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Rhone Rangers Honor Gary Eberle

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TASTE News Service, August 12, 2021– The national Rhone Rangers organization will present its sixth Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday, August 19, 2021, to recognize the significant contributions made by an individual to the American Rhone wine movement.

This year’s award will be given to Gary Eberle, founder and owner of Eberle Winery. Honoring Eberle on behalf of the Rhone Rangers will be guest moderator and journalist Matt Kettmann, and special guests Jason Haas of Tablas Creek Vineyard and Jerry Lohr of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines.

Gary Eberle winery PicmonkeyGary Eberle., pioneer of Rhone varietals

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and standout football player for Penn State, Gary Eberle had an extraordinary academic career that includes an undergraduate degree in Biology from Penn State, graduate work in cellular genetics and a Master of Science Invertebrate Zoology at Louisiana State University, and a National Science Fellowship with Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was in New Orleans that Eberle was introduced to wine, setting the course for his Ph.D. in Enology and Viticulture from U.C. Davis in California.

One of the original co-founders of the Estrella River Winery, Eberle settled in Paso Robles, California in the early-1970’s. He has the first documented planting of Syrah in the state of California in 1975, along with the first commercially produced 100% Syrah wine in 1978. "Gary Eberle is known as the Godfather of Paso Robles for his pioneering work here. But he should be equally famous for his early championing of Syrah, and for the sourcing and propagation of the clone now dominant throughout California," stated Haas. In the late-70’s, Eberle founded Eberle Winery, with a focus on the crafting of premium, small production lots of wine. In addition to the acclaimed Steinbeck Vineyard Syrah, Eberle Winery has an extensive Rhone wine portfolio, including a Viognier, white-Rhone blend, Côtes-du-Rôbles Blanc, a Grenache-based Côtes-du-Rôbles Rosé, and Côtes-du-Rôbles Rouge blend.

“U.C. Davis was where my love of Rhône varietals all started. I met Brian Crozier who introduced me to Shiraz. I was immediately fascinated by this varietal, and its ability to be produced all around the world. I noticed that it had not yet been produced in the U.S. and I made it my quest to establish Syrah in Paso Robles,” Gary Eberle said, adding, “Introducing and propagating Syrah in the US is still one of my proudest accomplishments, and it has been rewarding to see what other wineries have done not only Syrah, but also my other favorite Rhone’s - Viognier, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. I am honored to be recognized by the Rhone Rangers and I will cherish this award forever.”

Past Rhone Rangers Lifetime Achievement honors have been awarded to notable Rhone wine luminaries, including Randall Grahm, Bonny Doon Vineyard (2013), Robert Haas, Tablas Creek Vineyard (2014), Robert “Bob” Lindquist, Qupé/Lindquist Family Wines (2015), Bill Easton, Terre Rouge (2016), and Sondra Bernstein, the girl and the fig (2017).

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Gary Eberle on Thursday, August 19, 2021, at 5pm PST during a virtual event which may be viewed on Facebook Live @rhonerangers or via Zoom. For additional details and to RSVP for the Zoom session, visit www.rhonerangers.org.

About the Rhone Rangerswww.rhonerangers.org

Founded in 1998, the Rhone Rangers are a group of 100+ wineries throughout the United States dedicated to making wines from the 22 grape varieties originally made famous in France’s Rhône Valley. These varieties range from the better-known Syrah and Viognier to the up-and-coming Mourvèdre, Grenache and Roussanne, and obscure grapes like Counoise and Picpoul.

The Rhone Rangers started from a small gathering of American vintners who began meeting informally in the 1980s. As their numbers expanded, the non-profit organized under the name “Rhone Rangers,” with a focus on promoting the enjoyment of Rhône varietal wines produced in the United States. These grapes include the 22 traditional varieties approved by the French government for the Côtes du Rhône, as well as Durif (Petite Sirah). In order for a winery to join the Rhone Rangers, they must produce at least one wine that contains 75% of any single approved varietal (or combination of these varieties).

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