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Wine Industry Predicting 'Miracle' Harvest

OPB | Nov. 6, 2011 9:20 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:03 a.m. | Portland, OR

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Oregon’s wine industry is using words like “miracle” to describe this year’s grape harvest. That’s quite a change from a month ago, when experts worried that the wet, chilly summer could spell trouble for Oregon’s two and a $500 million wine industry.

A spell of mild and sunny weather and some smart farming are credited with turning the harvest around. Growers say the cool summer made the grapes develop much more slowly than usual, and caused a really late harvest that’s just now finishing. But Charles Humble with the Oregon Wine Board says this year is poised to break the harvest record set in 2009 of more than 40-thousand tons.

“We think we will at least slightly succeed that. So, the harvest this year should come in somewhere between 41-thousand and 45-thousand tons. That’ll easily surpass last year, which was about 31,000 tons – but that was down about 22 percent from the previous year,” Humble said.

The question of how good the wine will be won’t be answered for months. But wine producers are optimistic.

David Adelsheim runs Adelsheim Vineyard.

“A difficult vintage does not mean a disastrous set of wines,” Adelsheim said.

“It means perhaps more work in the winery and in the vineyard. It means trying to clearly envision what we want the wines to be, and how we can get them there. It means employing tools that we might otherwise need to employ. But it doesn’t mean heroic measures.”

Adelsheim says he had to harvest his vineyards in two stages, and so far he’s predicting some outstanding wine.

He says he’ll know more about the quality of the wine, as it ages in barrels and bottles, over the months to come.

Related stories:

Oregon’s Wine Industry Predicting Record Crop

Debate On Wine Season Continues

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