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Winter Weather Takes A Toll On Grape Crop

The weather has taken a toll on just about everything this winter, including local wineries.
Matt Cassavaugh makes wine at Casa Larga Vineyards in Fairport.
Every winter, he pays the utmost attention to the weather.
These cold temps have the power to destroy their grape vines.
This year, Cassavaugh is worried about bud damage.
"The buds contain most of next years plants, next years leaves, flowers and fruits. When it gets to a certain temperature the buds can die and damage future crops, next year and we'll have less fruit to work with," Cassavaugh explains.
There's really no way to prepare the crops for the cold.
Cassavaugh has mounted dirt on the trunk of the vine to prevent it from bursting.
Still, they saw 10%-20% bud damage.
Cassavaugh says that's not ideal, but they'll adjust come spring.
"We have to go out and find exactly how much bud damage we have. Let's say it's 15% what we'll do in the spring is leave 15% more buds than usual to account for the crop loss," says Cassavaugh.
Dave Bower, owner of Lake Ontario Winery and Vineyards in Hilton is constantly checking his crops.
He cuts the buds, and if they're green, they're still alive.
Bower sells 2,000-3,000 gallons of his wine a year, but when the temperatures plummet, so will business.
He says if you lost your crop, replanting the vines is the only option.
"That takes time and so you have to take out the vines and plant in more [vines] and that will take 3-4 years until you're into production again," Bower says.
But it's not all bad news, these temps are ideal for ice wine.

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