Around the World in 80 Harvests: Oregon

As wine journalist Amanda Barnes travels Around the World in 80 Harvests documenting 80 wine regions and grape harvests around the globe, she shares a photo story from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

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The morning sun catches the Chardonnay vines on the famous jory soils of the Dundee Hills. Harvest started as early as mid-August this year as the whole western coast of the US got off to an early start. Historically Oregon’s harvest would begin closer to the beginning of October but recent years have seen harvest dates creeping forward with 2014 and 2015 being two of the hotter years on record. The jumpstart for 2016 was due to an early spring but a cooler summer has left winemakers optimistic for an elegant vintage.

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Winemaker Jason Lett picks his first Pinot Noir grapes of the season, on 30th August. His late father, David Lett, is credited as one of the pioneers of the Oregon wine industry and was fondly known as ‘Papa Pinot’ for planting the first Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris (among other varieties) in Oregon in 1965. His Pinot Noir became world famous after a series of successful international tastings in France at the end of the 70s, and put Willamette on the map. Today Jason carries on the Pinot Noir tradition at the family winery, Eyrie Vineyards.

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