Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
01.20.2014  
 

Frigid Winter Tough on Grapes

Polar vortex drops temperatures from Central Plains across the East

 
by Linda Jones McKee
 
 
“ferrante
 
Low temperatures in Ohio ranged from -6° to -16°F during the cold weather event Jan. 6-7. Photo Source: Ferrante Winery
Lancaster, Pa.—Grapegrowers east of the Rockies often face cold winters. January 2014 has reinforced that understanding, as temperatures earlier this month dropped to lows not experienced for two decades across the Midwest and into the East. Those low temperatures, accompanied by strong winds, came from a large pocket of very cold air known as a polar vortex, which normally sits over the polar region.

How cold did it get? The Finger Lakes region of New York, with approximately 11,000 acres of grapes, had low temperatures between -3° and -11°F on the east side of Lake Seneca. Overall, New York has 350 wineries and 37,000 acres of grapes. In Pennsylvania, low temperatures ranged from -1°F in Lancaster County to -10°F in Tioga County in the north-central part of the state; Pennsylvania has a total of 13,600 vineyard acres and 172 wineries. The low temperatures in Ohio, with 1,900 acres of grapes and 144 wineries, varied from -6°F in the southeast to -16°F in the northwest.

Vines not as cold hardy
Dr. Imed Dami, associate professor of viticulture at Ohio State University Agricultural Research and Development Center, reported that temperatures in Ohio had been even colder in 2009, when the lows ranged between -7°F and -24°F. “The 2014 cold, however, was different (in a bad way),” he stated. “It was an advective freezing event, meaning a massive cold air (front) moved to our region with windy conditions. To make matters worse, the lowest temperatures lingered for hours. In 2009, the minimum temperatures were reached and stayed for a short time (minutes instead of hours) and resulted from a radiative freeze with calm conditions.”

In addition, Dami thinks that the vines were not as cold hardy prior to the temperature lows Jan. 6-7. “December was unusually mild, with temperature highs reaching the 60°s for several days,” Dami commented. “This was not unique to Ohio, but observed across the East and Midwest. Mild weather prompts grapes to lose hardiness, or ‘de-acclimate.’ There was large fluctuation of temperatures between highs and lows a few days before the temperature dipped Jan. 6-7. Freeze/thaw cycles in mid-winter are not desirable, as they lead to more damage.

“We did not experience this phenomenon in 2009. In fact, in 2009 air temperatures were below freezing for 10 days before the coldest temperature was reached. The weather pattern in 2009 caused grapes to reach maximum cold hardiness….Unfortunately, I doubt that the same varieties will have the same cold hardiness as in 2009 and will likely see more damage this year.”

Hans Walter-Peterson, viticultural extension specialist with the Finger Lakes Grape Program at Cornell University, noted in the “Finger Lakes Vineyard Update” that early bud examinations indicate 6% bud loss in Riesling and up to 26% (close to the lake) and 20% (uphill from the lake) in Merlot. The median bud freezing temperature range is -11° to -14°F for Cabernet Franc and -9°F to -13°F for Riesling.

According to Dr. Murli Dharmadikari, extension enologist at Iowa State University, growers in the upper Midwest know winters will be cold, and therefore they plant vineyards with cold-hardy Minnesota hybrids in Iowa, Minnesota and North and South Dakota. It’s only in regions where vinifera can be grown that unusually low temperatures are a problem.

Short of replanting their vineyards with Minnesota hybrids, what can grape growers do at this point? Mark Chien, viticulture extension educator at the Pennsylvania State University, stated in his “Wine Grape Information for Pennsylvania and the Region” newsletter: “Growers will certainly want to cut buds and make pruning adjustments. And given the way this season is going (cold), the timing and choice of pruning varieties is important (a blend of value of variety and cold tolerance), usually the Bordeaux reds would be pruned last. It’s hard for growers not to be in the vineyard, but it’s better to wait to the latest possible time to prune and still get it done before bud break. The good thing about the cold is that it should help to suppress disease and insect overwintering populations.”

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 $627 million
5%
$8,028 million
5%
April 2014 $595 million $7,623 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 $184 million
17%
$1,890 million
15%
April 2014 $157 million $1,649 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 406
34%
252
19%
April 2014 302 212
     
 
MORE » Released on 05.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • May 28-30
     
    WIneMaker Annual Conference
     
  • May 28-30
     
    International Chardonnay Symposium
     
  • June 2
     
    Taste of Mendocino
     
  • June 3
     
    Napa Valley Viticultural Field Day
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: $10 Wine Would Cost $40-plus Under COOL »
 
As a Napa Valley producer, we have spent 30 years building our brands in the...
Reader: Pete Przybylinski
 
Article: Be a Sustainable Wine Ambassador »
 
A great idea. All TR employees at every responsible estate should be encouraged/required to become...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Historic Napa Winery Standing Tall Again »
 
It would be nice to know that Trost Jacking and Heavy Moving is the structural...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Women for WineSense offering scholarships »
 
This is fantastic! Women in Wine Education must find ways to continue their individual pursuit...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Historic Napa Winery Standing Tall Again »
 
Very Interesting, I'm so glad the building is successfully being saved.
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Retail Sales Associate
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Country Concierge
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Harvest Intern
 Geyserville, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Wine Educator
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Bussers
 Santa Rosa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Wine Specialist
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room Represent...
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Wine And Spirits Sales...
 San Diego, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Region Manager, Artisa...
 Los Angeles, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Region Sales Manager -...
 Manchester, NH
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.