Oregon's wine industry is based on producing premium-quality wines, not mass quantities. If wineries want to compete with premium regions around the world, they know that research is necessary to keep them on the cutting edge.
They're getting help from scientists at Oregon State University's
- The economic impacts of determining how to manage, mitigate, and potentially prevent smoke impacts on grapes and wines are significant and affect processes throughout the wine production cycle. With funding from the American Vineyard Foundation and the Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research, OSU launched a smoke exposure research team led by Elizabeth Tomasino, associate professor of enology.
- Patty Skinkis, Extension viticulture specialist and 2020-2021 president of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, develops and delivers research information and educational outreach materials for the commercial winegrape industry in Oregon. As part of her viticulture program at OSU, she conducts applied research that impacts the commercial winegrape industry and contributes to the broader knowledge of grapevine physiology and vineyard sustainability.
- James Osborne, associate professor and Extension enologist, studies how various microorganisms present during winemaking impact wine quality, specifically aromas. He also studies factors impacting the growth of these spoilage microorganisms and develops strategies to help wine makers prevent wine spoilage.
Past achievements of OSU scientists include isolating the first malolactic bacteria to grow at cold temperatures and low pHs; devising a lag growth phase crop estimation system that is now used universally; importing the Dijon clones and many varieties for the first time into the United States; and creating the first International Cool Climate Symposium for Viticulture and Enology in 1984.
The number of vineyards in Oregon has doubled since 2005, and wine grapes ranked No. 7 on the state's list of top agricultural commodities in 2019, with a production value of nearly $238 million.