Harsh Winter Leads to Imported Grapes

A harsh winter is taking its toll on some Finger Lakes vineyards right now.   That could mean higher prices for your favorite bottle of red or white.  

Mother nature was not kind to many grape growers in the Finger Lakes this past winter.   Cold temperatures stunted grape vines early in the season.  Excessive humidity, rain and a cool august added insult to injury.  Wilhelmus winery in Canandaigua lost 70 to 80-percent of two kinds of grapes.  

"What's going to happen this year, is we will be looking for other sources for this variety of grapes.  We will not have enough of our own production to make the quantity of wine that we had anticipated making for the coming year and the coming vintage," said Boud Kuenen, Wilhelmus Winery.

For the first time since 2005, New York State grape growers are allowed to import grapes from other parts of the country in order to make a go of it.  The move could cost you a buck or two more a bottle for your favorite bottle of vino.  

"I think quality, character and flavor and the personality that's attached to the bottle of wine really grows with me as I take the bottle home.  And I will continue to come back for that bottle and spend a little extra dollars for those special occasions for that bottle of wine," said Danielle Smith, Syracuse native.

"I find that once you find a good tasting wine, something that appeals to your palate, to provide the quality of the wine, shouldn't be much more of a cost.  And I would gladly pay a little bit more increase to get what I fancy, basically," said Markijan Lylak, Greece.

At Wilhelmus, they're hoping for a dry fall season filled with sunshine to harvest as much of the crop as possible.

Cornell Cooperative Extension surveyed area wineries and found 15 grape varieties in our region suffered a more than 40-percent bud loss this year.

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