Mold Ruins Harvest at Dubuque Winery

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

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By Katie Wiedemann

SAGEVILLE, Iowa - This is the beginning of harvest season for growers at Iowa's 306 wineries. But it's turning out to be a major disappointment for one grape grower near Dubuque.

Last spring's wet weather caused Sunset Ridge Winery's crop to die this summer.

Winery Owner Ian Bonnette says the majority of the grapes on his three acre vineyard are damaged.

Bonnette said, "It's pretty susceptible to powdery mildew, downy mildew. "

This spring, Bonnette sprayed these vines with a fungicide to help keep the mold and mildew at bay. But they were up against nature.

"Rain after rain and it just washed away, " said Bonnette.

The grapes never properly produced, leaving wine lovers to wonder what's next.

"It's very difficult," said Bonnette, "We've been growing grapes for 10 years and we've put a lot of time and effort into the vineyard. "

Sunset Ridge is still business. This year's wine comes from grapes grown two years ago. They'll try to grow again next year, and hope for the rain to hold off.

In order to get ahead of the weather, Bonnette is currently buying grapes from another winery in central Iowa.

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