Warm winter raising some concerns from local vineyards

Rogue Valley, Ore.– The streak of warm winter weather continues. While the days are gorgeous, they’re also a cause for concern for local vineyards.

Wineries across the valley say this weather would be perfect for the vines if it wasn’t still the middle of winter.

“The earlier those buds come out. The more at risk we are as it relates to the fruit we’re able to produce,” said Dan Marca, owner of DANCIN Vineyards.

Marca is a bit concerned because warmer temperatures too early can trick the vines into thinking it’s time to bloom. This puts the potential yield for the season at risk if a cold front carrying frost happens to come through the valley in the next couple months.

“If there’s a frost event or a freeze event and those buds are out, then they could be damaged,” said Marca. “As a result, perhaps result in a smaller amount or lesser amount of fruit.”

Russ Lyon, owner of Daisy Creek Vineyard, which has been in the valley for about 20 years, considers this an abnormal year but says they have been through worse.

“We’re a little concerned right now but we’ve seen a lot of springs that have just changed in a matter of a few weeks,” said Lyon.

Local owners say their crop is in the hands of Mother Nature – they just have to roll with the punches.

Eric Weisinger of Weisinger Family Winery has been in the business for decades and has seen all types of weather.

He says every year brings something different; you just have to know how to react.

“When it comes right down to it, we don’t stress about it too much cause there isn’t anything we can do honestly,” said Weisinger. “It’s either gonna be hot or it’s gonna be cold. We’ll just roll with it the best that we can.”

Each winery says it has plans in the case of a freeze or if water levels happen to become a problem. But ideally, they all agree it would be great if the weather remained consistent for the rest of the year.

“You want to have a balance. That’s really what I think it’s about,” said Weisinger. “You know you have your cold, your heat, you have your dry, you have your wet. So let’s just hope for it.”

For many wineries, they are optimistic about the coming year and are prepared for whatever may happen in the following months.

“We respond to what nature gives us and we prepare as we view and assess the forecast,” said Marca. “We just continue to work through it, we do the best we can and I think it’s going to be fine.”

 

NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.

Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.

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