Stephen and Gloria Reustle moved to California from the greater New York city area to spend a year exploring wine regions that could grow world-class wine. Focusing first on the Sonoma Coast. In 2001, Stephen ended up purchasing 200 acres in the Umpqua Valley of Oregon for its climate, right soils, water access, and steep south-facing slopes... at first sight, it reminded him of the Burgundian hillsides in France.
Winemaking began in 2004 using only fruit grown from the estate. At first, winemaking began in the "carriage house" aka three-car garage. But soon the operation grew to need its own facility and in 2008 the new winery and wine cave were built. All of the hard work and expense paid off big in 2010 when the Riverside International Wine Competition recognized Reustle – Prayer Rock Vineyards as their 2010 Small Winery of the Year. This achievement was due to the diversity of wines entered into the competition, 9 of which received silver or better, and three awarded the highest medal of honor “Chairman's Gold”.