Weather & Wine

Thanks to its cool, moist climate, the Willamette Valley is renowned for its wines. But climate isn’t the only atmospheric condition that affects grapes grown for wine — weather, or atmospheric conditions in the shorter term, also changes grapes. For example, rain can dilute the sugar levels and flavors that accumulate during ripening. Weather also encourages or tamps down prospects for various pests and diseases. Continue reading 

Brandborg Blooms

Building an out-of-the-way winery in Oregon’s newest American Viticultural Area

Photo by Trask Bedortha

The tiny town of Elkton, Ore., boasts just 200 people but six wineries. Its cooler climate, atypical of the Umpqua Valley, means that wine grapes that won’t grow in most Southern Oregon vineyards flourish in Elkton. Grape-growing regions are known as American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs. Based on climate and geography, AVAs tell winemakers and connoisseurs a little bit about what to expect from the wine. As of 2013, Elkton is Oregon’s 17th AVA, just an hour southwest of Eugene. Continue reading 

East Side Wines

Viticulture outside the Valley

Valleys aren’t the only places for making wine. While most of Oregon’s 450-some wineries are located in cooler, more temperate climes, central and Eastern Oregon are in on enology culture, too. For a treat on your next road trip east, drop by one of these wineries to get a taste of Oregon’s east side.   Volcano Vineyards  930 N.W. Brooks St., Bend, OR 97701 • 541-390-8771 • Continue reading 

A Wine for Every Equation

Eugene’s first urban winery, Eugene Wine Cellars, ages to perfection in the Whiteaker

Photo by Todd Cooper

Bruce Biehl, the owner of Eugene Wine Cellars (EWC), once dreamed of being a cowboy. He became a winemaker instead. With a soft spot for European wine culture, influenced both by his travels and a brother who makes wine in southern France, Biehl brought the first “urban winery” to Eugene in 1999. It was a family effort, with Biehl siblings Beverly and Brad, which made EWC the first licensed winery within city limits. Continue reading 

Bad Chemistry

Cork disease can taint wines

Every once in a while, a bottle of wine — even a very good wine, from a reputable producer — breaks bad. Excuses abound, but reasons are harder to find. Bad chemistry. The sequence is predictable: We buy a decent wine, treat it well until we pull the cork. We pour the wine, bring it to our lips. First, we’re assaulted by nasty aromas: moldy, musty, damp basement, mildewed stacks of old newspapers … Descriptors vary. Flavors, too, remind us of soggy basements. If the condition is advanced, the wine is undrinkable. Continue reading 

May Holiday Event Listings

Eugene Wine Cellars 255 Madison St., 342-2600 May 23-26 Memorial Weekend Celebration, Sunday urban wine circuit  noon-6pm Saturday-Monday.   J. Scott Cellars  520 Commercial St., Unit G, 514-5497 May 23-25 Memorial Weekend Celebration, music, food truck, guest wineries, 4-9pm Friday, 1-9pm Saturday, noon-6pm Sunday.   Noble Estate Vineyard & Winery 29210 Gimpl Hill Rd., 560 Commercial St. Suite S, 954-9870 Continue reading