Oregon winemakers try to stem crisis as contracts cancelled

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Some Oregon lawmakers and winery owners are scrambling to help a dozen vineyards owners who face having 2,000 tons of grapes wither on the vine, unsold, after a California winemaker abruptly cancelled contracts to buy them, claiming they were tainted from some from the summer’s wildfires.

Rep. David Gomberg said Thursday the unexpected crisis has led to other Oregon winemakers to help out the vineyard owners in southern Oregon by buying a lot of the grapes.

Gomberg, a Democrat, was among those who pitched in to harvest grapes on Thursday.

Christine Clair, winery director of Willamette Valley Vineyards, which is buying some of the grapes, said the cancellations of the contracts is one of the most devastating hits on Oregon’s wine industry.

She said tests show the grapes have not deteriorated because of smoke.