How drought conditions are impacting vineyard crops

Drought impact on vineyard crops

Drought impact on vineyard crops

Dry conditions like much of the Twin Cities are dealing with typically aren’t good for agriculture, but it’s actually been beneficial in the world of wine.

The north part of the Twin Cities metro is in a moderate drought, and many other parts of the state are abnormally dry as well, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. But Winehaven Vineyards in Chisago City says the dry conditions are helping, at least for now.

“This was a good time for it to be dry because those flowers need to bloom and pollinate, and that’s what forms the fruit,” said Kyle Peterson with Winehaven.

“We don’t want too much rain, especially closer to harvest season, because that can actually cause the fruit to swell up, and it’ll dilute the flavors of our wines,” he added.

Peterson noted that grape vines are typically built for dryness and can deal with some periods of little moisture.

“Right now, we see really nice, green, healthy leaf. It’s not crunchy at all,” Peterson said.

However, just like it does for farmers, a lack of rain eventually becomes a curse for vineyards, too.

“If it does stay dry here for the next week or so, we’re going to start to see the ends of the leaves curl, you’ll see a little bit of stress in the veins. That’ll kind of signal that the vine is under some stress,” Peterson said.

One thing he credits for setting up the vineyard so well this season, though, is this past winter.

“We went into the spring growing season with really ample moisture levels in the soils. I think that’s starting to get a little bit depleted, but the reason these vines look so good is due to that massive, almost record, snowfall we had here in Minnesota,” he said.

But with soil moisture running out, something will have to give.

“It’s beyond my family’s capability to bring out buckets and water these things, and the hose only works so well. The reality is we’re going to be kind of at nature’s mercy,” Peterson said.

Unfortunately, Minnesota’s Weather Authority isn’t forecasting much moisture over the next week. While a spotty shower or thunderstorm is possible this weekend, mainly Saturday, temperatures are expected to stay in the upper 80s and around 90 over the next seven days.

Click here to see the latest forecast.