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DailyTidings.com
  • Through the grapevine: More Californians come north to join wine industry

    More pour north to join wine industry
  • Vineyards are lining more land in the Rogue Valley — and not all of the plantings are being done by viticulture pros.
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  • Vineyards are lining more land in the Rogue Valley — and not all of the plantings are being done by viticulture pros.
    Hobby growers dreaming of picturesque vines in their backyards are installing plants to grow pinot noir, cabernet and chardonnay grapes.
    Well-heeled hobbyists who toy with the idea of someday owning a commercial winery are being marketed to by real estate agents touting undeveloped land as having vineyard potential.
    And more farmers from California who make a living on olive trees or tomatoes in their home state are buying established vineyards here to enter the wine industry.
    Recently, Sheri Wytcherley of Oregon Ranch and Home sold a 90-acre property in the Applegate Valley to a central Californian who is moving to Oregon to start growing grapes.
    Last year, Wytcherley sold 90 acres in Grants Pass to a Californian who has since pulled up an existing vineyard to replant different varietals closer together for efficiency.
    She also sold a large parcel in Grants Pass and a smaller one in Cave Junction to almond growers from the Golden State.
    Californians, she says, are continuing to find Oregon vineyards appealing because of the lower cost per acre to buy land and farmland tax breaks. And, she says, although her existing clients are new to the wine business, they are educated about what it takes to succeed with finicky grapes.
    Before the economic downturn, newcomers bought into vineyard properties. Some failed, leaving vines abandoned or the land repossessed by the lender.
    A bank-owned 87-acre vineyard property on East Hills Drive in Ashland recently sold to a neighbor for about $750,000 — 40 percent below than the asking price.
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