Smoke, extreme heat pose harsh test for West Coast vineyards

Heat Wave-Vineyards
Posted at 11:55 AM, Jul 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-10 14:55:35-04

TURNER, Ore. (AP) — The heat wave that recently hit the Pacific Northwest subjected the region’s vineyards to record-breaking temperatures nine months after the fields that produce world-class wine were blanketed by wildfire smoke.

But when temperatures began climbing close to 120 degrees in late June, the grapes in Oregon and Washington state were still young, many still shaded by leaf canopies that had not been trimmed back yet.

That saved them from harm. If it had been earlier or later in the growing season, it could have been disastrous.

The bad news is that extreme heat events and wildfires are apt to become more frequent because of climate change.