It’s been a brutal winter and in addition to our sanity, the freezing cold has done severe damage to our wineries. We’re more than happy to toast to the start of spring with a fresh glass of wine but for New York wineries the brutal sting of this winter will linger for some time.
While the folks out in California have it easy maintaining their grapes, dealing with freezing temperatures can destroy much, if not all of a winery’s buds. Things are so bad in the Finger Lakes wine country that the area has officially been declared an “agricultural disaster zone.” It’s feared that 75 to 90 percent of buds may be damaged in the region. Do you know how many bottles of wine that is? To cope with the “disaster” designation, the wineries will be eligible for loans and financial assistance from the government. It’s the least they can do.
How bad are things? Different vines can handle freezing temperatures differently, but it is estimated that even Riesling (the most frost resistant) has sustained heavy damage. While bud damage can ruin a year’s worth of return, the major concern is the damage to the vines, which can take years to replace.
The NY wine and grapes business is a $4.8 billion industry and this brutal winter is guaranteed to take a toll on success. We’re hoping the temperatures continue to climb so growers can get their vines back up and running soon.