What Warm Temperatures Could Mean for the Wine Industry

Spring like temperatures might affect the wine industry on February 6th, 2018. at King Estate in Eugene, Ore.

EUGENE, Ore.- If the warm temperatures continue, the wine industry here in the Willamette Valley could be affected, according to a King Estate Winery Viticulturist.

Right now, the winery is preparing its methods for a successful growing season, continuing their yearly pruning.

King Estate Viticulturist, Edward Burke, says the warmer temperatures are unusual for this time of year.

“We often do get snow out here, at least a little bit of snow on the ground,” says Burke.

The early spring conditions have given indications for early budding, but Burke is not to concerned just yet.

“There are few different types of dormancy and at this point, these plants are more or less ready to start growing as soon as conditions warrant,” says Burke.

If temperatures drop drastically, growth could be prone to frost injury, damaging King Estates 430,000 vines, says Burke.

However, they have a plan in place to prevent any potential major loss in case the temperatures get colder.

“If we have actively growing green tissue, and we have a cold event where we are concerned, then we start kicking on these frost protection fans and that can move the air a little bit,” says Burke.

Protecting the vines from possible total damage Burke says, “if we can just get a couple tenths of a degree, sometimes that can make the difference between mortality in a bud, and having a bud that does just fine.”

The fans have not been used just yet, but they have been running tests just in case they might have to turn them on later as the winter season continues.

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