An early wine grape harvest seems certain this fall unless the state’s grape regions are hit by a prolonged big chill and constant cloud layer.
“The mild winter, early spring, and hot sunny weather so far this summer have put vineyards about two full weeks ahead of schedule in the Finger Lakes and on Long Island, according to estimates by Cornell Cooperative Extension grape specialists and industry sources.
“The Lake Erie and Hudson Valley regions are just a few days behind, and the Thousand Islands region about a week behind, but still well ahead of the average year.
“Normally the harvest of early-ripening varieties begins right after Labor Day and other varieties two to four weeks later, but this will move everything up. One major benefit is that it decreases the risk of an early frost killing the leaves, shutting down the ripening process, and in effect prematurely ending the harvest for late-ripening varieties.”