It’s only March but already many of us are planning spring pilgrimages to our favorite wineries – our antidote to cabin fever. There is little cabin fever at wineries, however, for winegrowers are in the vineyard, pruning old vines and planting new ones.
“This spring, we’ll replant 600 vines in addition to the 1,300 replanted in 2015,” says Bill Skvarla of Harmony Hill Vineyards in southern Ohio. The vines, he says, will replace those killed by the polar vortex of 2013-2014. Up north, Lee Klingshirn of Klingshirn Winery says the vortex also claimed vines there – all vinifera varieties. “We’ll plant more this spring, probably winter-hardy hybrids,” he says. Skvarla has already switched to hybrids: “Most of the vinifera varieties we’ve tried are too challenging,” he says. In northern vineyards, growers will also remove mounds of soil piled around vines to protect them from winter temperatures, usually colder than elsewhere in the state. And pruning that began mid-February in southern vineyards continues, as northern vineyards begin the same chore.
In the cellar, Skvarla and Klingshirn say their wines will be fine-tuned – cold-stabilized, racked and filtered in preparation for blending and bottling – ready for our winery visits later this spring.
– Karen Edwards