Local wineries seeing low numbers, due to smoke

Medford, Ore. — NBC5 News spoke with local wineries Thursday, that said it’s been a summer of ups and downs. Essentially, when the sun’s out and the smoke clears – their tasting rooms fill up. But when the smoke settles and the air quality gets worse – that’s when it gets quiet.

“It’s very lonely out here around the wineries and I think everybody’s having that same experience,” said Anne Root, owner of Eden Valley Orchard and Edenvale Winery.

“Fewer people visiting generally and then people that live here have been leaving,” said John Dials, RoxyAnn Winery.

You can blame the smoke for that.

“Cancelled concerts,” Root said.

And that.

“We have definitely had a reduction overall,” Dials said.

And that.

“Business this summer has been up and down, we’ve obviously had implications because of the smoke,” Root said.

Because of poor air quality this summer, local wineries have been feeling the hit.

“The reality is, you’re just losing cash,” Root said.

Local wineries said when smoke settles, they suffer.

“The attendance at our outdoor music is, of course, been affected greatly during our peak season with the peak of the smoke and the heat,” Dials said.

“We’ve been just trying to fix problems and re-market,” Root said.

Because smoky summers have become a trend, it’s changing the game. Now, local businesses are looking to their neighbors for support.

“I think all of us – from the restaurants, to the rest of the wineries – we’re all looking for the locals to say – hey, this is an important industry, let’s get out there and support them a little more than   maybe we did last year. Because we really need to support this industry and our community,” Root said.

With summer coming to a close in the coming weeks, Edenvale Winery said it’s already looking ahead into the next season, when hopefully it won’t be so smoky.

It said this fall, they’ll be a releasing a fall-inspired cider for guests to enjoy on top of their house wine list.

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