Author: Dana Martin
Publish Date: Fall 2008
According to Mylen Bohle, area agronomist for OSU Extension Service in Central Oregon, several growers have planted various varieties throughout the years and have experienced varying degrees of success.
Ron and Susan Matheny of Madras are enjoying their third year of harvest from about 125 vines of hybrid and vinifera varieties. Kerry Damon, viticulturist at the Ranch at the Canyons in Terrebonne, oversees 3.5 acres of hybrid grapes and is looking forward to his first harvest. Doug Maragas of Maragas Winery, is experimenting with about 16 different vitis vinifera varieties and looks forward to someday being able to utilize his own grapes at his winery. Kurt and Nyssa Farris have harvested Concord grapes 14 out of the last 15 years. There are also table grape niche market opportunities for fresh market, U-pick, juice, and jellies.
“We have evidence that grapes have been growing here for the past 13 to 15 years so certain varieties will grow in Central Oregon. The question is, can certain grapes can be grown for harvest and I believe they can,” says Mylen, noting that it is exciting to be part of a potentially new industry.