Oregon winemakers gather to fight potential loss

Stephanie Montano/ KTVL

Oregon winemakers and lawmakers gathered Thursday morning to help stranded winegrowers pick grapes left hanging due to an abrupt cancellation of their contracts by a California producer.

The California producer, Copper Cane, cancelled their contract after stating that the grapes in Oregon were tainted by the smoke due to the fire season. On Thursday, The Oregon Legislative Economic Development and Trade Committee led a delegation in Southern Oregon to hear from wine growers who have been impacted.

Christine Collier, the Wine Director at Willamette Valley Vineyards, said in total, growers could face up to four million dollars in losses - a devastating blow, especially for small growers.

"We really wanted to jump in and do what we can, and one of the ways to do it is to get people that can really make a difference out here seeing the impact that it has on the growers," said Collier. "Taste the fruit see for themselves that the fruit can be made into wonderful wines and really salvage what their life work is all about."

Collier said a lab analysis showed that the crop was not affected by the smoke. About thirty people gathered to help bring in the harvest. Lawmakers will be evaluating the impact of the smoke and the abrupt cancellation notice given by Copper Cane just before harvest.

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