Cold weather threatens wine from local vineyards

by: Vicki Graf Updated:


ALBEMARLE - Overnight freezes are damaging vines at local vineyards, and if the trend continues it could threaten local wine.

Meteorologist Vicki Graf asked a local vineyard in Albemarle if this will cause a higher price for wine.

Sandon Dennis is in his Stanly County vineyard every day, but the continuous cold snaps have given him even more reason to keep watch.

“Well it’s been rather unique with it fluctuating in temperatures a lot. Lately since we have been pruning we noticed some vines have split open. We have some of those each year but this year has been a little above normal,” Dennis said.

Dennis has been in business for 18 years. He walked Channel 9 through the process of growing the grapes he turns to wine.

Early in the year he starts pruning the vines, a process that lets him harvest a larger amount of quality grapes.

“You can see the sap coming out of the vine here, they call this bleeding. Normally you don’t see this happen because they prune back in February. But because of all the cold snaps they have had to hold off and now the sap is starting to rise," Dennis said.

As the sap rises, any overnight freezes will cause the branch to split, ultimately killing it.

Dennis said he has lost over 100 pounds of grapes this year because of a branch split, and that it will take three years before he gets the grapes back.

As long as the cold snaps stop, Dennis said the vineyard should still be able to have a good season.