The polar vortex is putting wineries at risk
Thursday, January 31, 2019, 6:42 PM - The vicious cold snap that's taken hold of North America could have a long-lasting impact on Canadian and U.S. wineries.
Wine buds are sensitive to the cold, and they start to die when the temperature dips to -20°C.
Apples and peaches could also be in danger at these temperatures.
Some wineries plan ahead, by storing grapes from surplus years. Others don't have that ability and could potentially face major losses.
For now, it’s still too early to tell how this recent cold snap will impact the crop and the price of your next bottle of Merlot.
BROCK UNIVERSITY STEPS UP TO HELP WINE GROWERS
There is a website available to all wine growers that's working to make it easier for businesses to survive a polar vortex.
Jim Willwerth, senior Viticulturist at Brock university, samples buds from vineyards to determine the impact a cold snap has on grape growers and wineries.
He then provides updated information to mitigate crop damage.
He says the website aims to provide growers with the information needed to take preventative measures that may save their crops.
After a cold event, Willwerth's team will visit affected areas and and sample the buds to assess the level of cold damage.
The website will present data in terms of predicted cold tolerance at which 10 percent of the buds will be killed, 50 and 90 percent.
This information is key to growers because it can help ensure that grapevines achieve maximum winter hardiness for the dormant period.