Growing Grapes in Oregon

The oldest record of grape-growing in Oregon dates back to 1825. Since then, the Oregon wine industry has gone through several fluctuations, mainly resulting from competition from the California wine industry, the social conservatism of the Temperance movement in the region, and the ills of the Great Depression. However, from 1975 to 2006, the wine industry in Oregon grew from 35 measly acres to 15,600 acres for grape growing. Oregon has the strictest requirements for wine-labeling, where at least 90% of the wine has to be of the stated variety, with an exception for Cabernet Sauvignon, which requires only 75%. It is particularly more difficult to grow grapes in southern and eastern Oregon because rain is mostly confined to the western and northern parts. Most major grape varietals grown in Oregon are similar to those grown in Burgundy and Alsace in France. These are Pinot Noir, the classic Oregon wine, Gamay Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Riesling. In 1990, the phylloxera pest was discovered in Oregon. Infection can, however, be prevented by using of grafted disease-resistant rootstock available from nurseries.

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