Frigid air from the north is making its way through the Midwest and East Coast, threatening to break numerous all-time-low temperature records. Naturally, vineyards and winery owners in the frozen areas are on high alert, and are worried about what it could do to their vines. Here's what many are saying in the news:
The cold air pushing toward America’s heartland is of a duration and magnitude rarely seen since record-keeping began in the 1870s. In Minneapolis, forecasters warned that all-time wind chill records could be broken, with a stunning -65ºF predicted for Monday morning.
Even Minnesota’s cold-hardy vines may be damaged by the bitter temperatures. U of M Enology Project manager Katie Cook said via e-mail that those vines should be hardy at least to 25-below, and that La Crescent has survived at 30-below, “but that doesn’t mean that they don’t suffer from the cold.”
One of Virginia's biggest businesses is being threatened by the upcoming cold weather. At area wineries, workers are scrambling to save what is left of their vines before the cold arrives.
The cold may provide a brief break from icewine production for some but winemakers and vineyard managers will be busy watching temperatures Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening that could be cold enough to damage grape vines. Wineries will be using their wind machines if possible to try to get slightly warmer air to the ground and save vines and the next crop’s buds from damage.
“We definitely are going to have some significant damage, it’s been so cold for so long and got cold pretty quickly,” said Nancy Janes at Whitewater Hill Vineyards. “It seems like it’s getting colder faster in the fall and not allowing some grapes to get winter hardy. Other factors also play into that but we’ve seen a lot early extremely cold events.”