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Smoking out trouble in grape country

02 Jun

This is a sight you don’t see very often, but when you have an erratic late winter and early spring as we saw in the Finger Lakes, it’s not terribly surprising.

This photo shows Magdalena Vineyard, the northernmost of the Herman J. Wiemer Vineyards in the heart of the Finger Lakes, where several weeks ago hay bales were set afire in hopes the smoke would protect the fragile grapes when the temperatures dipped.

As the folks at Wiemer explained it, “Many of you have asked how we dealt with the whims of our weather this year. March decided to come in hot and heavy, sometimes reaching 75 degrees. Then April arrived and threw some cold water on the party, turning the dial down to 25 degrees. But our vines showed typical Finger Lakes resilience, despite the widespread bud damage across the Northeast.

“Our warmer sites were somewhat shielded by the temperature moderating lake effect, and we did our part by summoning colleagues and family members in a three-day around the clock effort by surrounding the vineyards with hay bales. Each bale was set on fire to encourage air circulation and reduce the likelihood of damage. … While it is honestly hard to say whether it is the hay burning spectacular that protected the vines, or whether it was simply the lake effect, we are simply grateful that only small patches of vines surrendered to the cold.”


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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Agriculture, Wineries

 

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