ROSEBURG, Ore. — Leon Glaser learned about winemaking and about the industry while working for his family’s vineyard and winery business.
When that business, Glaser Estate Winery, was sold in September 2016, Glaser was only 28 years old, but he had the confidence and experience to venture out on his own.
Two months after that sale, Leon and his soon-to-be wife, Kayla, purchased 4.3 acres of ground that had previously been a hay field with a good dose of wild blackberries.
“I didn’t want a fixer-upper property with issues we had to deal with,” Glaser said. “I wanted to start from scratch.”
The land was cleared and a winery and tasting room with inside and outside seating were constructed.
“From my experience at the previous winery, I had an idea about what did work and what didn’t work in the design and layout of the winery and tasting room,” Glaser said.
When construction was complete, the JosephJane Winery in the Garden Valley area a few miles northwest of Roseburg was opened by the young couple in 2017. Joseph and Jane are the middle names of the two owners, who are both now 31 years old.
Leon Glaser is in his 10th year of commercial wine making. He learned the details of that profession by doing some internships at different wineries and by working at his family’s winery. He also learned from his mother, Sandra Glaser, who was one of the first students to attend classes and graduate from the viticulture program at Umpqua Community College.
“We cross taught each other,” Leon Glaser said of the mother and son sharing information. “I am comfortable making quite a few different styles of wine.”
The business plan for the JosephJane Winery is to purchase grapes from Southern Oregon growers to make wine for the JosephJane label and to custom crush and make wine for growers. Leon Glaser said his goal is to annually make 600 to 800 cases of wine for his own label and to custom crush 100 tons of grapes for other labels. He said significant progress has been made to meet those goals.
“We make sure we have a full menu of wines, from dry to sweet,” he said of the JosephJane label. “Whatever wine you like to drink we’ll have one or two wines that you will prefer.”
Glaser said being a good winemaker involves organization, cleanliness and “doing everything with the grapes and with the wine making when it needs to be done.”
“I’m also flexible with trying new techniques and styles,” he added.
While Glaser works full-time with the winery, Kayla Glaser is a full-time nurse in the day surgery department at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg. But she does find time to manage the JosephJane wine club and social media, to do the business’ bookkeeping and to help in the tasting room.
While wine is their specialty, the Glasers also offer six local beers on tap in their tasting room and they finished constructing a wood fired pizza oven in July.
“I’m really happy with our current sales,” Leon Glaser said. “Ninety to 95 percent of our sales are through the tasting room. It’s nice to be able to tell our story directly to consumers. When people come in, they know I’m behind the bar or within 50 steps of the room and that I’m available to answer their questions.”