The Student News Site of Ithaca College

Ithaca Week

Ithaca Week

Ithaca Week

Local wineries and hops farms expect losses from winter


Ithaca – Feb. 24, 2014 – Tompkins County wineries and hops growers are anticipating losses in their respective crops this harvest after experiencing extremely cold temperatures throughout winter.

The colder winter season, hops grower Josh Grazul said, causes plants to burn more starch in order to survive.

“That’s how they are going through hibernation,” Grazul said. “It’s like an animal eating a lot before going to sleep. And when it gets colder, it has to burn more starch to stay alive. So it might be that I’ll have to add more fertilizer or more irrigation this coming season because of the harsh winter.”

Although local wineries do not have to worry about quality, the cold puts grapevines in a vulnerable state. But, Frédéric Bouché, owner of Ports of New York winery said there is reason for winemakers to be hopeful. The season may have been cold, Bouché said, but it was a gradual decline, which allowed grapevines time to adjust and prepare for winter.

“If we have warmer [temperatures] … the grapevines will start to irrigate themselves again, get more moisture into them,” Bouché said. “But if ever we have a cold snap, then they are really going to freeze–even much harder than what just happened, because they are not prepared for it anymore. They are ready to bud.”

Amber Zadrozny, Tasting Room Manager at Six Mile Creek Vineyard, said she also has been working to overcome obstacles brought on by the cold.

“Normally, when you prune grapevines, if you’re in ideal conditions, you want to leave about 40 buds per vine,” Zadrozny said. “This year, we’re taking extra precautions, and leaving 60 to 70, maybe even 80 buds per vine.”

In addition to concerns over grape production, Bouché and Zadrozny said the cold season discourages wine tasting.

“As far as I’m concerned, the winter definitely has an impact on the number of people who come to the tasting,” Bouché said. “I’ve talked to many others and it has been a pattern. And actually, not just in terms of wineries but other types of businesses as well. For instance, Valentines Day: normally, that Friday is a very busy day for me, and it was actually fairly quiet in relationship to previous years.”

Zadrozny said Six Mile Creek is hosting more special events, such as live music and blind tastings, to attract more customers. But for now, vineyards and hops farmers are holding their breath, hoping for steadily warmer temperatures.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Ithaca Week

Your donation will support the student journalists of Ithaca College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Ithaca Week

Comments (0)

All Ithaca Week Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *