EUGENE, Ore. – Local wineries in the South Willamette Valley are thriving under the warm weather.
At Silvan Ridge Winery, general manager Jonathan Oberlander says this is a good year for the vines. “I think the heat is welcome. It really helps accelerate our growth. We need that sunshine,” he said.
Although the valley has seen a major heat wave, Oberlander says there was enough rainfall in the last few weeks for the vines to still thrive.
“It’s great. We’ve got lots of water. We’ve got lots of sunshine. We’ve got lots of growth, and it‘s really about leaves. Those are those sugar factories and we’ve got 6 inches of growth every day with this head,” said Oberlander.
“This year promises to be early. It gives us a little cushion going into harvest because sometimes the rain comes and they don't stop,” he said.
At Sweet Cheeks Winery, vineyard manager Amanda Cihlar says the grapes are doing just fine in this heat wave. “This heat isn't too concerning. If we get many days that are close to 100 in a row, then the growth could be stunted which could close down ripening,” she said.
Cihlar says there are a few ways to see if the grapes are in trouble because of the heat. “I look and I look to see signs of water stress. So I look for drooping leaves, and I don't see nay right now, I look for stunted growth on the tendrils,” said Chihlar.