Wine harvest underway in Southern Oregon

Medford, Ore. — Vineyards across the region are hard at work this month, harvesting grapes for the 2016 vintage. While a lot of factors play into good quality grapes– weather is key– and some winemakers in the valley say they got just what they needed.

“We had plenty of water in the soil this year due to the winter rains,” winemaker Kiley Evans of 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery says, “so when spring hit, nice and warm, vines just went crazy.”

At 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery, grapes ripened a little early, but conditions for harvest have been ideal.

“We recorded about 39 degrees in the vineyard the other morning when we started harvesting some of the Tempranillo,” 2Hawk co-owner Ross Allen says, “which allowed us to bring in that fruit perfect temperature to the crush pad.”

A crush pad that wasn’t there this time last year. 2016 will mark the first vintage 2Hawk has completed on-site from vine to bottle.

“We just completed construction of our new winery facility,” Allen says, “literally just minutes after harvest we can have it on the crush pad and begin processing it.”

It’s a similar story at Pallet Wine Company, where their small staff of 6 will take in 450 tons of fruit this fall.

“We’ve had great weather, and we see some really high quality fruit come in,” owner Linda Donovan says.

As for what will be best this year, that answer may be in the glass of the beholder.

“We’re looking at another really good vintage in Southern Oregon,” Evans says, “I mean there are gonna be a lot of great wines coming out of 2016.”

Red wines can take a few years before they’re ready to be released, but you can expect to see some of the 2016 whites in bottles as soon as next spring.


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