Monday, February 24, 2020

Local Wineries that Profess Sustainability should rethink Airport Support

While we watch the latest episode of Calhounian Reactionary Nullification at the Capitol, over the weekend it was dismaying to note the local winery enthusiasm for "the return of commercial air service to Salem."

Boosters for the airport held a "Come Fly with Me" fund-raiser Saturday night with tickets starting at $150 a person.
Taste the best of the Willamette Valley as 15+ wineries pour in one location! Sip as you feast on a beautiful meal, and seize your opportunity to bid on unique and one-of-a-kind auction packages.

Proceeds from the event go to further the effort to restore commercial air service to the Salem Airport.
The effort has attracted formal support from the Oregon Wine Board and Willamette Valley Wineries Association in addition to the individual wineries that were pouring for the dinner and auction.

Do the wineries really think things through?
But the wineries and their trade associations should know better than almost anyone other than a scientist about the effects of greenhouse gases and warming. They have the record of summer temperatures and harvest dates in the vineyards. They great data!

Before Chehalem Winery was sold, they published very good notes on the changes. About the 2017 vintage they wrote:
The warmest vintages we’ve ever seen in the Willamette Valley over our more than 50 years of grapegrowing are the last five. Period.

We live in a bona fide cool climate here in the Willamette Valley. It’s why our wines have a great acid backbone that gives the wines a brightness of fruit and makes them perfect for aging and ideal with food. UC-Davis’ Winkler classified warmth and coolness by accumulating the recorded heat by growing season for the world’s wine regions. The Willamette Valley is designated Region One, the coolest, in company with Germany, Champagne and Burgundy.

But, we are warming and the progression has been steady, with 1961-1990 heat summations of 1970 annual degree-days increasing to an average 2208 in the 1997-2012 period, and further to 2651 degree-days 2013-2017—or an increase in growing season heat of 35% over the life of our industry. Cool Region One ends at 2500 degree-days, meaning we’re now firmly in Region Two based on the last five years.
It might be more accurate to say "We lived in a bona fide cool climate." Past tense. The style of the wines has changed, and soon the grapes themselves will change in existing vineyards. Maybe new plantings will occur at higher elevation or otherwise cooler places, but the established vineyards won't grow cool climate Pinot Noir grapes any more.

There are Region Two vineyard areas in Australia, Portugal, Spain, and Italy, for example. They and the wines they produce are so different from the vineyards and wines of Germany, Champagne, and Burgundy. Pinot is in peril.

I know the wineries want more tourism and the customers that represents, and that local people who can spend $150 and more at an auction have discretionary income and wine cellars, but inviting more greenhouse gas emissions is self-negating, and the wineries should rethink this.

See previous notes on wine here.


mark said...

The city is proposing to spend two million dollars subsidizing air travel when they could spend that money to build the much needed multiuse path along Reed Road from Battle Creek to Strong roads. Subsidize the 1% and the most carbon-intensive method of travel or provide families a safe low carbon way to get to jobs and parks, the choice is clear.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Well, we have a friendly disagreement on the real utility of a parky path there. After dark, especially in winter, a path recessed from the road may not be lit very well and may not feel safe. This is one reason to prefer protected bike lanes in the road right-of-way. (Readers unfamiliar with the debate on paths can see "The Prospect of more Biking on Paths in Salem" and "Revisiting Marine Drive and West Salem Loop Concept After the SRC.")

Still, we can agree there are are many kinds support for non-auto travel that would be a more resilient investment than burning up money chasing after carbon-polluting air travel!