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Freeze damages crops at local vineyard

Freeze damages crops at local vineyard

by Ben Pine

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 11, 2012 at 7:43 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 11 at 10:46 PM

The Turtle Run Winery vineyard lies high on a hillside for a good reason - to avoid frosty nights.  Cold air tends to settle in the valleys and low-lying areas.  Therefore, to prevent frost, the grapes are grown higher up on the hillsides if possible. 

During the growing season, the grapes and buds are susceptible to frost during cold spring nights, and the potential freezes can damage or kill the crop. 

Turtle Run Winery owner Jim Pfeiffer says damage did occur Tuesday night,

"Freeze is amazing.  What we don't know is how two shoots, one right next to another can have such a difference in how they handle the weather.  Is it a carbohydrate level within the shoots that keep some from freezing.  We simply do not know the mechanism at this time.

Upon further review, we have approximately 30% damage thus far.  It's pretty easy to see from the wilting of the potential flower sets.  Nearly all of the shoots are in good shape, so from that perspective we should get some secondary growth.  Overall, we should see a decrease in our crop level.  To what level, we don't know at this point.  If I were to guess, I would suspect we will be down by at least 25% thus far
."

This is why Freeze Warnings are so important to garderners and growers.  Just one degree of difference can save or damage crops. Pfeiffer says,

"What I find somewhat interesting is how many folks simply do not realize the damage freezes and frosts cost agriculture every year, which in turn affects the prices of products all of us purchase on a daily basis, be it wine, strawberries, apples, or other fruits and vegetables."

We're wishing all of our local growers the best of luck tonight as temperatures drop to the upper 20s and low 30s.  We're also hoping for a wonderful harvest in August.

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