McMinnville winery sues to stop nearby pot grow

Lawsuit claims pot operation will produce foul-smelling particles, negatively impact grapes

Moe Momtazi looks out over his Maysara Winery south of McMinnville, April 21, 2017 (KOIN)
Moe Momtazi looks out over his Maysara Winery south of McMinnville, April 21, 2017 (KOIN)

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) — Moe Momtazi has been growing grapes in the hills south of McMinnville for almost 20 years. His Maysara Winery sells only biodynamically produced wine.

“Our farm got certified in 2005,” Momtazi told KOIN 6 News.

A bottle of Pinot Gris from the Maysara Winery near McMinnville, April 21, 2017 (KOIN)
A bottle of Pinot Gris from the Maysara Winery near McMinnville, April 21, 2017 (KOIN)

But he wouldn’t say much else. He’s going to court in an attempt to stop a marijuana-producing operation from going in nearby. His lawyer advised him not to discuss the lawsuit.

But in documents obtained by KOIN 6 News, the lawsuit claims the pot operation will produce foul-smelling particles that will negatively impact the quality of his grapes.

Scientist (and grape-grower) David Beck told KOIN 6 News that scientifically no one has demonstrated a direct example of contamination from pot that is growing. But other plants, like eucalyptus, have been proven to compromise grape crops.

Controlling eucalyptus flavor in wine

“Eucalyptus groves produce volatile organic compounds and those can actually be found in and flavor grapes that are grown nearby,” Beck said.

He added that excessive smoke from wildfires definitely does the same thing to grapes.

“We can go pretty far afield in terms of examples, so there’s every reason to believe that there is danger here,” he said.

And that’s why Momtazi filed the lawsuit. He claims one of his grape buyers already canceled an order because of the nearby pot grow.

“We want to work with nature instead of against it,” Momtazi said.

KOIN 6 News reached out to the owner of the property named in the lawsuit but have not heard back at this time.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

The Maysara Winery south of McMinnville, April 21, 2017 (KOIN)
The Maysara Winery south of McMinnville, April 21, 2017 (KOIN)