The winter flooding season returned to the Rogue Ales Hopyard during the first week of December. Several days of heavy rains across Northwest Oregon caused the Willamette River to slowly fill up and spill over its banks.
According to the government gauges, the Willamette was still a couple of feet below flood stage. But the river must not have read the official report. We watched as the water rose over Wigrich Road, flowed into our neighbor’s hazelnut orchard and then into the Hopyard. We were stuck for about 24-hours. The current of water moving across the road was too deep, too swift and too strong for us to risk trying to get out. We saw small trees float by. By the next day we were able to get through in our pick-up.
As farmers, we’ve learned to live with and appreciate the winter floods. The rich, alluvial loams at the Hopyard are the gift of centuries of Ice Age Floods and the more recent winter flooding of the Willamette River. The Native American and early settlers adapted to the rhythm of the river – and so have we.
It’s a small price to pay for farming in Oregon’s Wigrich Appellation – the world’s best terroir for aroma hops. More info on Rogue Ales Hopyard.