WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | Weather

UPDATE: Vineyard Suvrives Spring Freeze Scare

By: Frankie Jupiter Email
By: Frankie Jupiter Email

Protecting Plants

Since cold air may be on the way, there are some ways to help protect your outdoor plants. You could wrap smaller plants with frost cloth or a bed sheet from your home.

"The only thing you want to avoid is a lot of plastic, because plastic can actually transmit the cold down through the material right on to the leaves," said Norm Carlson of Snow's Garden Center.

Potted plants can also be moved inside or in a closed off garage.

March 27, 2012

Update

It appears at least King Family Vineyards was able to weather the overnight freeze warning without losing any of its crop.

Owner Carrington King tells CBS19 the temperature on the vines in the vineyard hovered around 33 degrees. He says the year's crop of wine grapes should be fine as a result.

King Family and other local vineyards were worried about the potential freeze because temperatures at or below 32 degrees can create water inside the fruiting structure, potentially destroying the entire crop.

The Crozet vineyard had a helicopter on stand-by to propel warm air down into the vines, but luckily they never had to use it.


March 26, 2012

Many wineries in the area are bracing for freezing temperatures Monday evening. And if the temperature reaches the freezing mark on the vines in the vineyard, it could kill the growth process of the grapes.

"We could loose all of our crop tonight. So it's obviously a terrifying situation," said Carrington King, owner of King Family Vineyards in Albemarle County.

King and his staff are taking some precautions to protect their crop. First, a lawn crew cut the grass to help save the vineyard from freezing temperatures.

"That will actually help cold air drain quicker out of the vineyard. That cold air will obviously sink as far to the ground as it can and slowly run to lower lying areas," King explained.

The vineyard owner says vines are already budding due to the unseasonably warm winter, but if freezing air lingers it could mean a dead crop come harvest time.

"We could have water inside the fruiting structure bursting cell walls and therefore destroying the potential for crop this year," said King.

But Mother Nature can also provide a helping hand. King says steady winds can help save the crops and offset the potential disastrous effects of the freezing temperatures.

"If the wind continues, you really don't have the effect where the cold air sinks and the warmer air stacks on top to be able to find that warmer air. It's just all mixed up and jumbled up," said King.

A helicopter is on standby to help create artificial wind, if needed. King says the rotating propeller blades pulls down warm air to help keep the vines from reaching the freezing mark. In the meantime, King Family and other vineyards and wineries across central Virginia will be following Monday night's weather with hopes that their crops will be spared.


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