Stephen Reustle

Given my love of motorcycles (I bought my first mini-bike with my own money at the age of 11) and adventure, my dream was to be a mechanic and own a string of gas stations.  As fate would have it, I met a girl, the valedictorian of our high school class, who encouraged me to apply myself scholastically... the result was graduating summa cum laude at Rutgers University. 
Strangely enough I was a teetotaler until the age of 23 when a partner at Arthur Andersen & Co, where I was employed as a CPA, insisted that I had to learn to drink socially if I ever wanted to get ahead in business. 
My dad, a devout beer drinker (I believe Schlitz was his brand of choice) whose hand never held a glass of wine clearly was not going to be the partner’s idea of a wine mentor. Lucky for me a neighbor, Dr. Preece, was more than willing to take on that role. Doc’s sphere of friends were at the upper ends of society... I saw pictures of him with President Eisenhower (no kidding) and other social elites... I was impressed!!!
Doc started my wine education beginning in Spain... I can still taste my first bottle of 1966 Cune Grand Reserva. This wine got my wine collecting career started... ahh the purity of old aged Tempranillo!
To my good fortune, my marketing company took off and I began to regularly dine with CEO’s and influential clients where $100+ bottles of wine were the norm... witness the birth of one’s palate. 
What was at first a perk of my business soon became a consuming passion. After selling my business, I moved my family to the West Coast to look at potential sites for a vineyard and winery. At first focusing on the Sonoma Coast... I ended up in the Umpqua Valley of Oregon.
In 2001, I purchased 200 acres in the heart of the Umpqua Valley. 40 acres of hillside (some places in excess of 35% grade) were plotted out for the vineyard. With the help of Greg Jones, Southern Oregon University Climatologist, and John Gladstone, author of Viticulture and Environment, I found 14 different varietals that would grow well at the site. One of which, Grüner Veltliner, was at the time unknown in the United States. I became the first to produce this varietal stateside with our 2005 vintage.
The love affair with Grüner Veltliner began in the 1990’s when I embarked on a motorcycle trip through the Austrian alps. It was on this trip that I first tasted the varietal... it would become my love story that would bring home Gold medals each and every year.
A self-taught winemaker, I used the first few years as the vineyard was being established to invest heavily in course materials from U.C. Davis, as well as recruiting help from top winemakers from the Willamette and Umpqua Valley. The first vintage of Reustle - Prayer Rock Vineyards wine became available in 2004, and substantial growth and accolades have followed.
In 2008, winemaking moved from our “carriage house” to a new state-of-the-art winery and cave built on the estate. Two years later, Reustle - Prayer Rock Vineyards was named 2010 Small Winery of the Year at Riverside International Wine Competition.
I and my wife Gloria and our two children live a short walk from the winery. Gloria heads up the tasting room, when not shuttling our children to soccer tournaments and volleyball games.