Ulster wineries taste good season ahead
By Jeremiah Horrigan
April 26, 2007
Vineyards in New Jersey, Ohio and Michigan are sweating bullets about their 2007 vintage.
Some vineyards are reporting losses as high as 50 percent.
But here in the Hudson Valley, March and April's unseasonably cold weather and the recent, record-breaking rains have not delivered the hammer blow you might expect from such unwelcome weather. With grapes, it's all about the buds and, so far, vineyards in the area say their crops are looking good — their vines did not bud prematurely.
But that's not to say the weather couldn't deal them a bad hand in the next couple of weeks. Whatever the weather, this time of year is always a dicey time for fruit growers. The weekend's warm weather will tickle the buds open; if a sudden freeze occurs, whole vintages can be ruined.
As winemaker Rick Magnanini of Magnanini Winery in the hamlet of Wallkill puts it, "It's always wait-and-see time this time of year." He and other vineyard owners in southern Ulster County said the unexpectedly warm winter will be a boon to his vineyard, and the more recent cold weather kept his plants from blossoming too soon.
Michael Migliore of White Cliffs Vineyards in New Paltz spent April 19 inspecting his vines and was exuberant about their condition and the possibility of good vintage.
"This was a great winter for us," he said. "The rain didn't hurt us, either. I'd say about 40 percent was under water a few days ago, but it's all drained out since then."
If all goes as he hopes, Migliore will be looking at 60 tons of grapes come harvest time.
Or, as Vic Spaccarelli, owner of Benmarl Winery in Marlborough said, "so far, so good."