Swisher Vineyard Expects Small, but Sweet Harvest Due to Drought
By Jillian Petrus, Reporter
SWISHER, Iowa - Wednesday, the US Department of Agriculture issued disaster declarations to assist farmers in nine Iowa counties.
It's for those farmers affected by the deep freeze we had in April. That sliced into a good portion of the local fruit and vegetable crop. New to the list of 43 counties eligible for assistance are Johnson, Clayton and Delaware.
Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery in Swisher didn't escape the spring freeze. Now, it's dealing with a drought, but the hot and dry conditions might make for some great tasting wine.
They’re still hoping to uncork something unique next year in spite of the dry weather.
"Less water just means that the acids and sugars are going to be more highly concentrated,” explained Cedar Ridge Product Manager, Kolin Brighton, “which means we'll have more flavorful grapes but less juice to make wine out of."
So in a way, this year’s harvest might be bitter sweet. Fewer grapes, but a sweeter product. Lucky for Cedar Ridge, they've noticed Iowans seem to like a little extra kick in their glass.
"Around here, they love the Amanas right? Concentrated, juicy sweet,” said Cedar Ridge House Manager, Shawna Mahoney, “I think it’ll please many.”
And unlike a typical farmer, the winery can make adjustments based on the harvest.
But even that doesn't empty out all their concerns. The winery says the vineyard workers have a hard time keeping up in the heat, and just like people, these vines still need a drink too.
"Hopefully, we got enough rain in the spring that they're not going to completely die off," said Mahoney, “We're not quite sure how they're going to turnout yet.”
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