Sweet Surprise

JosephJane Winery earns top honor at Greatest of the Grape

Leon and Kayla Glaser, owners of JosephJane Winery, walking in the vineyard. ## Photo provided
JosephJane Winery’s 2023 Nouveau earned the distinction of being the first rosé wine to earn the “Greatest of the Grape” award at the celebrated Umpqua Valley event. ## Photo provided
Aerial view of JosephJane Winery. ## Photo provided
Enjoy a bottle of JosephJane Winery’s Muscat under their patio sunsails. 
 ## Photo provided

By Becky Garrison

This winter, JosephJane Winery’s 2023 Nouveau earned the distinction of being the first rosé wine to earn the “Greatest of the Grape” award during the event’s 52-year history. After more than 500 guests sampled 40 local submissions, they broke from tradition and voted it the best overall Umpqua Valley wine.

Leon and Kayla Glaser have participated in the regional wine event every year since opening their family-owned winery in 2018. Reflecting on their win, Leon commented, “To know our Nouveau was the first rosé wine to win the Greatest of the Grape, which has been going on for over 50 years, really says a great deal about how people’s palates are changing.”

JosephJanes Winery’s wine reflects this shift in consumer tastes. While Leon and Kayla prefer drier wines, their customers are drawn to sweeter versions. “We offer a Beaujolais Nouveau-style wine as well as several sweet wines, unusual for this region. Most area wineries do not offer a broad selection of sweeter wines. Yet, this is often where newbie wine drinkers start,” Kayla reflects.

The birth of JosephJane Winery (the couple’s middle names) dates from 2010, when Leon worked as winemaker and distiller at his parents’ Glaser Estate Winery and Distillery in Roseburg. In 2016, after the family business was sold, Leon and Kayla decided to make their dream of making wine a reality.

Kayla explains, “We wanted to build a family-owned boutique winery from the ground up. Once we found the perfect location, four acres in Roseburg, we broke ground on the tasting room and wine production building in 2017 and officially opened to the public the following March.”

When asked if Leon intends to continue as a distiller at their new winery, Kayla points to the difficulties inherent in establishing a commercial distillery. “While making wine and distilling with Glaser Estate, Leon experienced the burden of costly taxes. The state and federal tax percentage make it difficult for a small distillery to stay profitable. For this reason, we have no plans to expand into distilling at our winery.”

Currently, their vineyard includes a half-acre of Pinot Noir, chosen for its versatility. “Also, we are well suited to grow the variety,” Leon proclaims. For the first two harvests, they made Tay’s Rosé, named after their middle child, Taylor Rose Glaser.

The small town affords them both the challenges and opportunities as small business owners. While Umpqua Valley is an amazing location to grow grapes, they also buy fruit, including Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Riesling, from the Rogue Valley and other regions.

Since opening, the Glasers have expanded their wine selections, now producing 15 different varieties. Their tasting room samples vary and have included Viognier, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Syrah, Chardonnay, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. They supply a wide range of wines to ensure something for everyone. JosephJane’s whimsical, playful wine labels educate those new to the world of wine.

The Glasers initial vision incorporated pizzas with Leon maintaining the wood-fired oven. Each house-made crust becomes the foundation for a different pizza: margherita, pesto mushroom, pepperoni and a weekly special featuring local, seasonal ingredients.

Kayla captures the winery atmosphere they’ve worked hard to create. “Walking in, you can choose a traditional wine-tasting experience at the bar or enjoy a flight brought to your table. Savor our wood-fired pizza and handcrafted wine slushies (non-alcoholic versions are also available) or enjoy a local beer or cider on tap. Bands play live music every Sunday afternoon and, during the summer, on Friday evenings. When temperatures dip, we have abundant indoor seating along with a large shaded patio with fire pits and space heaters.”

In addition to local music, the winery often hosts sip and paint events, cooking demonstrations and comedy nights. With their dog and family-friendly focus, they feature lawn games, sidewalk chalk, high chairs and a changing table in the bathroom.

JosephJane Winery currently employs six part-time employees, but, as their three children age, Leon and Kayla look forward to how they might choose to be involved in the family business.

JosephJane Winery
155 Lower Garden Valley Rd., Roseburg 
Open Fridays 2-7 p.m. and weekends noon-6 p.m.

Becky Garrison is a freelance writer based in Portland. Her wine-related writing includes pieces for SIP, Northwest Travel & Life, The Grapevine Magazine, and Spirituality & Health. Follow her travels on Instagram @Becky_Garrison. 

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