Oregon Wine Grapes and Smoke Pt 3

Oregon Wine Grapes and Smoke Pt 3

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Wildfire smoke in September is making a difficult year even more taxing for Oregon’s wine makers. But, as grape harvest rolls on, there’s not time to dwell on it.

The Oregon Wine Boards Sally Murdoch says no one was anticipating the fires that began Labor Day Weekend …

MURDOCH … “This event was really rare, with only a handful of similar events ever in our data records. It was so many crazy things happening that caused these climactic events.”

Of the State’s 908 wineries, Murdoch says there’s a chance some may not survive …

MURDOCH … “Perhaps. It’s kind of across the board. There’s large wineries that, you know, won’t be able to make as much Pinot. Pinot Noir will definitely, there’ll be less Pinot Noir. So, the people who are growing it and the people that are making wine from it will feel some pressure. They’re leaving it on the ground, there’s still people that are deciding whether to continue making it or not. So, it’s going to be a tough year.”

But, Murdoch says there are some options …

MURDOCH … “They’ll be able to focus on white varietals quite a bit. So, with Pinot being 59%, we’ve got about 40% other grapes that many white varieties like Sparkling, Albarin ̃o, Viognier that will seize the limelight. And so, there’s 82 varieties of grapes grown in Oregon, so you can imagine people are going to, quote, roll up their sleeves and get a little creative.”

Tests are being done to try and determine to what extent, if any, the wine grapes were damaged by wildfire smoke. A cooler spring was already putting stress on production output.

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