It’s no secret that the quality of wine is really up to Mother Nature every year so it’s no surprise how many times I have been asked how the grapes are doing this year. In past years we were spoiled with hot temperatures and little rain but unfortunately last year and this year we are seeing quite the opposite weather patterns. The late frosts, the cooler temperatures, an increase in rain fall and the amount of wind we are receiving in each storm has caused some challenges for this year’s production.

Grapes grow the best when they are slightly stressed searching for water and cooler temperatures. The amount of sunlight allows the grapes to produce higher levels of sugar in the grape clusters. Given the limited amount of sunlight and the rain and high humidity this is causing a greater chance for disease in the grapevines.  We combat this problem with a spray program that has been more frequent than last year due to current conditions.

While I do not mind the cooler temperatures, it starts to make the perfect combination for the bugs to come out and weeds to grow around the base of the vines.  We’ve already sprayed for ants who like to eat the baby that are currently growing on the vines. The next pest we expect to see are the Japanese beetles who love to eat grape leaves.  We are also currently spraying for diseases that love high humidity, such as powdery mildew.  Also a threat are the Asian lady beetles (a form of the ladybug), but they will not make an appearance till later in the year. All of this varies depending on the variety of grapes planted and their level of susceptibility to the diseases.

Since we are still recovering from the late frost and as we continue to spray for diseases, bugs and weeds, we are monitoring the vineyard to maintain great quality grapes and look forward to find out what future harvests will bring us

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Amanda Conkol and her husband Chris are the owners of Candlelight Winery
in Garrettsville, Ohio. Amanda’s passion for wine is evident in her weekly
column “Notes From The Vineyard”, but that’s not all Amanda is passionate
about. She maintains a full schedule raising twin daughters, working a day
job consulting as an IT Project Manager and is the Girl Troop Leader for
her daughters’ troop. When time allows Amanda loves to travel (especially
to Disney World) and go for runs throughout Nelson Township.