The coldest and wettest year in Oregon in the last fifty? Grapes hanging on the vines longer than they’ve ever hung before? The possibility of a complete wipe-out if fall rains came and temperatures dropped?
No problem. The grape harvest of 2011 will go down as a real nail-biter for Oregon wineries, from the Columbia Gorge through the Willamette Valley and all of the way down to the Applegate Valley. But the relevant words are that it did go down. A couple of late weeks of albeit weak sunshine saved things, and allowed grapes to mature — if not fully, then just enough. The wines that will come from this will more than likely be low in alcohol and acid, but with good flavor — winemakers have their work cut out for them over the coming months. We’ll leave it to the critics to decide in a couple of years how it all worked out in the end.
But at least they have grapes to work with, and with most vineyards having been harvested before an expected blow of bad weather coming by the first weekend of November, it looks like Oregon’s wine industry dodged a climactic bullet in 2011.