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Shorter summer, unstable weather causing problems for wineries

By Nadia Singh, nsingh@wdbj7.com
Published On: Sep 11 2013 09:07:31 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 11 2013 11:43:37 PM EDT

The owner of the Peaks of Otter Winery says this is the worst seasons he's been through.

BEDFORD, Va. -

The wet summer and what's looking like a shorter summer has some winery owners worried about their harvest and this year's bottom line. Record rain falls, too much heat, a shorter summer and the upcoming unseasonably cool weather can put a damper on a grower's season.

"It's one of the worst seasons I think I've ever been through," Danny Johnson, owner of The Peaks of Otter Winery in Bedford told Your Hometown Leader.

Johnson says abnormally cool and wet weather this summer but a damper on growing conditions and has affected his bottom line.

"We had it hot for awhile, and then we had it cool, we had frost, we had some damage from that, during blossoming on fruits, we had rain."

Add what's looking like a shorter summer for harvesting grapes, which need dry, hot weather to thrive and yield a quality product is also bad news.

"We needed a hot September to get the sugar content in them and to ripen them up the grapes are not going to ripen like they should." "That's because we're going to see cooler temperatures more quickly. If the forecast is true it's going to be rough."

With potentially shorter harvesting this year, Johnson may be forced to harvest early, before the grapes are at their peak.

"It's going to hurt. If you don't get the grapes sweet, you're going to end up with a product that doesn't necessarily come up to your standards."

But this veteran farmer is staying positive and looking towards the future.

"You recover, you hope, like any other farmer that next year is always the year you're going to make money."