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Lower temperatures are impacting vineyards

"The more heat that we can get the better it will be for the fruit, it increases the sugar level and gives you higher alcohol content and better flavored wine."

Posted: Oct 2, 2019 6:25 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. -- Colder temperatures across the valley are impacting local wineries. Some told NewsWatch12 their harvest is being delayed as a result. Newswatch12's Cassidy Delamarter shows us how these temperatures are effecting local businesses.

The owners told said their biggest concerns this time of year are birds because they'll eat the grapes and also temperatures.

Pat Flannery, co-owner of Dana Campbell winery, said, "This time a year you don't want your leaves to experience 32° degrees or anything less because what will happen is that within two days after a freeze the leaves will start to fall off."

Sunday and Monday, it's dropped below 35 degrees in the vineyard. A problem they said they normally don't experience this time of year.

"We've been lucky because the last few years it's been warmer," he said. 

Fortunately, there are large fans placed throughout the property that will kick on as soon as the temperature hits a certain temperature in order to protect the grapes. 

"So two nights ago we set them at 35° degrees and the fans went on at 2 o'clock in the morning and they didn't turn off until 9 a.m. the next morning," Flannery explained. "They do a good job at keeping the temperature above 32° because the last thing that we need this time of year is to kill the leaves - if you kill them then you don't get any more energy imported into the fruit and the fruit won't ripen anymore.'

He said they still have a few more weeks of ripening that need to be done, so they want to keep the temperature above 32° degrees.
So far, Dana Campbell has only been able to pick two different grapes this season. That means there's six more grapes left to be picked and that's about 30 tons of fruit. In order to pick them, they need warmer temperatures.

"I mean we would like for it to be 70° degrees every day," he said. "The more heat that we can get the better it will be for the fruit, it increases the sugar level and gives you higher alcohol content and better flavored wine."

Flannery said they will do everything to make it work and if it doesn't work, he said then there's always next year.

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