Wine expert educates community on viticulture

Professor Gregory Jones of the Environmental Studies Department at Southern Oregon University will be giving a lecture on how climate change has Wine Lecture 2affected the growth of grapevines, and in turn, the production and quality of wine. The lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 in Ice Auditorium.

Jones has spent the last two decades studying wine and grape production.

He has done analysis on the climate and soil of many Oregon regions and has determined different varietals of grapes that can grow in such places. For instance, from his analysis of the oil and climate in the Bear Creek Valley, Jones determined that Merlot, Syrah and Viogneir grapes could be grown there due to a warmer climate in this region. These grape types have expanded the grape varietals that are typically grown in Oregon, which include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.

The climate is continually warming, which has allowed the wine industry to expand to Oregon. Such climate change can create future success in the Oregon Wine Industry.

“In the 50s and 60s it was almost impossible to grow wine grapes in Oregon,” Jones said. Jones has done a variety of projects pertaining to viticulture in other countries, he even received a fellowship to do work in Australia. He also studied port wine during a year long sabbatical in the Douro Valley located in Portugal. In 2009, Jones won Person of the Year from Oregon Wine Press Magazine and was named one of the top 50 Influential People in the wine world by Decanter Magazine.

Wine lectureCurrently, Jones is working on projects in Spain, China and Italy. He also teaches a few classes at Southern Oregon University, including meteorology and Scientology. Jones is also working on a book about regional grape growing in Oregon. Among all these duties, Jones still finds some free-time to enjoy going to the coast and mountain biking with his wife and two sons.

“We are sports oriented people,” Jones said.

Jones also enjoys drinking his wine as much as he enjoys studying its cultivation. Jones’ interest in wine was sparked during his first career as a chef.

“Wine is like food,” Jones said, who made it a priority to learn about wine and food pairing in the kitchen. “Wine was a big part of what I did in the kitchen.”

Jones also drinks wines to the season. He drinks red wines in the winter and lighter wines in the summer. But when asked what his favorite wine was Jones said, “I can say that I like good wine.”

Mariah Gonzales / Culture editor

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Greg Jones visited Portugal during his one year sabbatical, where he studied port wine.

Jones traveled to vineyard in Portugal’s Douro Valley, where he conducted some of his research on viticulture.

Mariah Gonzales

Photo courtesy of Greg Jones