By Clint Thompson
A May frost appears to have soured North Carolina’s grape production this year, says Mark Hoffmann, N.C. State small fruits Extension specialist.
“The western part of the Piedmont region, they got hit pretty bad. We have some areas where we have 100% loss,” Hoffmann said. “The Yadkin Valley got hit pretty bad, and everything west of that, really.”
The devastating impact to the state’s grape production is isolated to vonifera grapes. The area where the frost did the most damage produces about 80% of the state’s production. Fortunately, the state produced a bumper crop last year.
“We had a very good year last year and the tanks are full. It’s not going to be like as traumatic as it would be if we would have two or three bad years in a row,” Hoffmann said.
Hoffmann confirmed in an earlier interview this was the third frost event for the state’s grape crop. It was especially vulnerable this time since it happened late in the season.
Fortunately, he said muscadines that are grown in the Southeast area were spared.