Oregon Wineries Come Together To Save Grapes Rejected For Smoke Taint

Read the full story from NPR.

Grape growers in southern Oregon thought they had already weathered one of the biggest challenges of the 2018 season — the Klondike Fire, which burned over 175,000 acres in July.

But on Sept. 22, they faced even more devastating news: Copper Cane Wines and Provisions, a Calif.-based winery that contracts with numerous growers in the region, canceled grape orders mere days before harvest was supposed to start, citing smoke taint.

“We were shocked,” says grower Leon Pyle. “We knew that we had a lot of smoke, but it wasn’t worse than the previous year, and the previous year’s wine turned out just fine.”

As word spread north to Willamette Valley, Ore., a few determined winemakers refused to think that something couldn’t be salvaged. Like a phoenix rising from the wildfire’s ashes, the Oregon Solidarity project was born. Under this new coalition label, four wineries came together to buy abandoned grapes and create three wines — a rosé, a chardonnay and a pinot noir — funneling all profits back to the growers.

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