Elmira/Corning Regional Airport


Disaster Declaration: Finger Lakes Vineyards

Written By: Tanja Rekhi
Disaster Declaration: Finger Lakes Vineyards

SCHUYLER COUNTY (WENY) -- A brutal Winter has left wine makers in the Finger Lakes anxious about their crop. The US Department of Agriculture made a disaster declaration that will allow those impacted to apply for federal assistance.
      Those included are: Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Oswego and Yates, Allegany, Cortland, Erie, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tompkins, Wayne and Wyoming. 
      "A number of our wineries here in the region are going to have to take advantage of it to keep things rolling forward," said Paul Thomas, Executive Director of the Seneca Wine Trail.
      Wineries are looking at bud and vine damage. At Lakewood Vineyards, their buds are alright, but they won't know the impact to the vines until mid-Summer when the crop is in full bloom.
     "We have checked our primary buds in some of our more sensitive varieties," said David Stamp, one of the owners and the Vineyard Manager. "We just are not seeing elevated damage to the buds, so we're gonna be a little off in our overall crop, but it's not going to have a huge impact."
     Meantime, further north up Seneca Lake Fulkerson Winery has some damage they are somewhat concerned about. Some of their newer vines, used to make Gruiner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, and some Rieslings they're bottling this week could be impacted by the constant low temperatures mixed with little wind this Winter.
  "We expect we will have some losses, most wineries, depending on where they are will," said Wine Sales Director, John Iszard. "It will effect us and we hope that if that funding is in place it will help those that need it, in terms of replanting and getting vineyards back to where they were before the freezing."
     The further north a vineyard is, the more damage it will likely see. The full extent of the toll isn't known yet. Most wineries won't know the impact to the vines until mid-summer when the crop is in full bloom.