Oregon Wine Grapes and Smoke Pt 2

Oregon Wine Grapes and Smoke Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. On top of everything else 2020 has seemingly thrown our way, Oregon’s wine industry was dealt a heavy blow last month in the form of smoke from wildfires.

In a “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” stance, Sally Murdoch, with the Oregon Wine Board, says there may be a silver lining …

MURDOCH … “The bright spot, so we’ve got a couple of cool things going on in response to the wildfires, besides the Eagle Creek Fire in the Gorge in 2017, we haven’t had fire on our soil ever, basically.”

This, Murdoch says is an opportunity …

MURDOCH … “So, now for the first time, well the second time, we’re seeing what the impact will be and we don’t have any benchmarks in place. We have some benchmarks for as far as what the guaiacol levels are, but we’ve spent about $40,000, the Oregon Wine Board did, to gather the samples from around the state and really benchmark where we’re at with smoke quality levels and what the impacts will be in Oregon.”

So, while it’s not ideal, Murdoch says we’re on it …

MURDOCH … “So, that’s been a positive thing coming from that and trying to get ahead of it this year and say ‘okay, what does it taste like? What are the phenolic compounds doing there’ and really benchmark it.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on the lessons September’s wildfires can teach us and what it may mean for Oregon’s 2020 vintages.

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