Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

Warm Winter Helps Wineries

Local Winery Owners Enjoyed Warm Weather, Not So Happy with Cold Snap.

Winter Weather & Wineries

May 11, 2012

            FINGERLAKES REGION (WENY) -- Don Kilcoyne, co-owner of Catherine Valley Winery, loves his business.  What's been more difficult this year is the early warmth, which caused some grape buds to break before they were ready.

          "We really lost about 20 percent of our fruitfulness," says Kilcoyne.  "I believe the grapes themselves will be able to overcome that."

           It's a similar story down the road at Hector Wine Company, where growers say the frosty nights in April and May caused damage.  Tina Hazlitt says the grapes are alright, but not not all of their fruit did so well.

           "Unfortunately it was early bloom on the cherries, and we don't think we'll have much of a cherry crop this year," says Hazlitt.  "But fortunately for the grapes, we think we're going to do better"

           Even though they've had some roller coaster weather, vineyard owners say grapes are resilient. They're hoping the nice weather sticks around for this weekend, to bring in more business for Mother's Day.

          "Tomorrow [Saturday] it'll be busy with the mothers and daughters," says Jason Hazlitt, also with Hector Wine Company.  "Really it's a family tradition, so we get a lot of family groups in."

         "Every year we have buses scheduled, it seems this year we have quite a few college buses scheduled to come into our area," commented Kilcoyne.  "So I have a feeling we'll do very well this weekend."

         Winery owners say the start to the season has been great, despite some weather setbacks.  Customers are still flocking to the Fingerlakes, and that's a good sign for business. 

         "This spring has been incredible, it's been one of the best on record for us. We've done very well and we anticipate it will continue through the season," said Kilcoyne at Catherine Valley Winery.