Weather And The Wineries

By: Stacy Berman
By: Stacy Berman

February 20, 2006

Winemakers across the region keep an eye to the weather. So when temperatures flip flop from the 60s to the 30s, how do grape vines handle it? ABC16's Meteorologist Stacy Berman joins us live to show us how the vines are doing.

Wine is important to the commonwealth?s economy, so when Mother Nature plays tricks with the weather, not only do the grape vines suffer, but also the wine business as a whole.

Harvesting of the grapes can vary from year to year, but it is typically late summer into early fall.

"We usually begin harvesting late august, some of our white varieties and that will continue through September and the early portion of October," said Andy Reagan a Wine Maker at the Jefferson Vineyards.

From July through September we were in a drought. Just how did the lack of rain affect the grapes?

"It depends on a year, like 2005 with the drought and a lot of sunny weather, the actual ripening of the grapes were delayed until later, so typically we'll be done with harvest [the] 1st or 2nd week in October and we were still picking into November this year," Reagan said.

It's actually better for the grapes to have some rain, but as Andy explains there is something called too much of a good thing.

"The nice long days of sun and warmth allowed the grapes to ripen very evenly as opposed to accelerated or possibly rotting, it we had a rainier season," he explained.

With the recent rollercoaster ride of temperatures, we've been lucky here at the Jefferson Vineyards that it hasn't affected the grape vines just yet. But if our temperatures level out on the warm side, and then a late season frost occurs, that could damage the whole fruit season.

"The vines are right now in the stage we call dormancy and that first real cold spell of the air kind of shocks the grapes and allows them to know that it's winter," said Reagan.

While grape harvesting is still months away, it looks as though this season is fairing quite well. And in plain terms, as long as we don't have any late season frost attacks, the grapes will continue to flourish.

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