Oregon Vintage 2008 Kicks Into High Gear

Oregon’s 2008 grape harvest is now in full swing as growers try to beat the sure to come rains and the already arrived birds. The week started with about 30% of the fruit in the valley picked and by the end of this week a majority of the vineyards will be harvested. At this point, the birds may be the biggest threat as massive flocks can devastate a vineyard in a day. In my opinion, this will be a very good vintage for those that did not harvest too early as the grapes have been gaining flavor, if not much sugar, over the last week of lovely, dry and cool, but sunny weather. With showers due later in the week and the migratory birds already arrived, most growers are harvesting as fast as they can at this point. Pinot noir from good sites is coming in fully ripe with good flavors and lab statistics that promise some exciting wines. For the second year in a row, Mother Nature is forcing Oregon’s winemakers to back away from the excessive extract and alcohols too many had started to strive for as they sought high scores from wine writers. The 2008’s should show good balance in an elegant style with moderate alcohols, which, after all, is why people came to Oregon to grow pinot noir in the first place.

Pictured above, winemaking and vineyard consultant Tony Rynders, formerly of Domaine Serene, takes pinot noir samples for analysis from Elvenglade Vineyards near Gaston.