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Madison: Vineyards hurt by 'topsy-turvy' weather

7:43 PM, May 2, 2012   |    comments
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MADISON -- This year's topsy-turvy temperatures have wreaked havoc on fruit farmers, especially in Ohio's wine growing region.

On this week's Outdoors with Big Daddy, WKYC photojournalist Carl Bachtel heads to wine country to survey the damage caused by the latest Springtime freeze.

Here at Debonne Vineyards, construction of a new tasting room is evidence of growth. But on the acres and acres of vines, Mother Nature had other ideas.

Growers there say they are in, by far, the best area for growing grapes in the state of Ohio and there's a lot of damage here. That damage comes from frost.

April temperatures were not kind to the grapevines, freezing the life out of new shoots and fruit buds. They're looking at nearly a 90 percent loss of Concord grapes, less of the chardonnay.

For vineyard manager Gene Sigel, seeing years of hard work lost is difficult.

Sigel says it's part of farming, you have to expect some losses when you're in an agricultural industry.

The vines will leaf up over the summer, but they won't produce fruit. Production of wines that use Concord grapes, like their Holiday and River Rouge, will be way down, but all wines will be affected.

Fortunately they have good inventories and that's one of the keys to an estate grower is to have a lot of tanks and a lot of wine in the cellar, but there will be some price increases because it's area-wide, all the way from Michigan, Pennsylvania, to New York, all over the Great Lakes region.


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