Harvest 2018 Reflections

Harvest Reflections Oregon Wine 2018

Photo by Easton Richmond

Bree Boskov MW / Oregon Wine Board Education Manager

“The 2018 vintage in the Willamette Valley and Oregon overall is looking to make some exceptional wines. Not exactly a return to normal, as the spring and summer were some of the warmest and driest on record, but there were no real heat spikes and the season was longer due to the cool autumn weather. That allowed grapes to hang and develop complex flavors on the vine while retaining fresh acidity.”


Andrea Johnson and Lumaria Productions produced this beautiful tribute to the crews that work tirelessly in the vineyard during harvest. Andrea says, “I’m constantly humbled, amazed, and inspired by the skill, speed, pride and dedication in their work which is both physically and mentally challenging, especially during the long days of harvest.”


Elk Cove Vineyards harvest

A harvest crew at Elk Cove Vineyards hustles under the setting sun. Photo by Easton Richmond courtesy Willamette Valley Wineries Association.


Cleaning the press

Brandborg Vineyard & Winery harvest staff Nathan Wood and Nicole Johnson clean the press.


Pinot noir buckets

Stoller harvest crew

The Stoller Family Estate crew after the final pick of the 2018 harvest.


Fairsing Vineyards harvest

Harvest at Fairsing Vineyard. Photo by Easton Richmond.


Phelps Creek Vineyards / Columbia Gorge AVA

“The season proceeded slightly compressed due to a stretch of mid-summer heat. Harvest began late September with ideal conditions of sunny skies, cool days and cold nights—allowing fruit to ripen incrementally. Ultimately the vintage might sear into memory for its stunningly long, beautiful fall encompassing most of October. The season made you feel blessed to live in Oregon.”

–  Bob Morus / President

Boedecker Cellars / Willamette Valley AVA

“What a vintage it was! Even measured in the context of a string of great vintages, 2018 wines stand out as pretty phenomenal. While fruit showed perhaps darker/juicier flavor profiles when compared to the 2017 vintage, the wines still exhibit the typical brightness and balance between freshness and depth of fruit that are hallmarks of Oregon wine.  These wines show structure both from good acidity and from some really elegant tannins, and there’s a sexiness to the fruit profile that’s appealing already. We’re very, very excited to watch them mature.”

–  Stewart Boedecker / Winemaker

Antiquum Farm / Willamette Valley AVA

“2018 was the first vintage where my winemaking was solely focused on one vineyard. Going deep into a place is a reminder to slow down, to be fully receptive, to engage the entire battery of senses. I was struck this season, challenged by terroir, how to know a place, guide a place, interpret a place where I had not been previously. This is what keeps rolling around in my head and in my work: the challenge of terroir is not farming or climate or grape variety or winery practice; it is memory.”

– Andrew Bandy-Smith / Winemaker

Celestina Vineyard / Rogue Valley AVA

“The harvest season here in Southern Oregon was punctuated by a rain event near the end of September. After the rain, we had a spectacular fall that allowed for a prolonged hang time in beautiful 80º F weather. Flavors had a lot of time to develop slowly on the vine. We didn’t have any other rain events and growers got to delay harvesting until, in some cases, the end of October. Absolutely outstanding fall ripening weather.”

– John Pratt / Winegrower

Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden / Applegate Valley AVA

“Grape chemistry, particularly pH, is very good this year. We will have a vintage of wines with lower alcohols and very pleasant palate weight. That’s optimal!”

– Barbara Steele / Founder & Winemaker


Wine press


Cleaning the press

Kelley Fox Wines harvest staff Stephanie Sprinkle after the final press of the vintage. Photo by Matt Giraud.


Brooks harvest crew

The Brooks harvest crew poses with Riesling, their last bin of 2018.


Barb Steele examining mourvedre
Barbara Steele of Cowhorn inspects Mourvèdre from her Applegate Valley vineyard.
Just pressed pinot and chardonnay juice
Freshly pressed Pinot noir and Chardonnay juice at Carlton Winemaker’s Studio.

Stoller harvest crew

Harvest at Domaine Drouhin Oregon. Photo by Easton Richmond.


Stoller harvest crew

Stoller Family Estate extended family.


Tagging bucket drops

After delivering two full buckets of clusters, a harvest crew member at Elk Cove Vineyards gets his tally sheet punched. Vineyard staff are paid by the bucket and can harvest more than 125 buckets in a single day. Photo by Easton Richmond.


To start planning your trip to Oregon wine country, request a complimentary copy of the official Oregon Wine Touring Guide.

For even more harvest reports, including recipes, winemaker Q&A, playlists and more visit Willamette Wines harvest hub.

Now that harvest is over, the hard part begins: waiting to drink the wine.