Southern Ill. Vines Dormant Despite Warmth
According to David Ponce, Owner and Winemaker at Monte Allegre Vineyard and Cellars in far southern Carbondale, Illinois, the primary buds on his grape vines are not swelling despite unseasonably warm weather. Reports from grape producing regions of Missouri this week described budding trees and fears from grape growers that their vines could also be prematurely exposed if warm weather persists. The average January temperature in Cape Girardeau, MO, which is at the same latitude as many Illinois and Missouri vineyards, was 47 degrees which is 12 degrees above average. While Ponce said that he is nervous about the warm winter, he is reassured by cool nights and soil temperatures below the 55 degree levels where sap would start to rise. Midwest fruit growers don’t want a repeat of the winter of 2007 where exceptional warmth was followed by a prolonged hard frost in April. Forecast high temperatures for Southern Illinois are in the 30’s and 40’s through February 13th.