It’s nearly harvest time for Willamette Valley vineyards

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Vintners say whether 2019 will be a 'good year' remains to be seen

DUNDEE, Ore. (KOIN) — Harvest season is nearly upon the wine grape growers of Oregon.

Vinters in the Willamette Valley area told KOIN 6 News harvest-time, which will take place in about 2 weeks, is earlier than it used to be just a decade ago because the summers have gotten a lot warmer.

But whether-or-not 2019 is a “good year” remains to be seen.

“Good year, bad year — don’t know yet,” said Laurent Montalieu with NW Wine Company. “We don’t know yet because the most important time is between now and harvest in about 10 days. We expect dry conditions and we hope there is no rain.”

Growers are happy to have missed the rain the Portland area received Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Moisture isn’t good for the thin-skinned grapes at this stage in their development because they’re vulnerable to disease.

Once harvest season starts, it will last for about 4 to 5 weeks. The juice inside the fruit will take another couple of years — at least — to age into fine wine.

Oregon is the 3rd-largest wine grape producer in the United States behind California and Washington. There are more than 760 wineries in the state — and growing.

“Oregon wine makes up 1.5% of domestic production,” said Sally Murdoch with the Oregon Wine Board. “We’re pretty tiny in the big sea of winemaking but we get about 20% of the top awards for wine.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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