Updated 07/06/2012 06:30 PM
Heat wave could bring better wine
The scorching sun and dry days may seem like a recipe for disaster when it comes to growing crops, but it could actually give winemakers a boost. Tamara Lindstrom tells us what the heat spell means for grapes.
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CAYUGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- These long, hot days with little rain mimic regions across the sea.
"All the famous areas in France, and to my knowledge, Germany and Italy, rely upon dry conditions much like what we have today," said Thomas Bechtold, vineyard manager at King Ferry Winery.
Conditions that produce some of the world's best wine.
"A lack of moisture in the soils and a lack of precipitation is pretty important for the development of grapes," Bechtold explained. "The berries will get smaller. They will be more condensed. There is strong likelihood of stronger aromatics. So it could shape up to be a good year in that respect because what wines we do get will be more concentrated, most likely. It just depends on what the winemakers choose to do. And of course the season's not over."
While this dry, sunny summer may mean a better grape, there's always a risk of too much of a good thing. And growers are hoping the hot weather won't last too long.
"Heat can damage the berries later on, especially if there's soft skin," Bechtold said. "So in August we're looking at heat potentially being a problem. It can literally cook things inside the berry skins."
By August it will be time for a little rain.
"Because if the roots dry out, especially a lot of surface roots, then the plants will eventually shut down and die," Bechtold said.
Irrigating the vineyards is an option, but that can change the development of the roots, causing problems in the future. So...
"Cross your fingers and hope for rain, because we're not the only people who need it," Bechtold said.
And a little rain will keep the grapes ripe for becoming fine wine.