ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — While the hot and dry weather can be a detriment to some crops, grape vineyards this year seem to be thriving off the lack of rainfall this summer.

Meteorologist Christine Gregory “heard it through the grapevine” from a local vineyard and went to check it out for herself while also looking into potential concerns of Spotted lanternflies. 

The vineyard at Casa Larga is experiencing an early and abundant harvest this year; something that is a bit more unusual that has likely coincided with both the lack of frost from this past spring, and the abnormally dry conditions currently being seen this summer. Paige Vinson, Winemaker at Casa Larga Vineyards says that when it comes to timing out the harvest here in the Finger Lakes, that all bets are off. 

“A lot of times the dry years will lead to a little bit of an early harvest,” Paige said. “2020 was warm and dry, before that 2016 was also pretty warm and dry, uh we expect to have some of our early crops coming in earlier by a week or two… the hot dry weather actually really, really helps for sugar concentration and sort of grape phenology.”

Have you ever heard the saying that “grape vines don’t like wet feet?” Well as that saying goes, Paige says that the vines actually tend to thrive under a little bit of stress. 

“Younger grape vines might struggle a bit more with the lack of uh water and some of the heat that we’ve had. These old vines, they have deep roots. They can get water when they need it,” Paige said.

Another thing grape vines don’t like? Pests such as the Spotted lanternfly, and while the vineyard hasn’t spotted any of them yet, it’s something Paige says may not be a matter of if, but a matter of when…

“Right now, our best measures are scouting in our vineyards to see if we see anything. Fortunately, we have not seen any in our vineyards so we’re just going to keep our fingers crossed and hope that we hold out as long as possible,” Paige said. 

When it comes to maintaining the grapes, it’s all about having feet on the ground and keeping a good eye out for the unexpected.