OSU Reports Bud Kill in NE Ohio
An ominous report was released by The Ohio State University about the damage done by this month’s sub-zero cold weather. University researchers with OSU in Kingsville, which is located in both the Grand River and Lake Erie AVA’s, found grape bud kill for four vinifera varieties was 100%. Temperatures in Kingsville vineyard reached -14F earlier this month.
In his newsletter dated January 25th, Ohio wine pioneer Arnie Esterer said, “With rain and a warm spell we lost most of the (snow) blanket when the polar vortex took most of the 2014 crop in the two days following. Hope for more snow as it comes down tonight.” (Esterer’s Markko Vineyard is on the shores of Lake Erie near the Ohi0/Pennslyvania border.)
Lake Erie is now 90% covered with ice and will provide little “lake effect” warmth during the next wave of cold which is set to hit the Midwest during the last week of January. In contrast, lake snow has been very heavy in coastal Michigan providing vines some protection from repeated incursions of arctic air.
Many of the vinifera vines in the Midwest have been planted in the past five or so years. During this time, it has been relatively warm. Only spring will tell, but 2014 may be remembered as the winter that changed the direction of varietal selection in some parts of the Midwest.
Meanwhile, the same Pacific high pressure system that’s brought drought to California hurls a series of ice daggers at the Midwest. Some are now suggesting that “global warming” be renamed “global weirding.”
See satellite image of frozen Lake Erie: Ice Atop Lake Erie