PORTLAND, Oregon — Every year at this time, winemakers throughout the Willamette Valley are up to their necks in both grapes and the work that's required to turn those grapes into wine.

This fall has been a bit different than ones of the recent past though, because rain arrived in the valley much earlier and more frequently in September than it typically does.

The impact has definitely been felt at Willamette Valley Vineyards, where they've been producing award-winning wines since 1983.

"Ever since Labor Day Weekend, we've been really challenged with scattered showers every 2 to 3 days," said Winery Director Christine Clair. "We've had to really find those pockets of sunshine to be picking our fruit. It's been a tough one."

Grapes have still been picked and sorted, though.

Fermentation continues to happen in countless barrels tucked away inside Willamette Valley Vineyards' barrel room.

And the Winemaking Lab is plenty busy, as well, as winemakers use tools and instruments created specifically for their craft, e.g. an ebulliometer.

Let me spell that out phonetically: ee-BOOL-ee-AH-meh-ter.

"We use an ebulliometer to test the level of alcohol we've created in our wines," said Head Winemaker Joe Ibrahim.

The rush of the harvest season will have settled down by next month, and November is a great time to pay a visit to Willamette Valley Vineyards.

Their annual Thanksgiving Weekend Celebration takes place Friday, Nov. 29 thru Sunday, Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. all three days.

Admission that weekend is $15.

More information is available here.

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