NY Wine Grape Crop High in Quality, Lower Yield

Monday, Sep 24, 2012  |  Updated 8:48 PM EDT
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NY Wine Grape Crop High in Quality, Lower Yield

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This year's wine grape crop from upstate New York is high in quality with a bit less quantity.

Growers say the warm early spring followed by a cold spell and a dry summer took a toll on the overall yield, but that the grapes that made it through are in good shape.

"With warm, sunny days that we had, grapes are ripening beautifully, and growers and wineries are happy," Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, said. "It's not going to be a bumper crop this year, but it will certainly be respectable."

It's also early, which will mean a quicker end to the season.

"Everything is coming out faster than it normally would, but production is down," said Peter Masse, general manager at Six Mile Creek Vineyard in Ithaca. "What we are actually pulling out of the fields is down. You'll get really good quality wine, but it will be short in supply."

Steve Fulkerson of Fulkerson Winery in Dundee in the Finger Lakes region said his yield is about 200 tons short.

At Lakewood Vineyard and Winery, just north of Watkins Glen, meanwhile, the rush is on to get everything harvested.

"All the crop is coming in on top of itself. It started early and everything will be done early. It's just a question of can we get it all in?" winemaker Chris Stamp said.

"We've probably seen higher sugars in most varieties because of the dry, warm summer," Stamp added. "I've been making wine for 30 years and I've never seen such high sugar content. It's more like California wine making. Usually we struggled with a little more rain and more disease pressure. We haven't had that."

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