The mild winter’s impact on New York grape production

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By De Shaun Robinson

Despite the recent storms that dropped several inches of snow across the area, we have been stuck in an unusually warm winter pattern. That can put a lot of stress on crops, such as grapes, and the people whose livelihoods depend on a good harvest.

” You need nice long persistent cold winter for grapes vines to put on all their defenses for the season. When you have a winter like this one, which has been pretty mild , it’s like they have been putting on all their fall jacket all winter, so they are not prepared for when they step outside and get that cold blast,” said Professor Jason Londo from Cornell University.

Professor Londo stated that he does not expect the mild winter to have impacts on this year’s yield. However, if March warms up significantly, we can expect an early bud break . This exposes the buds to frost, which will reduce yield. The above average temperatures in January and February came close to causing early bud break, which when combine with the cold snap would have had catastrophic impacts on yield.

”We expect a pretty good harvest, as we did not have much bud mortality. We did have two events when we warmed and cooled down to the negatives very rapidly. When this happens , the vines does not have much time to acclimate to the change” said the co owner of the Lakewood Vineyard.

Stamp went on to say that persistent temperatures, usually mild, are better for yield than the wild fluctuations.

” It’s been too warm for us to move equipment because the ground is soft and we do not want to tear things up. We really like it to hover around 32 degrees in the day and 25 degrees at night. This allows us do more, since the ground is firm,” said Stamp.

Both Mr. Stamp and Professor Londo agreed that production should be at normal levels this season.


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