Vineyards thrive in hot Iowa summer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Vineyards thrive in hot Iowa summer

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FREDERICKSBURG (KWWL) -

The sweltering heat is causing big problems for corn and soybean growers, but one small Iowa crop is thriving.

Loren and Dianna Engelbrecht, the owners of the Engelbrecht Winery in Fredericksburg, say this weather has been perfect for their grapes. The vines have deep roots and can collect water from the ground where other plants can't reach. The heat also ripens the grapes faster.

"Most important thing is quality of wine, which is made out in the vineyard. As a wine maker we can make it better or worse in the winery, but we have to have good grapes to get good wine," said Loren Engelbrecht.

Without rain, fungus has stayed away and the heat has kept bugs at bay.

"They don't seem to have any stress or anything, in fact, I think they look like the best they have ever looked and I think we'll have the largest crop we've ever had and the highest quality crop we've ever had," said Dianna Engelbrecht.

Despite how good things are going right now, the Engelbrechts know that things can change quickly. From hail, to strong winds, the crop could still face damage.

"You know it's one of those things, if you're going to be a farmer you have to have a lot of faith that things will work out," said Dianna.

"Anything can happen. It's agriculture and we could... But right now things look good," said Loren.

The Engelbrecht's vineyard is about 12 acres and out of every acre they can get about four tons of grapes. So this could be, if the weather stays the way it has been, a record setter for this farm.

In the spring the Engelbrechts had to deal with several cold snaps that produced frost. They say they were able to protect their grapes by spraying them with a liquid solution that kept them from freezing.

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