Vineyard update: Hopeful harvest

October 2012 Posted in Food & Drink

The warm last days of an Indian summer have given local wine growers a case of optimism about this year’s harvest, despite some new challenges.

Silver Falls Vineyard

4972 Cascade Highway, Sublimity

Last month was full of fun, as we enjoyed the last few weddings of the season and the beginning of harvest! We also enjoyed our first Girls Night Grape and Cakes Tasting Oct. 11th featuring Pixie Palace Bakery and 10 other merchants, drawings, cupcakes, makeovers and of course… wine tasting!

Harvest, however, dominated our thoughts. Worry matched with hopeful anticipation  of what this Indian Summer would develop in the vineyard. While the heat was great, we experienced fruit dehydration rarely observed in our near-40-year-old vines. We kept our senses and lab equipment focused on the fruits’ sugar, acid, PH, and taste to determine the optimal harvest days. As different varietals ripen at different times, picking is spread over several weeks – beginning with early ripening grapes (i.e, Marechal Foch, Muscat) and finishing with later ripening varietals (i.e., Chardonnay and Riesling).

Got oysters? SFV will pour estate wines at the oyster culinary competition at the Oregon Coast Aquarium Nov. 3, an gala event set against tanks of gorgeous sea life.

– Duane Defrees

Forest Edge Vineyard
15640 South Spangler Road,  Oregon City

Harvest time is here. At Forest Edge Vineyard we picked Leon Millot on Sept. 29. Fruit was gorgeous blue black color with great flavor, and it’s now happily fermenting in tanks. Next to be harvested will be the Chardonnay, sometime in mid-October, followed by Pinot Noir.

So far, bird pressure has been light, but we are putting bird scare practices in place: netting the Pinot Noir,  bird distress calls in the Chardonnay and the ever-popular ‘farmer walk around the vineyard making noise’ strategy.  The Tasting Room is open on the weekends, come taste and watch the harvest scene.  See us Nov. 10 at the Northwest Food and Wine Festival in Portland.

– Jan Wallinder

Vitis Ridge Winery
990 N First, Silverton

It’s a welcome change to be harvesting by the end of September. We picked the first of our Pinot Gris on the 29th; two weeks earlier than last year.

The crop is looking good, however,  cluster weights are lighter than what we’d hoped. We’ll be harvesting over the next couple of weeks and are so thankful for the continued warm, dry weather, plus fewer birds than expected. By the time this goes to print, we’ll have brought in approximately 53 ton of fruit to the winery from local vineyards and from Gilbert Vineyards, up in Central Washington, our source for the majority of our reds. We’ll be busy destemming, crushing and fermenting. Vitis Ridge Winery is open Wed-Sun, 12-5, but if you see the doors open and a lot of activity, you’re welcome to stop in and take a look.

– Chris Deckelmann

Hanson Vineyards
34948 S Barlow Road, Monitor

It’s just been a tremendous fall at Hanson Vineyards in Monitor.  We haven’t had such a beautiful crop since 2006.  We started picking the first of October… beautiful, ripe grapes from our satellite vineyard near Yoder.  For the past few seasons, we picked our grapes because conditions forced our hand… bad weather, bird pressure or crop deterioration.  2012, however, is turning out to be just about as perfect as we could hope.

The good weather is allowing us to keep one of our family traditions alive: because we can spread out the picking, every grape of Hanson Vineyards wine will be picked by a Hanson!  When we finish picking by the end of the month, our three-person team will have brought in 6 to 7 tons of grapes.

– Jason Hanson

St. Josef’s Winery

28836 S Barlow Road, Canby

Founders Josef and Lilli are going on the trip of a lifetime next September:  a scenic seven-day tour on a first class boat through Hungary, Austria and Germany.  We have some fun planned for this fall, too:  the public is welcome to join us for cheese making classes, taught by Charlotte Smith from Champoeg Creamery.  Space is limited!

We have several new wines now available in the tasting room:  l ight, bright 2011 Pinot Gris; a deep, rich and smooth 2010 Merlot; and a dark and plummy 2010 Cabernet.

– Carl McKnight

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