High rain totals threaten East Tennessee wine production

High rain totals threaten East Tennessee wine production

Posted:
The extra rainfall has helped spread diseases like Black Rot to nearly all of the grapes. The extra rainfall has helped spread diseases like Black Rot to nearly all of the grapes.
"This summer and the previous three or four summers are the worst I've experienced," said Tennessee Valley Winery owner John Smook. "This summer and the previous three or four summers are the worst I've experienced," said Tennessee Valley Winery owner John Smook.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - East Tennessee winery owners are feeling the impact of this year's rainy weather.

Many of the berries and grapes used to make wine blossom in the spring. While those crops can handle rain early on, they have been hit hard in recent weeks with too much rain.

Tennessee Valley Winery is one of the local wineries struggling to recover from a wet harvest. The vineyard there is filled with devastation. 

The grapes have turned black. The extra rainfall has helped spread diseases like Black Rot to nearly all of the grapes.  

"This summer and the previous three or four summers are the worst I've experienced," said Tennessee Valley Winery owner John Smook.  

Smook has worked at the winery for 13 years. He says this year he has lost nearly his entire crop.

Smook says the vines won't produce enough grapes to produce wine this year. 

"The grapes are all dried up and you've got Black Rot, and they're drying up like little raisins. And unfortunately all these clusters would have beautiful grapes that we could have harvested and use to make wine," Smook said.  

Weather has been so bad this year winery owners say it's not worth the money to harvest their vineyard.  

Smook estimates around 60 percent of his vineyard has nothing growing on it.

To make up for the loss, Smook is relying more heavily this year on other local and national growers to deliver the grapes he needs to make wine.

"There are a lot of great growers that grow outside of the state. There are growers growing within the state that are doing better than we are doing in this particular valley," said Smook.

It's not just grapes, but also other fruit and vegetable crops that are feeling the effects from all the rain.

"Tomatoes are hurting, other fruit crops are hurting. I would say everything's behind schedule. Melon crops would be the same way," said Annette Wszelaki, a UT Extension vegetable specialist.

Despite bad crop conditions, Smook says he doesn't believe the consumer will be affected with higher prices.

More than 1.26 million pounds and 30 varieties of Tennessee-grown grapes were purchased in 2011 by Tennessee wineries to be used in wine production, according to the Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Alliance.

Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091
Email: newsroom@wate.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Knoxville, Inc. A Media General Company.