Cold Damage to Wine Grapes
Local grape growers are getting more concerned that the bitter cold has caused severe damage to valuable wine grapes.
Concord and Niagara grapes, used primarily for juice and jelly are fairly resistant to the cold. But wine grapes are more delicate. They don't tolerate wide swings in temperature or extreme cold.
The large trunks can be damaged. But the buds are most in danger. It is not clear yet how extensive the damage will be. But winemakers think the losses will be substantial.
Mario Mazza of Mazza Vineyards said, "You know we might end up with some vineyard blocks that end up with high mortality of 60-70%-plus. Other vineyard blocks may have fared better. It really depends on the temperature in each individual vineyard. And so it can be quite variable around the area."
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York was in Chautauqua County this afternoon to urge the federal government to be ready to help grape growers deal with losses.