Grape crops damaged by extreme cold

HARTVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) — For Ohio wineries, this year is expected to be a low harvest year, if there are any grapes to harvest at all.

Growers expect temperatures this winter killed buds on the vines for certain varieties of grapes.

Grapevines have three types of buds. The primary bud gives the best grapes, but there also is a secondary and tertiary bud that can produce grapes. If all the buds are damaged, grapes won’t grow on the vine.

“They probably lost their crop this year and the jury is out yet on exactly how big a crop they’re going to have and whether or not it’s going to have long-term damage,” said Bill Bakan, co-owner of Maize Valley Winery in Hartville.

The amount of damage will depend on what variety of grapes are being grown in the vineyards. Some, like Frontenac Gris, are able to handle extreme cold like the area had this winter.

But one popular variety called Vinifera is not so lucky.

“It’s not as cold hardy as this one and its buds are probably smoked for the 2013-14 growing season,” Bakan said.

The Vinifera is used in a variety of wines, including Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay and Rieslings.

Making ice wines later this year also may be a challenge. And Bakan said some damage from the cold may not even show up for two or three years because the stress on the vines could leave some more susceptible to diseases.

Even though there may be some challenges for Ohio wineries this year, it doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be any Ohio wine. It just may be a little bit different.

“Go there, visit them. They’re going to have stuff, it just may be a bit different. And it’s a good opportunity to try something different and expand your horizons,” Bakan said.

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