NEWBERG, Ore. — Sam Tannahill doesn’t want to jinx the 2014 Oregon wine grape harvest, but here goes: It’s shaping up to be “epic.”
“An amazing year,” said Tannahill, viticulture director and a co-founder of A to Z Wineworks in Yamhill County. Perfectly warm summer temperatures, no bad weather “curveballs” like last year’s monsoon and very little disease pressure, he said.
As a result, the state’s growing regions, from Mosier, Ore., in the Columbia River Gorge to Medford in Southern Oregon, are producing big yields of “beautiful, beautiful grapes,” Tannahill said. “The quality is off the charts.”
Knock on wood — such as those French oak fermentation barrels at A to Z that cost $1,000 each — but the pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling, rose and other varieties produced this year by the state’s 905 vineyards and 601 wineries may be equally notable.
Tannahill didn’t expect problems from rain that swept into Oregon’s Willamette Valley this week. The vineyards could use a drink, he said, and the grapes are well-developed, with thick skins that will protect them.