Oregon wine grape harvest weeks ahead of schedule - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon wine grape harvest weeks ahead of schedule

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Grapes on the vine (KPTV) Grapes on the vine (KPTV)
Vineyard at Stoller Family Estate (KPTV) Vineyard at Stoller Family Estate (KPTV)

The warm spring, and record temperatures over the last few days is putting Willamette Valley wine makers to work. 

Stoller Family Estate in the Dundee Hills began harvesting wine grapes Saturday morning. They say this is the earliest start to the season they have ever had. 

"It is a surprise to all of us," Owner Bill Stoller said. "We didn't think we would be doing it until the end of August."

Rob Schultz the vineyard manager says the mild spring prompted the vines to begin growing early than normal, combine that with the heat the last few days, the grapes are ready to come off. 

"We had a really warm spring and the vines woke up a month early," Schultz said, "and here they are finishing their job a month early."

Saturday workers were plucking grapes that will be made into Oregon Sparkling Wine, staff say the pinot grapes will be ready in a week or so.

They are watching the recent heat wave and scorching temperatures and say it could have a slight impact on the grapes.

"We want it to cool down so the flavors can develop as quickly as the sugars develop," Schultz said.

This year's weather may also be a blessing, wine makers say 2016 could be one of the best vintages in several years. 

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