Recent cold weather takes toll on wineries

MIDDLEBURG — The colder weather this May is not only an issue for the flowers in your hanging baskets, but it has been rough on local wineries as well.  Carl Zimmerman, chief laborer at Shade Mountain Winery in Middleburg, said an overnight frost Monday has done some damage to his vineyards.

“We had some damage,” Zimmerman said.  “It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  We may have had 20-30 percent damage, but it’s hard to tell how it’s going to manifest itself.  It usually takes a matter of time for all of the evilness to appear.”

Zimmerman said it is hard to prepare for frost, because it is erratic.  He said while they can cover their baby vines, they do not have a means of protecting the whole vineyard.

“We mowed our vineyard very tight, which increases the airflow.  If the grass is short, the cold air can run away quicker; that is really the only thing we could do.  I think it does help some, but it’s not magic,” he said.  “We also have two vineyards, because it’s always good to not have all your eggs in one basket.”

He said frost in May is not too unusual, but always unfortunate.  He believes there could be a slight reduction in the process, but he hopes some of the healthy vines could produce larger fruits to compensate.  Either way, Zimmerman said they will still have enough fruit to put wine on the shelves. (Codi Jade)

vineyard
photo courtesy of Shade Mountain Winery