Oregon’s been on the wine connoisseurs map for years now, but there has been a surge in news over the last two. The industry began to spark attention when Oregon’s famed Pinot Noir was highlighted on the cover of Wine Spectator’s Dec. 12, 2012 issue. Their following magazine presented Oregon with more accolades, as 250 of its wines scored 90 or above. Such media attention has created expansion in the Oregon wine industry.
According to the Oregon Wine Board, there are more than 400 wineries and 800 vineyards growing grapes in the state, which contributes over $2.7 billion to the state economy. Some vineyards are so successful they’ve been bought out by heavy-weights from California, Washington and even France.
In March, California’s Jackson Family wines purchased Zena East and Zena Middle parcels in the Eola Hills, in addition to Maple Grove southwest of Monmouth. The following months Jackson added more wineries and vineyards from Yamhill-Carlton districts, and has collected 1,385 acres of vineyard property in Oregon.
Seattle’s second-largest winemaker, Precept also bought a vineyard from the Yamhill-Carlton area — but the biggest surprise came when French winemaker Maison Louis Jadot came to the Willamette Valley to purchase Resonance Vineyard, which is only the second time a French company has done so in the state.
Insiders believe the influx of interest in Oregon may come from the premium its Pinots claim on the market, while the availability of vineyards and land perfectly suited for cultivating vineyards are certainly not to be scoffed at.
By Patrick Fancher