Southeast Grape Crop Needs Dry Weather

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File photo shows grapes infected with sour rot.

By Clint Thompson

A rainy summer in the Southeast only got wetter this week thanks to the tropical system ‘Fred.’ It could have a negative impact on the region’s grape crop, which is at the beginning of harvest, says Phil Brannen, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Fruit Disease Specialist.

According to the University of Georgia Weather Network, Gainesville, Georgia received 3.34 inches of rainfall on Tuesday; Watkinsville, Georgia received 3.07 inches; and Calhoun, Georgia received 2.76 inches. But now the region needs dry weather for multiple weeks.

“It really needs to dry off for the next month, it’d be nice and stop getting these rains and cloud cover. When you have rains like we had (Tuesday), you have a tendency, especially if a grape is ripe, it could have splits,” Brannen said. “That will start problems with sour rot and other issues that you don’t want that you can’t take into the winery. I am concerned about that.

“If it’ll just dry off now for the next month, we could still have a good harvest. But we need some dry weather.”