Constant cold taking toll on area wine makers

Crops dying in cold winter

XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – It is normally best to keep white wines chilled before serving.

But this winter has taken the concept to the extreme for wineries across the state.

“It’s been pretty bad,” said Charles Edwards, sales manager for Caesar Creek Vineyards in Xenia. “We’ve had twelve days below zero, I believe.”

Wine grapes grown in the Midwest can usually take a couple of days with temperatures dropping below zero. Businesses like Caesar Creek Vineyards use a hybrid style of grape that can withstand a normal winter.

“They’re meant for our climate so they can withstand some of the colder days,” said Edwards. “The stuff in California wouldn’t withstand this.”

But when temperatures consistently stay below zero, it starts to impact the next harvest.

A recent sample of some of vines showed damaged buds. Walter Borda, the manager at Caesar Creek Vineyards, said he expects up to 90 percent of his primary bud to have been destroyed.

It can equal up to thousands of pounds of grapes taken away from the coming year’s batch.

The Ohio Wine Producer’s Association expects millions of dollars to be lost because of the frigid winter.

“Everything you’ll buy this year is 2013,” said Edwards. “It won’t hurt this year but it might affect us next year.”

Fruit and vegetable growers are also reporting acres of crops lost from the cold.

Experts said prices at the grocery store should not be impacted too much because of competition.

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