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Oregon Wine Harvest Winds Down

by Lisa Shara Hall
October 10, 2012

Oregon’s wine industry is headed down the home stretch to what some are calling an epic harvest that could lead to one of the best vintages in the history of the 60-year-old region.

“This harvest has been amazing,” said Jesse Lange of Lange Estate Winery in Dundee, who described himself as downright giddy. “Epic is the word I used earlier to describe this coming vintage and it’s turning out to be accurate.”

The Oregon industry has experienced one of its driest harvest seasons on record, as much of the state has had only traces of precipitation since early July. The long dry spell has featured warmer than normal temperatures in most parts of the state while evenings have remained cool.

Most people are trying to pull in the grapes before the rains start in earnest this Friday.

But David Adelsheim from Adelsheim Vineyards said, “We have 75 percent of the harvest in the winery now. But the highest elevation vineyards (Pinot Blanc and some Pinot Noir) that could use some time and water will stay out.”

Sam Tannahill or A to Z and REX HILL in Newberg said the 2012 vintage is coming in beautifully with both high sugars and high acidity. “Quality is very, very high. The cool nights have absolutely saved the acidity.”

Robert Morus of Phelps Creek Winery near Hood River called the vintage “stunning.” He added that the grapes in the Columbia Gorge are showing perfect balance of ripeness, Ph and acidity.

Chris Martin at Troon Vineyards in the Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon said, “We have 80 percent of fruit in the winery. The only varieties left out are the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cabernet Franc. This is the best vintage in at least 5 years. It has been a dream vintage for our growers and pickers. The quality is off the charts. We have had no precipitation for 90 days. It is very exciting.” Martin said in September he had to slow the vintage down as the temperatures were high; he turned on the irrigation to slow it down and it worked. He is very happy with the fruit that has come into the winery, as are most of the state’s vintners.

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