Sunday, May 23, 2010


Updated 05/13/2010 06:11 PM
Frost ruins some Hudson Valley grapes
By: Beth Croughan
Some areas in the Hudson Valley were hit with freezing temperatures earlier this week. And while it seems to be warming up, our Beth Croughan tells us some Hudson Valley wineries are still feeling the effects.
GHENT, N.Y. -- "They'll be a bunch of plants that won't produce anything and so we'll have to rip those out and start all over again," explained Carlo DeVito, Owner of the Hudson-Chatham Winery.

Carlo DeVito and his wife, Dominique, planted those vines five years ago. And now, after two nights of freezing temperatures, 80 percent of their crop is temporarily ruined and some, ruined for good.

"You're doing all this work. We go through pruning and tying and we go through cultivating the soil around the vines. You see all these buds come through and we're thinking yeah, we're going to have a good year. And especially after last year, it really takes a lot of wind out of your sails," said DeVito.

Last year, the couple's winery was also hit by frost.
(This year's vines are starting to recover. By May 23, 2010 the vines are begining to show new growth. But we've lost a good half of our crop.)

"In a normal season if we have a cold April and a warm May, by May 20th, we've got some nice leaves on the vines and it starts to look real pretty," DeVito said.

But a warm April, topped with cold temperatures this May, is pushing the DeVito's back about four to six weeks and out a couple thousand dollars. The DeVito's grow hybrid grapes, which means each vine can bud a second or third time. But it'll take a few weeks and will only produce about one third of their annual crop.

"We still have to pay guys to walk through the vineyards and spray them and do all that other stuff. But for one third less the fruit. So for me to make up the fruit, I've got to go out and spend thousands of dollars to buy grapes from some other farmer that got lucky or got luckier than us this year," said DeVito.

DeVito plans to invest in fire pots next year. They help circulate the air to keep the grapes from freezing. But all it takes is one night of 32 degree temperatures.

"Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

At least three other wineries in the Hudson Valley experienced frost damage.


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