As every western Oregonian knows, 2011 has been a weird weather year. It stayed cloudy well into July, and didn’t really get very hot even when the sun started shining. It was one of the coolest summers in decades. And that could have an effect on the wine grown in the region.
Wine typically depends on warm weather to produce sugar, which is what yeast converts into alcohol. So if you don’t have a warm summer, you don’t have much sugar in your grape. If you don’t have much sugar in your grape, you don’t have much alcohol in your wine. But that doesn’t necessarily mean bad wine.
So what does make good wine? And how can wine growers turn a cold year into fine wine? Vineyards all over the state have begun to harvest their grapes, and we want to know: what kind of wines will they make?
Are you a vintner or a winegrower? How has the weather this year affected your business?
- Sam Tannahill: Director of winemaking and viticulture for A to Z Wineworks and Rex Hill Vineyards.
- Patty Skinkis: Viticulture Extension Specialist at the Oregon Wine Research Institute at Oregon State University.
- Orley Ashenfelter: President of the American Association of Wine Economists and economics professor at Princeton University.