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New York Wineries Face Challenges Ahead of Harvest Season
New York Ag Connection - 09/18/2023

New York's wineries are facing challenges ahead of the 2023 harvest season. In May, unseasonably low temperatures led to frost damage that impacted farms and wineries in the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Central New York, and the Capital Region.

Specialists with Cornell Cooperative Extension found that more than 40% of Gew├╝rztraminer grapes, a variety used in white wine, were destroyed in the freeze. That variety was also hit hard by last year's winter. Farm wineries are required to use 75% of New York state-grown grapes or other ingredients in their wine.

The crop loss declaration is allowing wineries to temporarily source grapes from out of state through Dec. 31. However, this has turned into a major headache for some wineries.

Harvest season starts within the next few weeks for many vineyards across New York state and will run until October. The weather will play a significant role in the harvest, as chilly and wet conditions have pushed back the start date.

Some vineyards, such as Casa Larga Vineyards in Fairport, were fortunate to escape the damaging frost. Casa Larga attributes this to their location, as a constant breeze blows across the vineyard, preventing frost from forming.

Other vineyards were not as lucky. The frost damage has impacted many wineries and vineyards across the Finger Lakes Region.

Despite the challenges, expectations for harvest are still high, especially for wineries and vineyards like Casa Larga.

Casa Larga Vineyards president Andrea Colaruotolo O'Neill said that the winery is praying for a little warmer weather before the winter cold hits in the fall.

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