How drought conditions impact wine

Weather

SCHUYLER COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) — Schuyler County has been under a moderate drought since early September and much of the Twin Tiers has been impacted by this abnormal lack of rain. The fall foliage throughout the area is noticeably duller due to this and crops have been impacted negatively throughout the region.

US> Drought Monitor for New York State as of 10/22/2020

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Associate does predict that some areas of the Twin Tiers may see the drought end, it also predicts that parts of the Northern Tier may see the drought continue.

U.S. Drought Outlook for Winter 2020

However, for the local wine industry, this has not been a detriment in any sense of the word. It turns out that grapes for wine production like it a bit drier than other fall harvested crops.

“Grape is a permanent crop so it has a larger root system. Grapes tend to penetrate a little deeper and can tap into moisture longer than say corn, which is not very drought tolerant because it’s very shallow rooted.” Said David Stamp, Vineyard Manager at Lakewood Vineyards.

This isn’t a one-sided opinion either, according to Connor Evans, general manager at Castel Grisch. “The drought really affects the quantity and size of the grapes, but overall the quality is very good, the positive side of the drought is, the less impact of, you know, mildews and molds and disease.”

David Stamp also told us that is not all good, and that some vineyards in the area have seen more significant impacts from the drought by the time it got warm in August.

The size and quantity of the grapes tend to be negatively impacted by the drought, making it more difficult to fill out the weight when harvesting. However, when it comes to wine production and taste, the more skin in the wine can produce a more forward flavor. Connor told us that he expects 2020 vintages to possibly be the best in the last ten years.

Connor Evans and Davis Stamp of their respective winery and vineyard do not expect prices to rise due to the drought.

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