Oregon winemakers closely monitoring continuing heat wave - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon winemakers closely monitoring continuing heat wave

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HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) -

Weather plays a huge role for the Oregon wine industry. FOX 12 visited Raptor Ridge in Hillsboro Thursday to find out how the heat is impacting production.

Winemaking is a very delicate process, one that can be thrown off by extreme heat.

Oregon is famous for its Pinot Noir, a wine that favors cool temperatures. However, heat waves like the current one, won't ruin a crop but make for a more fruit forward vintage.

"It's good news and bad news. The good news is that when we get weather over 100 degrees, the diseases that we fight get knocked way back if not killed," said winemaker Scott Shull at Raptor Ridge. "The bad news is, probably number one concern, is sunburn."

Shull says right now growers are in the process of pulling leaves off of the fruit zone so that the grape clusters ripen and get nice coloration, but if they're over exposed they can get sunburned.

Most of the vines in Oregon are dry farmed, meaning growers don't typically irrigate the plants. 

Shull says this year's rainy season has kept the roots nourished. So despite the heat and the areas current dry spell, Shull says they don't lack moisture.

Shull says when it's hot out, he and his crew have to spend a little more time tending to the vine. It's why he's ready for temperatures to get back to normal.

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