With Freezing Temps, Will 2014 Be A Good Year For Wine Growers? - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

With Freezing Temps, Will 2014 Be A Good Year For Wine Growers?

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VIENNA, Md. - This winter, we've seen some of the coldest temperatures in years here on Delmarva, and it's really taken a toll on our roadways.  But have you ever wondered how the deep freeze is affecting the area's wine grapes?

When you ask William Layton what subzero temperatures can do to the tiny bud that will in a few months, grow into wine grapes, he says "it'll just die...die right off."

But on Layton's Chance Vineyard in Vienna, Maryland, temps haven't consistently dropped low enough to hurt this year's crop.

While the cold may not have wine makers worried just yet, one thing that does have them concerned, last year's wet spring and summer.

"Mold and mildew need moisture to grow, so the more it rains, the more moisture you have, the more disease you're going to have," says Layton.

Since they started growing grapes back in 2007,  William Layton says last year was the worst year for disease in the vineyard.

Fortunately, a dry fall saved much of the 2013 vintage, but with diseased vines still hanging, they aren't out of the clear.  This winter's more severe weather has workers struggling to find time to prune toxic branches, but Layton is confident about this year.

While the East Coast's unpredictable weather may make it tougher on growers to produce good wine than their west coast counterparts, William Layton says that variability is part of the excitement for consumers.

"I hate comparing wine to fast food, but California is like McDonalds, they have the same weather, so they can produce the same wine year after year," Layton says.

For East Coast wineries, Layton says "it's always something a little different and you get to see each year how it's going to turn out."

While the cold hasn't hurt the grapes yet.  As we head toward spring, growers at the winery are keeping an eye out for a fluctuation in temperatures, which could kill anything that starts to grow.

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