Most wineries are at the mercy of mother nature. We are, at the core, farmers. Farmers have to adjust based on what Mother Nature gives us. While we can attempt to predict what hand we will be dealt- it is impossible to know anything 100%. Some years, like last year, have perfect weather for grapes, and we have a bountiful harvest. This winter and spring have presented some real challenges for vineyard and cellar crews.
This winter was inconsistent in temperature. As most Missouri natives know, we had frigid days, warm days, and cold again. The warm weather causes the plant to move sap around in the trunk, which then freezes and causes damage. Like if you left water in your garden hose on a nice day, it dropped and froze overnight. This back-and-forth damages the base trunk of the vine significantly. As if that wasn’t enough- this Spring has not been ideal grape growing conditions.
We have had a hot Spring. As it gets warmer, the grape vines send out primary shoots. These primary shoots are tender and delicate. A few weeks ago, we had back-to-back frosts and freezes, which caused widespread damage to these shoots. Some varieties of grapes can handle this extreme weather better than others. We won’t know the extent of the frost damage for a few weeks. Grape vines will also continue to push out secondary and tertiary buds and shoots even if the first buds are lost due to frost. However, these secondary and beyond shoots are generally not as high quality as the first buds. Our vineyard team is hard at work measuring the frost damage and tending to the vines that fared better during this tumultuous time. We will keep you updated. In the meantime, please send good thoughts and wishes to our grapevines as they attempt to overcome the hand that Mother Nature has dealt them.