OSU scientists help Oregon’s vineyards and wineries stay competitive


Long before the movie “Sideways,” people knew about the Oregon mystique with Pinot noir. In 1979, an Oregon wine was rated the top Pinot noir at the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades, establishing Oregon as a region capable of producing top-quality wines. AES horticulturalists worked closely with French wine cultivation experts, importing the Dijon clones and many varieties for the first time into the United States. They isolated the first malolactic bacteria to grow at cold temperatures and low pHs; devised a lag growth phase crop estimation system that is now used universally; and created the first International Cool Climate Symposium for Viticulture and Enology in 1984.

The process of making wine is complex and OSU research continues to improve the process from field to market. Vineyard management was found to have an effect on phenolics, which affect how wine feels in the mouth, and on anthocyanins, which are pigments that produce a more intense red. Other studies examine how yeast impacts the aroma of Pinot noir.

Media Image: 
Pinot noir juice
Credit Text: 
Lynn Ketchum
Caption Text: 
Pinot noir juice at crushing time. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)