Oregon's Vital Center

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By Robert Farmer

Those few I-live-in-a-cave-types who need further convincing that Oregon's wine scene is not just full-grown but thriving, need only look at the hard evidence. Or, in this case, brick-and-mortar evidence.

Recent news that the Oregon Wine Services & Storage company--a temperature-controlled storage space and distribution center--embarked on a $3.5 million dollar expansion to increase its 110,000-square-foot capacity by 60,000 square feet was certainly no surprise. It's a function of necessity. In a report this year from Silicon Valley Bank about the state of the wine industry, it was predicted that the wine industry as a whole, and in particular Oregon, will continue its record expansion.

This on the heels of a trend that has seen demand for fine wines, especially higher-end Oregon pinot noir, grow by nearly 20 percent last year. Oregon's rapid wine-industry growth is also measurable in the sheer number of wineries, which rose from some 200 five years ago to more than 350 now. That, in turn, has given rise to the many ancillary businesses that serve the wine industry, including storage and distribution.

Just as we've seen in California, with an increase in refrigerated trucks roaming our highways and byways to deliver temp-controlled and properly stored wines to an increasingly demanding consumer, so too are Oregonians sharing their roads with well-painted delivery vehicles. The easing of Oregon's wine shipping laws has also allowed for shipping services to be a bigger part of the OWS services.

And whereas not long ago a shipment of an Oregon wine to the East Coast had to originate in California, now with the addition of the expanding facility in McMinnville and others like it, Oregon's wine industry is firmly entered into adulthood.

I say, congratulations and, of course, Cheers!

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