Thursday, November 20, 2008

Will Oregon Wine Country become a Theme Park in the Future?

For the Oregon: The Taste of Wine book, I asked winemakers, winery owners and vineyard managers what they thought the Oregon Wine Industry would look like 50 years from now.

Ed King from King Estate Winery replied:

"We see Portland growing rapidly. It's under great pressure to accommodate a huge influx of people who recognize it as a wonderful city. It's maybe the top American city today, at least in the top three or five, in terms of livability and quality of life. While we have a significant number of land use restrictions, if we were to add a half a million or a million people to the current Portland urban growth boundary–I don't know that anything is sufficient to withstand the influx of that many people. Many of those people are going to explore every nook and cranny to find a place to live out of the city.

"The wine industry is going to have to fight all along the way. Economics won't protect the vineyards. We've seen valuable vineyard land in Napa that is still more valuable for houses. The same is gong 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 winemaker's old pickup truck and his dog. You drive out and pay your fee to see them. It's like a visit to the zoo."

What do you see in the future?

Winemaker Doug Tunnell with his red
pick up at Brickhouse Vineyards

Winery in the Willamette Valley,

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