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Notes from the vineyard

So apparently I jinxed myself in last week’s article. I mentioned how great the weather has been and how lucky we were to get a head start on the growing season. Then unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and warnings of frost and hard freezes were running across the bottom of my tv screen. We are currently about 4 weeks ahead of the growing season and usually are not “safe” from a frost until mid-May. However if you recall the Spring of 2010 we had a mild March, a nice April and 3 feet of snow in May followed by a week of temperatures in the 20’s around May 23rd. This year is looking eerily similar to 2010 except the temperatures in March this year have been a lot higher than expected. As temperatures dipped to the low 20’s we had a lot of our customer asking what the impact has been. We won’t know the full damage until late April / early May but here is a quick reference chart that we use to estimate how much damage we should expect. Many thanks to Tom Zabadal at Michigan State University, Southwest Michigan Research & Extension Center for putting this together for wineries in frost zones. If the vines are still dormant we can survive some really cold temperatures, however if the bud is just beginning to swell, meaning the bud is brown but no other color temperatures can drop to 13 degrees before we start to see some damage. However if the bud is in full swell where the bud is starting to look pink or green once temperatures reach 26 degrees most wineries will see damage to about 50% of their vines. Right now a lot of wineries are in this swell state however a number of them have reported they have bud burst (leaves are just starting to form on the vine). If temperatures drop to 28 degrees they will see major damage. In late May 2010 we were at the stage of seeing the third leaf in almost full bloom when temperatures dropped to 21 degrees two nights in row. During that time we lost 90% of the vineyard to frost damage and lost an entire season of crop. So hopefully Mother Nature is on our side this year and quickly warms back up for a fantastic year of grape growing! Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on some of these events or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com or call 330.527.4118.

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