ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The prolonged warm winter weather lately may have you wondering how local wineries have been impacted.

While the lack of cold temperatures this winter made it difficult to harvest grapes for ice wine over at Casa Larga this year, Head Winemaker Paige Vinson tells me the vines that’ll produce this year’s fruit are still comfortably dormant despite the somewhat warmer weather. 

“If we were to get some sustained temperatures up into the 50s, that could prompt the vines to wake up and start their growth cycle,” says Paige.  

A warm stretch of weather followed by a late season frost can do a lot of damage to the green growth on the vines, which did happen back in 2014. 

“That’s something we’re always a little bit concerned about this time of year. We want to make sure the vines wake up with enough time to get through a full growth cycle, but not so early that we risk them running into another frost,“ says Paige.

Since the buds are still in their dormant stage Paige tells me we’re nowhere near needing to worry about a cold snap quite yet, and the annual ice wine festival is still expected to go on. 

“I think what makes this year really interesting is was we were looking forward to this year as being our 25th anniversary to produce ice wine. It was a big deal and the weather changed , so it really speaks to the risks that are involved when you decide to not bring your grapes in early, hold them hoping that the weather is going to corporate,” says Andrea Colaruotolo O’Neill, President at Casa Larga.

Fortunately, since they are still able to feature vintage ice wines from the previous year as well as their late harvest style wine from this year, it might just give us the long taste of winter we’ve been waiting for.

Ice Wine Festival 2023