Grapes are a delicious fruit used to make wine, jams, jellies, pies, and other products used by consumers daily. When well taken care of, grape vines can last up to 40 years and produce more than 20 pounds of grapes annually. However, it takes time, patience, and the right climate to maximize grape growth and production. Before choosing which variety of grape to plant, growers need to carefully consider the climate zone and soil composition in order to maximize grape production.
Climate plays a crucial role in the growth of grapevines. The amounts of rainfall per year, day and night temperatures, and severity of winter snowfall, are all important factors to consider. Some grape varieties are very hardy and can withstand low temperatures and snowfall, while other varieties prefer a mild climate to best grow and produce fruit. Climate also determines the prevalence of diseases and insects that can contaminate and ultimately kill grapevines. A temperate climate generally encourages moths, Japanese Beetles, and leafhoppers. It also provides the right temperature and conditions to foster the growth of mildew and black rot, both of which affect grape canes and will lead to death of the grapevine plant. Additionally, grape growers must be vigilant of soil composition. Again, climate factors such as temperature, rainfall, and wind gusts, all play a role in the type of soil found in that area. Soil that is too rich or not rich enough in crucial elements such as nitrogen or potassium will affect the grape production of that particular region.
The Finger Lakes area supports a great climate to grow grapes. It is often compared to the Rhine wine growing region of Germany. This is why the Finger Lakes is known for growing superior Riesling, one of the most successful grape varietals grown in Germany. In addition, our region can grow amazing hybrid varietals. Most vineyards are planted on steep hillsides. This helps with good drainage, plus gets better sun exposure for the grapes.