Cold and frost threaten local vineyards’ wine production

Weather Specials

Winery owners said they haven't seen it this cold this late into spring in years

(WKBN) – The recent stretch of cold temperatures is concerning local farmers and wineries. Most wineries in the Valley are expected to reopen Friday but grape farmers we talked to said each day below freezing is costing them money.

“The freeze that’s supposed to come the next few days is making me a little nervous because I can’t protect the vines from a freeze,” said Daniel Mastropietro, who owns a winery in Berlin Center.

He said it hasn’t been this cold in May for at least six years.

Mastropietro is hoping for a bounceback growing season this year since rain ruined two-thirds of his vineyard last spring.

On top of a drop in sales from the COVID-19 pandemic, the next few days will determine how much wine he can make and store.

“It’s just being a farmer,” he said. “Your hands are in Mother Nature’s.”

“For example, we’ve got some of our vines here where the buds are just starting to come out now,” said Joseph Glista, who owns the Vineyards at Pine Lake in Columbiana.

He said there have been cold scares before, but it’s been a while since they’ve seen them this late in the season.

Glista’s most developed vines are his Niagara grapes, which are what he uses to make his best-selling wine, Lindale.

A couple more nights below freezing could really hurt production.

“If we’re getting frost on April 11, it doesn’t matter because the buds haven’t opened up yet and we’re not so worried about that. It’s just when it gets this late in the year, that’s when we get very concerned,” Glista said.

Both wineries will open their patios this weekend. They’ve been open the past two months for carryout and delivery only.

Mastropietro and Glista hope business can get back to something closer to normal.

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