As I mentioned last week, what a month May has been; warm temperature, cool temperatures, hot days and some really cold nights. After I mentioned that we lost most of our vines to the frost some of you noticed that are few vines looked like they were coming back. We had a glimmer of hope that we might get something from the vines… but Mother Nature took control. The beginning of May showed a lot of promise for a great crop season for us. The warmer temperatures early in the month allowed us to be out in the vineyard pruning, weeding and cleaning up from the winter. 

It was great driving through the vineyard and seeing the leaves start to bloom and the vines really start to come alive. Sure, we had some vines that didn’t survive the winter but overall we were really pleased with how everything survived the harsh winter. For a while there it almost felt like we were in California enjoying the weather and the vines.

Then about mid-month, Mother Nature brought us back to reality. Warnings of a late freeze came through so we braced ourselves for the worst. As a small winery owner there isn’t much you can do to protect the vines so you hope for the best. After our assessment from the first frost, the vineyard in Garrettsville was hit the hardest by the frost – losing about 80% of the vines. The vineyards in Burton and Chesterland only had about a 30% loss and even the damage to those vines was so minor that we were hopeful a great summer would bring those vines back.

Then last we received another warning. Unfortunately the word “frost” was for only part of the state. A more severe term was being tossed around – “freeze”. Upon waking up the day after the freeze we instantly knew things were not good. The grass seemed to be covered in a thick layer of white and it took a few extra minutes to scrap off the car windows. An early walk through the vineyard showed much damage, leaves had already wilted, buds that had not burst were limp and much of the vines were frozen.

As usual, our two other vineyards were not hit as hard but there will be a lot of work at the vineyard at the winery. In the meantime, we look forward to June and hopefully no more freezes!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit

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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.