Cold Weather and Wine Grapes
Fortunately, the 48,000 or so acres withstood the near zero temps and proved themselves to be ready for winter ... as long as things don't drop suddenly ...
LINDA WEIFORD ... "If it happens quickly, it can be a shock to the vines and it can destroy the buds. We've had some freezes in, let's see, 1996, in 2004, and 2010. There were incidents where the temperatures dropped very quickly and there was destruction to vineyards at those times, but right now we're riding pretty."
WSU's Linda Weiford says though the temps weren't unheard of in Eastern Washington, it's been pretty mild in recent winters ...
LINDA WEIFORD ... "We have not seen temperatures like this in more than two years. So, naturally it's a surprise in that respect, but overall when you look at past winters, no it's not a real big deal. And again, we're really, really lucky that the temperatures dropped slowly, not rapidly."
Weiford says the snow was a big help in insulating the vines when temps in some areas dropped to as low as 9 below.
Average temperatures during the winter months east of the Cascades is 24 degrees, so even if we have a typical winter, the grapes have already proven themselves ready.