Wine program students learn with new vines

WINCHESTER, Ore. -- The wine business is a global one, and with the help of new technology stemming from Germany, students at the Southern Oregon Wine Institute will be able to study a taller variety of vine.

Chris Lake, the SOWI director, says the new types of vines are easier to manage. "Getting this newer style of plant, we're able to get this vineyard in production with a little less labor," Lake said.

With a vine that requires less labor and time to develop, it could lead to more income for Oregon wineries. "The leaves come out at the area that you really want them to already be in the vineyards," Lake said. "If you have weeds around the plant you can spray herbicides around them without damaging the plant. Small animals that would normally eat your plant can't eat it."

This taller variety of Sauvignon Blanc isn't just cost effective: the heart of it lies in its trunk. "It's a taller plant with more storage, more carbohydrate reserve," Lake said, "so that the plant can come back in the spring better."

Standing over 30 inches, 1200 of these vines will sit on two acres of a small vineyard for students to compare old world and new world methods of growing wine.

In just a few more years these plants will be ready for bottling, and students can taste the fruits of their labor.