Zealand, Northern Victoria, and Northern Rhone. “Reustle has shown exemplary consistency in a cool climate style, and it has been obvious from the start that Stephen has a very special place for Syrah (and other cool climate varieties).”

It happened 40 years ago!

Reminiscent of the historical “Paris Wine Tasting of 1976,” when then-unknown Napa Valley entered a blind tasting against the French and won, Reustle – Prayer Rock Vineyards Owner/Winemaker, Stephen Reustle, believes this win foreshadows Oregon’s Umpqua Valley playing on the international stage:

“Time Magazine called it (the Paris Tasting of 1976) ‘The Tasting that Changed the Wine World.’ I think many may be surprised that Umpqua Valley landed such an international honor. But to tell you the truth, I’m not. We have an extraordinary terroir here, and can I add… people?

Can a community of people be part of a wine’s terroir?

I watch as our community comes out to pick our grapes and share in the annual harvest blessing, and I have to say, I believe so. Our wine will remain true to its place, and I think this award goes to show that even our Umpqua Valley, can change the wine world… again.”

About the winning Syrahs:

2012 Syrah Masada Bloc has also won Gold Medals from the San Diego International Wine Competition, Oregon Wine Awards, Savor Northwest, and the Wine Press NW “Best of the Best” Competition.

2012 Syrah Reserve also received Double Gold medals from Oregon Wine Awards and the Wine Press NW “Best of the Best” competition.

Reustle – Prayer Rock Vineyards, 2015 Terroir Award winner, and 2010 Small Winery of the Year as named by the esteemed Riverside International Wine Competition, is 100% estate grown and produced on 40 acres of steep, hillside vineyards in Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley.  Family owned and operated since 2001, Reustle – Prayer Rock Vineyards produces approximately 8,000 cases per year with more than a dozen different varietals, reserves, and blends. Since 2009, Reustle – Prayer Rock Vineyards has garnered over 460 of medals, awards, and titles from major international wine competitions, and has a year round Tasting Room program for the public that includes a sit-down wine and appetizer pairing in an old-world style, underground Wine Cave.

For more information about the Six Nations Challenge, visit http://boutiquewines.com.au/about-us/

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