Harsh Winter Might Have Killed Half Of Oliver Winery’s Crop

Oliver Winery should have enough inventory to meet demand this year, but it is still determining how much wine it will be able to make for future years.

Oliver Winery Grapes

Photo: Bill Shaw

Oliver Winery may lose many of their grapes this year.

Oliver Winery just outside of Bloomington may have lost up to two-thirds of its grape crop this year because of the harsh winter.

The winery has been conducting tests at its local Creekbend Vineyard to estimate the extent of the damage. But they won’t know exactly how much damage has been done until the grape vines start budding.

“We’ve got some damage for sure, and we won’t really know for another couple weeks how bad it is. But we could have lost maybe half to two-thirds of our crop for this year,” says Oliver Winery President Bill Oliver, adding that it wasn’t the long cold winter but the extreme cold snaps that caused most of the harm.

Purdue University horticulture professor Bruce Bordelon says the degree of damage wineries are seeing likely varies depending on how hardy the vines were.

“We’re going to have reduced crops on those vines and maybe in some cases some vine death – some trunk damage, some problems where those plants will have to be retrained or they may die to the ground and have to be replaced,” says Purdue University horticulture professor Bruce Bordelon.

Oliver Winery imports grapes from other states, so along with last year’s harvest they should have enough inventory for this year, but the damage could reduce the amount of wine it can make from local grapes in the next year or two.

Oliver seems to be taking it all in stride.

“It’s part of farming. Every year is a gamble,” he says.

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