"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

Less jammed up in winetown

At winetown

Heavy traffic on Main Street, Carlton, Oregon, on Thanksgiving/Stapilus

Talk in news reports about substantial crowds (reflecting lower gas prices) but low-level shopping (reflecting the general economic troubles) on this post-Thanksgiving weekend found reflection in smaller locales as well as larger.

Carlton wine shops

Carlton wine shops

In Oregon wine country, there are two especially large-scale weekend events, one on Memorial Day weekend, the other on Thanksgiving weekend. Mass crowds run through the wine towns, and wine tasting rooms are packed. In our small town of Carlton (population about 1,800 people, 20+ wineries or tasting rooms) this weekend is as busy as the year gets. So what was business like?

The story from place to place was consistent. The number of visitors was comparable to last year, maybe down a little. The number of cars was fewer, the traffic jams a little less jammed, because of a shuttle bus program recently established (a wise move, in intensive wine-tasting country), but the number of people seemed similar. But the number of buyers was definitely down. After a strong Friday, the number of buyers on Saturday was definitely down.

Not much disagreement from what we heard: The economy is definitely putting a crimp in things. For whatever it’s worth, wine country isn’t immune. And may be a good indicator.

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