Weather Impacts Grape Crops

Icy Grapes

      GLENORA---(WENY) Blasts of arctic air cause January temperatures to plummet nearly five degrees below average in our area for longer than normal, causing some of the Finger Lakes grape crops to take a bit of a beating.
      Gene Pierce, owner of Glenora and Chatteau Lafayette Reneau Wineries on Seneca Lake, says the Northern and Southern ends of the lake have seen a difference in temperatures ranging from about 7-10 degrees, greatly affecting the harvest in the two regions.
      Pierce says, "With the colder temps and that longer period of time, it did cause some bud damage on the more sensitive varieties in the Northern part of the Finger Lakes Region."
      He also says in harsher winter seasons such as this, wine makers may see 80-90% of buds damaged to the North as opposed to 25-30% in the South near Watkins Glen.|
      Some of the more sensitive varietals include riesling, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon, among others.
     To find out whether a crop will be successful, wine makers will take a grape cane and open one of the grape buds with a razor blade. If the bud is green on the inside, the crop is alive and thriving. If the inside is brown or black, it indicates the crop has suffered some damage.
      Pierce says they pick about 10 canes, each with about ten buds. If the majority of the buds on the cane are dead, it will spell bad news for the harvest. However, it will tell growers what to do to make up for the expected loss.
     Pierce says, " If 50% of the buds were dead, then we would leave 50% more buds on the vines and hopefully get a normal crop."
      He also says the icy weather has yielded great results for their ice wine crop this year.