Early summer weather spells bright future for local wineries

The recent sunny weather in Lane County is doing wonders for the vineyards, so experts say that it should be a good year. (SBG)

LANE COUNTY, Ore. - Sunny and clear skies are good for area wineries, and this time of year is very crucial to their success. During this time, clusters on the vines are not the best indicators of what's to come during fall harvest.

The recent sunny weather in Lane County is doing wonders for the vineyards, so experts say that it should be a good year. But still, there's a ways to go to get from grapes on the vine to a fine wine.

It's days like we've had in Lane County this week that make Director of Viticulture, Raymond Nuclo, look out at his vineyard and like what he sees.

You never know what June weather will bring in Oregon, and it is one of the most precarious months for vineyards because that's when the vines bloom.

"You don't want to be too early because that's what makes the grapes so good here," said Nuclo. "The Pinor Noir does so well because it finished toward the end of your season, but then at the same time, you don't want it to be too late because we get to those fall rains."

The budded clusters that are present around the vineyards now, though, show that it's been a good month.

"All of the flowers that had successful pollination will turn into grapes," said Nuclo.

But just how many grapes are we expecting? That's where the viticulturist, Edward Burke, comes in.

"I would say that I'm really good friends with all of the vines," said Burke. "I have 430,000 babies out here."

On average, Burke says that they will get about three tons of grapes per acre, which will eventually be translated to hundreds of thousands of gallons of wine.

At this point, Nuclo says that they're pretty much in the clear through Summer and into Fall.

"It's an exciting time when we come to the end of bloom and we know that we had a good bloom period and that we're going to have a good crop," said Nuclo.

Now, it's just a matter of finishing their counts and predictions leading up to harvest, which comes at the end of September.

Last year, King Estate produced 858,000 gallons of wine, and Nuclo says that this year is shaping up to be vary similar to last year.


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