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New US$2m wine research institute for Oregon

Oregon’s wine industry is set to gain a new US$2m (£1m) academic institute with money from its winemakers and state funding.

Although still in the planning stages, the Oregon State University Wine Institute is expected to be operational by autumn 2008. The bill is to be divided in two with Oregon vintners stumping up $1m and a state legislature allocation matching the sum.

Patty Skinkis, a viticulturalist at the University, said they were already looking to hire a director and ‘new positions in the institute’.

The institute’s mandate wil be to assist the Oregon wine industry with research for both winemaking and vineyard work, and will support wineries with business decisions and marketing.

‘I think it is a great opportunity for this industry, long under the shadows of a much more mature California industry,’ said Steve Thomson, executive vice president of King Estate Winery. ‘[We can] step up and build some of the infrastructure that we need.

He added that Californian research, often conducted by the University of California, Davis (UCD) or California State Fresno, is ‘not necessarily valid’ with regard to Oregon varietals – mainly Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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