Wild weather patterns in Wisconsin have affected the grape crop there this year. A long, cold winter, followed by an unseasonably wet summer has reduced crop production statewide.
Ryan Prellwitz, president of the Wisconsin Grape Growers Association and owner of Vines and Rushes Winery, Ripon, Wis., anticipates crop production to be down up to 40% compared to last year.
“Everywhere throughout the state is a different story,” Prellwitz said, noting that weather patterns and their effects vary across Wisconsin. But overall, “vineyards are down in production.”
Todd Roessler, co-owner of Elmaro Vineyard, Trempaeleau, Wis., echoed similar sentiments.
“We’re down 20% from last year,” he said, “(but) we weren’t hit quite as hard as other wineries. Some other growers had only a 50% yield compared to last year.”
Although long stretches of cold weather and heavy rainfall affected production, the quality of Wisconsin grapes should be high.
“The quality of fruit is spectacular,” said Roessler. “We actually had a spell in the last couple months where we didn’t have a ton of rain, so the grapes really ripened up.”
Prellwitz though attributes grape quality to the growing practices of individual vineyards, rather than industrywide conditions like weather.
“Even in a bad year, or a good year, the vineyards that do a good job with production have a quality product,” he said. “Our quality has been pretty good this year.”