Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Elise StimacVineyard

Overview of snow-covered Torio Vineyard on Chehalem Mountain, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Panoramic view of snow-covered Torio Vineyard on Chehalem Mountain, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Panoramic view of snow-covered Torio Vineyard on Chehalem Mountain, Willamette Valley, Oregon.

Winter arrives, finally

We’ve been experiencing a mild winter this year with temperatures rarely below freezing and despite the weather reports, rainfall seemed pretty normal. We were all beginning to think that we would not be getting any cold weather and many vineyards, including ours, chose to prune vines a little earlier than normal.

Last week, however, temperatures took a serious dip into the 20’s and on February 8th we got snowfall in many areas. Chehalem Mountain is one of the highest spots in the Willamette Valley and we got more snow than anywhere outside of the Cascade Range. Currently, our vineyards are buried in 6-8 inches of snow and we are plowing our driveway while 900 feet below us on the valley floor there is scarcely a dusting.

Overview of snow-covered Torio Vineyard on Chehalem Mountain, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Overview of snow-covered Torio Vineyard on Chehalem Mountain, Willamette Valley, Oregon.

This is actually a good thing for our vineyards.  Snow is an excellent source of deep moisture and the plants are protected from excessive cold under its blanket.  Cold temperatures might also help reduce undesirable insects, such as the annoying stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) that frequent the vineyards and hibernate in our house. True to its epithet, when squashed the stink bug emits a very unpleasant odor.  We can also hope that the cold prevents an early crop of rodents that proliferate in the barns and lawns.

We have put away garden tools and tractors and await the real spring like the rest of the country. Come meet us at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum to try our wines and Toast to Winter during the 26th Annual Wine & Food SIP Classic!