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World-Renowned Viticulturist and Educator, Dr. Greg Jones Becomes CEO at Abacela, His Family Winery in Oregon

Posted on July 25, 2021
Dr Greg Jones, photo by Andréa Johnson

(Roseburg, Oregon)  — Founders Earl and Hilda Jones and Abacela’s Board of Directors announce the appointment of Dr. Greg Jones as CEO of Abacela in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley. Dr Greg Jones is the son of Earl and Hilda Jones, and the new role allows the 26-year-old family-owned winery to make the generational change that will lead Abacela into the future.

A world-renowned atmospheric scientist and viticultural climatologist, for the past 25 years, Dr. Jones held research and teaching positions at Southern Oregon University and most recently, Linfield University. For more than twenty years, Dr. Jones' research has firmly linked climate change to fundamental biological phenomena in vines. His groundbreaking work has influenced the wine industry across the globe. Dr. Jones also has lifelong ties to the Oregon wine community, most closely with his family winery and vineyards at Abacela. 

Located in the Southern Oregon Umpqua Valley appellation, Abacela was founded in 1994 by Earl and Hilda Jones. The estate comprises 463 acres of rolling Oak savannah, with 76 planted to vines, and monitored with three weather stations, 24 individual temperature sensors, and 40 soil moisture probes. Abacela was a charter member of the Carbon Neutral Challenge, and the family has dedicated 300 acres to wildlife conservation and habitat.

“We have full confidence in Greg’s ability to move Abacela forward with the core values that we established through honoring our customers and employees, our environmental stewardship, and building strong communities, " said Hilda Jones.?

“This transition fulfills a long-term objective of family succession,” said Earl Jones. “Greg has distinguished himself regionally, nationally, and internationally as a scientist and educator,” he continued. “He is a dynamic leader with creative energy, who understands the local, regional and global wine industries, which makes him uniquely suited to carry on our family business.”

Abacela holds a prominent place in American wine history. After identifying the “Climatic Quality Factor” for Tempranillo, the world’s fourth most planted wine grape, Earl, and Hilda Jones site-climate matched, grew, and produced America’s first internationally acclaimed Tempranillo wine. Early success with Tempranillo encouraged them to trial site-climate matching other varieties that are now gaining in prominence: Albariño, Tannat, Tinta Amarela, Touriga Nacional, Graciano, Bastardo (Trousseau), and others. Their pioneering spirit also enabled them to also be among the first in Oregon to bottle 100% varietal Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Malbec, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Viognier, and Dolcetto.

Dr. Jones’ groundbreaking research in Bordeaux during his PhD noted that grapevine phenology was occurring earlier and earlier over the preceding century, influencing fruit chemistry and ultimately wine quality. Through subsequent climate change research in the Douro Valley of Portugal, his longtime support of the Oregon wine industry, and ongoing research in the field, have earned him notoriety and international esteem. His monthly climate reports, started 21 years ago, are read by scientists and viticulturalists the world over. He has consulted with wineries and wine organizations in Europe, Australia, South Africa, South America, and across the United States. He has worked with Wineries for Climate Change, the Catena Institute, the Porto Protocol, and many others. 

“Abacela was born out of Earl and Hilda’s passion, but also rooted in science, where research has informed the decisions on where and what varieties to plant and how to best manage them to produce high quality wines,” said Dr. Jones. “I am proud to come to Abacela to continue the pursuit of science and quality wine production that has been in place for the last 26 years.”

Abacela provides visitors with educational opportunities through winegrowing walks and vineyard tours, as well as a strong hospitality experience set against the backdrop of panoramic vineyards. The tasting room has a geothermal system to heat and cool the building, reducing the winery’s carbon footprint.

Dr. Jones joins Gavin Joll, Abacela’s General Manager, and the vineyard and winemaking team in leading one of Oregon’s most popular wineries into the future. 


Abacela sits on 463 acres of south-sloping oak savannah in Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, purchased by the Jones family 29 years ago. Founded in 1994 by Earl and Hilda Jones, who began planting in 1995, the estate vineyards now total 76 acres and produce more than 12,000 cases annually. All five children, Greg, Laronda, Tamara, Hanna and Meredith have been actively involved in the family’s wine business since the land was purchased and they now sit on Abacela’s Board of Directors. Today, the estate winery is known for its critically acclaimed, world-class wines, and has been recognized by Wine Business Monthly as a Top Ten Hot Small Brand in America, as the Oregon Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest, and as a finalist for Wine Enthusiast's American Winery of the year. In addition, Earl and Hilda were honored by the Oregon wine industry with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Region: Oregon
Job Function: President/Owner/GM

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