1. “Giddy” Oregon winemakers headed for epic 2012 vintage

    OWB Blog (Oct 10 2012)

    1. “Giddy” Oregon winemakers headed for epic 2012 vintage

      By OWB Staff


      PORTLAND – Oct. 10, 2012 -- Oregon’s burgeoning 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 50-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 season 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.


      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. Even as harvest moves into full gear in much of the state, flavor development is continuing due to prolonged hang time.


      “It’s very exciting to have such a warm, dry vintage,” said Herb Quady of Troon Vineyards and Quady North. He said harvest in his area of Southern Oregon is approaching two-thirds complete. “We’re expecting some very ripe, very rich wines. This has been a fantastic year for Zinfandel . . . maybe the best in the 20 years I’ve been here.”


      The forecast for the remainder of October points to the likelihood of warmer and drier than normal conditions across the state and the Northwest.


      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.”


      It is likely to be a year where quality trumps quantity. Coming off 2011’s record Oregon wine grape harvest of 41,500 tons, the 2012 crop is expected to be somewhat smaller. But, the quality of the fruit is considered by most to be in the top echelon of harvests ever.


      Jerry Murray of Van Duzer Winery said he’s leaning to wines that more closely resemble 2002. “We could end up with wines equally suitable for both aging and early consumption,” he said. “Voluptuous, curvy, but still balanced, fresh and elegant. These wines will wear dresses, but in bigger sizes.”

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