Little rain this year means great wine next year

Dry year, sweet wine

BLACK RIVER, N.Y. (WWNY) - While the rain didn’t pour this summer, the 2020 vintage could be one of the best pours next year.

That’s what winery owners across the north country are saying about this year’s crop.

There were some of the highest temperatures we’ve seen in the north country for July and August, which dried up things this summer.

That led to this year’s grapes at Thousand Islands Winery to be the juiciest they have been in years.

“So, the grape sizes were smaller and what happened was the sugar levels concentrated in the grapes and the acidity and the pH level is just right,” winery president Steve Conaway said.

Because of the dry conditions this summer, the grapes were under stress, which led them to ripen much quicker this year. That allowed the winery to harvest the grapes two weeks earlier than normal.

At Busted Grapes winery in Black River, they have had much of the same success

Co-owner Troy Aubin says the grapes they have picked so far have been great.

“A little drier, but a higher quality,” Aubin said, “a higher concentration of juice and the sugar levels are a little higher.”

The grapes taste great, but the vines have had a somewhat different story.

Cold conditions rolled in quickly, leading frost to become prominent and withering some of the crop.

Even with some harvesting still left to do, Aubin says the past days of rain won’t have much effect on their grapes still on the vine.

“It is going to be excellent wine for next year,” he said. “You just start with good quality grapes and you finish with good quality wine.”

While the wine won’t hit the shelves until 2021, it ought to be worth the wait.

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