Monday, August 4, 2014

Some vines have few grapes

Some grape varieties have few grapes this year because winter killed their buds.

Some vintners are saying there will be no merlot wines made in Ontario this year and not much sauvignon blanc.

This reminds me that Todd Leuty, forestry expert for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, told local maple syrup producers back in January that the weather was killing buds. He said the damage was severe because temperatures soared to record highs, then plunged to record lows.

Not all grape varieties are suffering. The more winter-hardy varieties are thriving because there have been frequent rains this summer.

But it will be November before grape growers know how large their harvest will be, says Debbie Zimmerman, chief executive officer for Grape Growers of Ontario.

The bud survival rates for sauvignon blanc ranged from eight per cent along Lake Erie's north shore to 51 per cent at Four Mile Creek in central Niagara-on-the-Lake, according to the latest data provided by the VineAlert program.

The survival rates for merlot ranged from four per cent at Lake Erie's north shore to 64 per cent along the Niagara lakeshore.

There may be smaller yields this year, but "the quality is going to be terrific of this vintage," Zimmerman said.