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Smoky Grapes? Oregon winemakers, grape growers team up to release Solidarity Wines

Oregon winemakers release the first installment of wines made from southern Oregon grapes rejected by California winery due to alleged smoke taint.
Credit: Carolyn Wells Kramer

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon winemakers stepped up to help winegrowers in southern Oregon after a California winemaker abruptly canceled contracts to buy their grapes last September. Now, they are ready to show off the fruits of their labor.

Willamette Valley Vineyards, in partnership with The Eyre Vineyards, King Estate Winery and Silvan Ridge Winery, teamed up to make three wines using some of the over 2,000 tons of grapes rejected by California winery, Copper Cane.

Related: OR grape growers face ‘devastating’ loss after Napa winery cancels contracts

Copper Cane's decision to end the contracts came after lab and sensory tests showed a high level of smoke taint from the Klondike Fire that burned 175,258 acres in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

The wineries went to work on collecting samples from the affected growers. An independent laboratory analysis showed that most of the crop was not impacted by the smoke after all. They were able to harvest much of the fruit before it was too ripe and pay the amount previous contracted to the grape producers.

The end product was called Oregon Solidarity, named after the Oregon spirit of helping each other in their time of need. The wines include a Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir.

A pre-order sale will begin on Feb. 15 through the Oregon Solidarity wines website. All proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Rogue Valley Vintners to help support vineyards in the area.

Credit: Oregon Solidarity wines

By the way, Copper Cane Winery or Copper Lane LLC is the same winery that was accused of putting misleading labels on wines to make it seem that they were produced in Oregon. You can read more about here.  

Thinking of ordering a bottle or all three Oregon Solidarity wines or just want to suggest an Oregon wine? Tweet me at @ClaudiaAmezcua_.

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