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Oregon grows record 41,500 tons of grapes.

Byline: Ilene Aleshire The Register-Guard

Production of wine grapes hit a record high in Oregon last year - 41,500 tons, a whopping 33 percent increase over the previous year, according to a report released by the Oregon Wine Board on Monday.

The increase came despite a small - 100 acres - decrease in the amount of land planted in wine grapes. But, while the acreage devoted to wine grapes dipped to 20,400, overall yields were better and there were fewer unharvested acres, according to the 2011 Oregon Vineyard Report.

Growers faced many challenges last year, according to the wine board, from powdery mildew to browsing deer.

"Spring came late, and summer never heated up. ... Many growers harvested later than ever before, risking late-season disease and animal exposure," the wine board said. But in the end, the board said, "The consensus was that 2011 will be a memorable vintage."

That projection has been seconded by Wine Spectator, which rates thousands of wines every year.

The publication said this was the latest vintage in the history of Oregon's wine industry. But, while the 2011 vintage early in the year "looked like a disaster waiting to happen," the Wine Spectator said in an early forecast, the warm sunny fall saved it. Vintners have been comparing the 2011 vintage to the 2008, 1999 and 1993 vintages, Wine Spectator said.

Production of pinot noir, by far the most popular wine grape in Oregon, was up more than 40 percent last year over 2010, to 23,726 tons, mainly because of better yields, according to the Oregon Vineyard Report. Production of pinot gris grapes - a distant second - rose by about 14 percent, to 6,046 tons.

With the increased production, prices fell a bit for some types of grapes, according to the wine board. The average price per ton for pinot noir grapes, for example, was down 9 percent, to $2,270.
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Title Annotation:Local News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1U9OR
Date:Apr 17, 2012
Words:315
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