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State Aid Helps Grape Growers After Harsh Winter

A harsh winter has left local grape growers in a jam. Thanks to state aid, relief is on the way.
Art Hunt is the owner of Hunt Country Vineyards, a 6th generation family farm. A 55 acre vineyard, with nearly 40,000 wines. Art and his wife Joyce opened the indoor winery in 1981.
Joyce says, "we have an extremely broad range of wines from dry to oak-aged reds and chardonnay to ice wines."
This winter's extremely low temps wreaked havoc on some vineyards in western New York.
Art says the grapes can withstand -5 degree temperatures, here in Yates, they were at -11, with some vines averaging 50% dead buds.
But now, help is on the way for 19 counties in upstate New York.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is granting emergency loans to farms that lost its crop due to the wintry weather.
Art explains, "they have a generous program where they'll pay $5-$10 per vine, which pays for the cost of replacement vine and the cost of planting it "
Art tried to help himself, by covering the canes with hay to keep them warm. He has to slice the bud to see if it's still viable, when they're green they're healthy, but the black buds are dead.
"This is not a disaster but its a serious problem but well have a pretty good quality crop and fairly good quantity," Art says.


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