Vineyards Deal with Damage to Grapevines

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

MOUNT CRAWFORD, Va. -- With the frost last week, wineries are dealing with damage to grapevines.

Some are dealing with more damage than others, which depends on a number of variables, including land elevation.

Head Winemaker Stephan Heyns at CrossKeys Vineyards said there's not too much you can do.

However, you can use wind machines to minimize possible damage.

Some wineries also spray their vines with potassium or nitrogen before a frost.

The wind propeller mixes the hot and cold air so that the temperature increases around the vines.

The closer the vines are, the more likely they will be spared from frost.

When there's a frost or unknown weather event, winemakers already have reserves on hand from previous years.

"The young vines we definitely had a big loss on that, most of those are gone, of the older vines we've got about 60 % loss on that. So we definitely have some fruit. Luckily the bud break was uneven, so we've got some buds that are still coming out, so we'll still have a little bit more than what we think we are going to have, but we definitely had a big loss," said Heyns.

They'll be looking at the buds over the next few weeks.

The amount of damage depends on the amount of hours that it's below 32 degrees.

Heyns says it's also about the quality of the grapes, which they will determine once they start harvesting in August.

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