By Clint Thompson
What’s left of Georgia’s wine grape production is benefiting from the hot and dry weather conditions. Phil Brannen, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Fruit Disease Specialist, said the lack of rainfall has prevented grape diseases from being an issue so far this season.
“Right now, the grapes in general, and I’m talking about the wine grapes that I’ve seen the last week, look really good. There’s very limited disease because it has been dry. The foliage looks good,” Brannen said. “The longer you can delay any introduction of disease the better. We generally like it to be somewhat dry. You have to have enough moisture to where your root system and your plant has moisture, but as far as having any kind of moisture on leaves or on fruit, we prefer it to be bone dry,”
A late spring freeze wiped out a substantial amount of grape production. Brannen said in April that since Chardonnay grapes usually come out the earliest, they were the most vulnerable to any frost damage. In general, grape production in North Georgia was impacted severely.
“Unfortunately, because of the cold damage we had in the spring, the crop itself is limited. So, the grape crop is probably at 30% to 35% of what it should be as far as actual fruit. But the vines are in great shape,” Brannen said. “This has actually been, up to this point, a really good year for grape production. We wish we would have had more fruit.”
Grape quality should be really good if it remains dry.