The Big Freeze

From John, August 12th, 2022

For many of the last several springs I have watched in horror as some of my favorite villages and producers in Burgundy have endured late frosts that destroyed part of their precious crop. In the 38 Oregon vintages that I have been a part of, we have only experienced mild freezes in the spring which would take out some bits of crop but usually nothing very significant. But with Climate Change it is a whole new world of farming.

After fires in 2020 and a bizarre heat dome in 2021, April 2022 donned as a typical classic Oregon spring with lots of wet weather and moderate temperatures pushing the buds on the vines to expand and open.  And then out of nowhere came a blast of frigid Arctic air in mid-April that settled on us for several days plunging the temperature into the mid-20’s. When it was done, the vines in lower elevation sites (such as Clos Electrique) looked like they had been torched. Nearly all of the primary buds (where the primordial flowers reside) had been killed.  As secondary buds started to push a couple of weeks later, very few primordial flowers were evident. The Nebbiolo was almost completely wiped out and most of the Chardonnay, except for 2 clones that generally break bud later and were therefore partly spared. Most of the Pinot noir was hit as well, with the exception of some individual clones (a clone from Alsace and a few individual clones in the Martin Ray massale). Overall, it appears that Clos Electrique lost at least 70% of its crop.

Up at Abbey Ridge where part of the vineyard had not broken bud yet, things look better. Though there as well, the Chardonnay was mostly wiped out as were blocks of Pinot noir situated at lower elevations. The irony at Abbey Ridge is that the vines that were unaffected seem to be carrying a massive crop, part of which we will need to drop on the ground in order to facilitate ripening!

Because of the cold Spring and early Summer weather and the fact that bud break was delayed by the freeze, we did not experience bloom until early July. So it now all rests on October and the weather that we get during what will be a late harvest.

At times like these it is important to remain an optimist: I count some of our best vintages amongst those that occurred totally in October (1993, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2010 & 2011).


Share This

Recent News & Rants

old vines, old wines & an old winemaker

One of the advantages of being an “old-timer” in the world of enology and viticulture is that our vines have aged along with me. It is a well known phenomenon in the world of wine that old vines tend to produce superior wine. A recent tasting of 18 vintages of Clos Electrique Blanc magnums proved that adage to be true! Overall, the consensus was that 8-14 years of aging seems to be the absolute “sweet spot” for this magnificent vineyard.

There’s More... >
What do winter cold snaps do to the vineyard?

With climate progressively changing, one phenomena that is starting to occur fairly regularly is an occasional bout of intense winter cold weather. In January 2024, temperatures descended to as low as 4F in high altitude vineyards. Read on to learn how grapevines respond to this stress.

There’s More... >
Cheers to a fantastic year ahead!

Bottles of Cameron Winery wine that are currently for sale.

2022 Dundee Hills Chardonnay, 2021 White Oak Pinot noir, 2021 Abbey Ridge Pinot noir, 2021 Clos Electrique Rouge, 2021 Clos Electrique Blanc, 2022 White […]

There’s More... >

... for anything your heart desires: a wine, a retailer, a rant, a newsletter, true love (if you’re not too picky). It’s all one convenient, global search away:

(or close this incredibly helpful search tool).