Gloomy Projections Remain for North Carolina Grapes

Clint Thompson Grapes, North Carolina, Top Posts

File photo shows a research vineyard in North Carolina.

It is nearing harvest time for North Carolina grape producers. Unfortunately, original projections remain true for this year’s crop. It is expected to be a down year for grape farmers.

“With the vinefera grapes for the wine industry in the western part because of all of the frost events we had in the spring, most vineyards are down at least 50% this year in yield,” said Mark Hoffmann, North Carolina State small fruits Extension specialist. “We had a few who weren’t infected, and they actually had a real nice crop on the wine. But most vineyards have 50% to 60% loss this year, and very uneven number of clusters to wine, too. Some wines got more affected than others.”

Back in June, Hoffmann said a May frost impacted the western part of the Piedmont region as well as the Yadkin Valley. The area where the frost left the most impact produces about 80% of the state’s production. That is a big reason for the gloomy projection for this year’s crop.

“It was clear after the frost that it wasn’t going to be a bumper year this year,” Hoffmann said. “It’s not going to be a great year for the wine industry this year.”

He added that production is about two weeks late due to the frost and cool temperatures in the spring. Grape harvests in the Yadkin Valley are expected to start next week. Harvests are expected to last through mid-October.

Muscadine harvests are also expected to begin this week at the earliest, next week at the latest.