The global warming-fueled heat wave that’s gripped much of America this month may be good news for March picnics, but it’s terrible for Virginia wine lovers. Wine grape vines are already waking up, posing a twofold threat – hotter temperatures can mean less flavorful wine, and a sudden frost could devastate the crop:
Workers at Tomahawk Mill Winery in Chatham are certainly concerned. They say they are usually working in the cold right now wearing two pairs of socks and gloves. But while it’s nice to work in this weather, the grapes don’t like it one bit.
Corky Medaglia, owner of Tomahawk Mill Winery, always says: “When God gives you lemons you make lemonade. And when God gives you grapes, you make wine.”
But within his 17 years working the vineyards, he has never seen a winter like this one. “Sap is coming up because the temperatures are going up. And this guy thinks it’s spring time,” said Medaglia.
Meteorologists say there’s a 50/50 chance of a surprise frost. And looking ahead, hotter summers are no kinder to wine grapes – when temperatures top 95 degrees, the vine’s respiration system can shut down. (To be clear, the photo with this story is from 2007, not a photo of what the grapes look like right now.)