Elmira/Corning Regional Airport


Growing Season Late for Wine

Written By: Tanja Rekhi
Growing Season Late for Wine

BURDETT (WENY) -- For grape growers like Phil Davis of Damiani Wine Cellars, these are anxious times.
     Damage from a harsh Winter and a late start to Spring could add up to a dismal growing season.
     Phil Davis, one of the owners and grower, has already lost some of his Merlot and Riesling crop because of the Winter. His neighbors further to the north on Seneca Lake didn't fare as well.
     "I'm driving by vineyards where you see no green," said Davis. "Those people not only have had their crop influenced this year. And if they recover, if their vines make it back, it a 4 year process to get the vineyard back in shape. I'm sure they'll see some vine death."
      Davis says the crop is down about 20% compared to last year. And now, the late Spring is causing problems because some growers delayed pruning to see if their vines would grow.
     "Consequently the fallout of that is the people that prune lost work," said Davis.
     He says migrant workers who do pruning for the vineyard either moved on or hoped to catch work at the apple orchards.
     Meantime, wineries say it's too soon to say what the impact will be, or whether or not it will impact wine prices.
     "Yes, we had a harsh Winter, but that doesn't have any indication on the quality of the fruit," said Justin Boyette, an owner and the wine maker at Hector Wine Company. "It could actually be better quality because we have a smaller crop."
     Buds that are completely damaged could take years to regrow, if at all. The full impact to the vines won't be known until mid-summer when the crop is in full bloom.