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Drought Produces Good Wine, Fewer Grapes In Indiana

The heat and the drought has helped vineyards even as it has depleted many other crop yields.

  • grapes

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    Photo: Kyle Clayton/WFIU-WTIU News

    White grapes at Oliver Winery's Creekbend Vineyard are sweeter this year than normal.

  • grape vine

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    Photo: Kyle Clayton/WFIU-WTIU News

    Grapes on the vine at Creekbend Vineyard are ready to harvest early this year.

  • row of grape vines

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    Photo: Kyle Clayton/WFIU-WTIU News

    A row of grape vines at Creekbend Vineyard.

Grape pickers met early Tuesday morning to harvest grapes in Oliver Winery’s Creekbend Vineyard. The workers are harvesting about ten days earlier than normal because the drought caused the fruit to ripen early.

The clusters of Valvin Muscat grapes are also smaller than normal, but they pack a flavorful punch.

“We’re probably going to see a lot more smaller berries compared to the average which generally means more concentrated flavors so that’s not a bad thing,” Assistant Vineyard Manager Ross Reinhardt says.

The grapes are used to create one of Oliver Winery’s signature dry white wines, and the stronger flavor will likely mean a better wine.

Creekbend Vineyard Manager Bernie Parker says the low moisture also helps decrease disease pressure preventing the grapes from splitting and causing the clusters to rot on the vine. But the drought has not left the crop unscathed.

“We have dropped fruit off some of the vines that are mores stressed,” Parker says. “We estimated we had 7 ½ tons, and we dropped it down to 3 ½ to 4 tons so we dropped close to half of it.”

Parker estimates the harvest will yield more than 170 cases of wine that should be ready in about a month.

Kyle Clayton

Kyle Clayton is a WFIU news producer. He is currently studying journalism at Indiana University and comes to WFIU following an internship in the fall of 2011. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned home to Indiana in 2008 to begin his education and pursue his interests in writing.

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