Local Vineyards On Alert with Cold Moving In


ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- One of Virginia's biggest businesses is being threatened by the upcoming cold weather.

At area wineries, workers are scrambling to save what is left of their vines before the cold arrives.

If you visit a local vineyard, you'll notice that all the vines are bare as all the grapes have been picked and converted into juice and wine that's stored in barrels.

A lot of the barrels are full this time of the year, but that doesn't mean there will be the same amount of juice going into next year.

Bluestone Vineyard, in Rockingham County, has seen its fair share of destruction when it comes to cold weather. Extreme freezing temperatures damage the tissue of the lifeline for grapes, the vine.

Lee Hartman, who is a manager and wine maker with the vineyard, shared, "two years ago, we had two days in a row of negative 10 degree weather, and we lost a couple thousand vines. It would be a very significant impact. If you don't have vines, you don't have grapes. If you don't have grapes, you don't have wine."

Hartman adds that wind and humidity have a large effect on the cold's ability to damage vines like these. Placing vines at different elevations can also help save some of their crop.

Given the damage done by frost in 2013, this cold punch could spell disaster.

"We had a late frost this past year,” continued Hartman. “We were still able to get a little more than half of our original anticipated harvest, but it really hurts a lot."

Hartman and his crew have about ten and a half acres of vines to take care of this winter.


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