What does the hot, dry weather mean for winemakers?

GENEVA, Ohio (WYTV) – The long stretch of hot, dry weather has those that grow feeling the heat.

Vineyard owners in Ohio say growing grapes with our weather can be a challenge. Unlike California, where they see consistent sunshine and heat, the temperature here fluctuates constantly.

Gene Sigel, owner of South River Vineyard in Geneva, said when he tasted his grapes earlier this month, he thought it was going to be a bad crop.

“This year, we had a little bit of the worst of everythig,” Sigel said. “We had a cold summer, a wet summer and then a cold July and August. Three weeks ago, I wasn’t sure what the crop was going to look like.”

Then came the dry, hot weather.

We hit another record high of 90 degrees on Wednesday. That’s more than 20 degrees above average from where we should be this time of year, and that has been the trend for the past few weeks.

We are also more than 2.5 inches behind on rainfall, but that’s good news for wine lovers.

Hot and dry conditions mean sweeter grapes.

Some vineyards bring their grapes in from other places, but at South River Winery, Sigel makes all of his wines with the grapes grown on his property.

What do they do if they have a bad season?

He said there are ways to make wines sweeter, but that’s more costly for the winemaker.