‘Solidarity’ wine to support Oregon growers

Three wines created by four Oregon wineries to support growers in the state who had their contracts cancelled are to go on sale next year.

L to R: Representative David Gomberg (D-10), winery director of Willamette Valley Vineyards Christine Clair, Southern Oregon Winegrowers Traute and Michael Moore, national sales manager of King Estate Winery Justin King and founder of Willamette Valley Vineyards Jim Bernau, from the grape harvest on 4 October, 2018 in the Rogue Valley at Bayliss Vineyard.

Dubbed ‘Solidarity’, the rosé, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay will go on sale at various points over the course of next year with the net proceeds being sent on to growers in Rogue Valley who had their contracts cancelled at the last minute by Napa-based Copper Cane.

King Estate Winery, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Silvan Ridge Winery and The Eyrie Vineyards have between them purchased over 140 tons of grapes for US$323,750 from six growers.

The wines will be bottled and labelled as Rogue Valley and proceeds from their sale will be sent to Rogue Valley Vintners to help all growers needing help.

All three wines will be available to purchase online before they become physical. The rosé will be released for sale on 1 February 2019, the Chardonnay on 1 March and Pinot Noir on 1 August.

Christine Clair, winery director for Willamette Valley Vineyards, said: “Ed King proposed we jointly make these Solidarity wines and we thought it was a fantastic way to help these growers while proving beautiful wines will come from these grapes.”

Ed King, meanwhile, said: “Labelling these wines with the Rogue Valley AVA emphasises the high quality that comes from this wine region and represents our confidence in these winegrowers and vintage.”

The growers also praised the bipartisan support they had received from both Republicans and Democrats in the state’s legislature and the governor, which had included two representatives and even a senator turning up to help harvest grapes.

Around 14 growers had their contracts for around 2,000 tons of fruit worth $4m cancelled almost at the last minute by Copper Cane late last month.

The ostensible reason for the cancellation was that the grapes had high levels of smoke taint but independent tests have apparently shown this not to be the case.

Other producers in Oregon have also been seeking to source what grapes they can from those growers affected.

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