Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oregon Wine in 50 years: Burgundy or Disneyland?

For my upcoming book, Oregon: The Taste of Wine, due out this October, I asked winemakers, winery owners and vineyard managers what will the Oregon wine industry look like in 50 to 100 years. Here are two responses:

I think that the Willamette Valley grows a variety in a style which appeals to a very narrow part of the palate. Where southern Oregon and eastern Oregon have climates and growing conditions that serve a much bigger part of the palate, the Cabernets, Syrahs, and Merlots. So in a hundred years, the Willamette Valley might become a little Burgundy, and the rest of Oregon might be where the action is, where the economic and industry growth takes place. It’s very possible that the center of gravity will change.
Jim Bernau, Willamette Valley Vineyards

Economics won’t protect the vineyards. We’ve seen in Napa valuable vineyard land that is still more valuable for houses. The same is going to be true around Portland, if we let economics run the game. You could see the vineyards of McMinnville, Dundee, Carlton, Eola Hills all overwhelmed by the demand for housing. You could end up with this kind of vineyard in a terrarium, with a little glass dome over the cute little wine maker’s old pick up truck and his dog. You drive out and pay your fee to see them. It’s like a visit to the zoo. Ed King III, King Estate

What do you see in the future?

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