Out of state winemaker wants a piece of the action in Oregon

DAYTON, Ore. - It's harvest season for Oregon winemakers, and this year's looking like one of the best in recent years.

There's also just as much excitement surrounding one of the biggest California winemakers buying up a lot of prized Oregon winegrowing land.

Kendall-Jackson is buying up a winery with hundreds of acres of prime Oregon real estate.

Melissa Burr, winemaker at the Stoller Family Estate, has heard some local winemakers wonder what this kind of unprecedented business deal means for the little guys. Kendall-Jackson is buying another winery and not Stoller.

After meeting with folks at Kendall-Jackson, Burr said what the Oregon Wine Board echoed Friday: There's great excitement for the spotlight this will shine on Oregon wine.

"We make some of the best wine in the world. It's been recognized now," she said. "It's an exciting time for Oregon. ... Oregon has really hit its stride, and I think we've proven this is one of the best places in the world to grow grapes."

Burr said the new winery is just what the Oregon wine industry needs to keep growing.

"I think it's fantastic. I think it supports the premise that this is one of the best places on the globe to grow and make wine," she said. "And they are a top-notch, one of the best wine groups in the world, and they focus on quality. And for Oregon, that's great."

It's been a great summer for grapes, with a warm growing season and mild, cooler temperatures for the harvest.

Burr has been making wine at the Stoller Family Estate for more than a decade. Harvest season is always the best time of year, especially this year because the winemaker expects to harvest about 260 tons of grapes during the next few weeks.

Harvest season should last through the first couple weeks of October.