Monday, September 15, 2014

Early Grape Harvest Points to Climate Change; Rally next Sunday in Riverfront Park

Follow the vintage reports?

It's as much as a month early this year!

Oregon used to struggle to ripen Pinot Noir, and a few years in every decade yielded thin, watery, not-so-good wine from grapes that didn't ripen enough or got badly rained on. Vintage really mattered, and harvest was more often in October than September.

Nowadays, even when there's a remnant Typhoon, as there was last September, the grapes still ripened, and the problem was more from rot and dilution than with ripeness. Oregon doesn't really have bad, undrinkable vintages any more. Our Pinot Noirs are increasingly lush and rich, rather than taut or austere.

What we have are an increasing number of warm and early vintages. The harvest this year is so early it caught Jim Bernau of Willamette Valley Vineyards by surprise. He'd scheduled a trip to New York this month, sure he'd be back in time when the grapes started coming in.

The weather this fall and summer is not the same as climate, of course, but the fact is, the Willamette Valley is getting warmer and the pattern in date of grape harvest and in ripeness levels is a reliable indicator that we're seeing climate change here. NPR even had a story on this a couple of years ago.

And it's not just grapes. The ski operators notice it in snowpack levels.

And hikers notice it in changes in vegetation and the retreat of meadows.

We should all feel a little doomy.

Next Sunday the 21st, is sponsoring the People's Climate March in New York City.

There are rallies and marches all over the world. A lot of Salem folks are going to Portland for the rally there. But there's also a gathering here.

The Unitarians, along with several other churches, are hosting an Earth Party from 2:00pm - 6:00pm at the Eco-Ball in Riverfront Park.
You are cordially invited to bring your children, your friends, your blankets, picnic baskets, bubbles, hula hoops, musical instruments, lawn games, and environmental goodwill to our (hopefully annual) Earth party. Join us in Salem's Riverfront Park on Sunday, September 21 from 2-6 pm at the Eco Ball as the UUCS Social Justice team and friends celebrate and explore local sustainability and environmental stewardship on the International Day of Peace, September 21.

While many of our good friends will be traveling to Portland, San Francisco, and even New York City to join in the historic People's Climate March, we think it's important to support this effort here at home with a little eco-educating, some old-fashioned community building, and an afternoon of fun! Join the conversation and keep up to date on the latest Salem eco news by participating in our Salem Community Earth Fair group. All are welcome.
Consider attending. Conservatives and Progressives are calling for a carbon tax, but the bi-partisan politics remains difficult. Just making the crowd +1 bigger will help to make the case that individually and collectively, we need to act.


Anonymous said...

It was a fun event, but needed much much larger hype support and community participation.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

It was a little baffling that Pringle Creek Community as well as the Peaceniks held competing events!

It was bad enough to compete with the Race for the Cure or whatever it was.

DIY Studio has a photoset here.

Anonymous said...

From an Oregonian article -

"At Chehalem in Newberg, that translated to 29 days this growing season with temperatures topping 90 degrees. The prior record of 24 days was set in 2003....Growers use what they call "cumulative degree days" to track the total amount of heat that radiates over their crops in any given year. [Chehalem owner Harry] Peterson-Nedry said his site not only broke the prior record, set in 2003, but broke it by nearly a month."

And a great quote from the former Argyle Maestro, Rollin Soles:

"We're going to give people a little power in their pinot this year"

Anonymous said...

Here's a follow-up from Chehalem's own harvest reports:

"Since October began, we’ve had five more 80F+ days and our Cumulative Degree Days now rest at 2681, the highest I have ever seen in the Willamette Valley, 2500 being the boundary between Region 1 and 2 (Cool and Not-so Cool!)."

That was from Oct 12th.

(link -