Mother Nature leads to late start in pruning vineyards - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mother Nature leads to late start in pruning vineyards

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) - The cold and snowy winter has left some eastern Iowa winery owners getting a late start in pruning their vines for this grape growing season.

Ian Bonnette is the co-owner of Sunset Ridge Winery in Dubuque County. He said this time last year, he was about half way done pruning his vineyard. This year, he said he has yet to start.

"The winter was a little chilly, but fortunately we had enough snow to blanket the vine and protect it against the sub-zero temperatures. We would like Mother Nature to co-operate a little bit more than she is right now so we can get out and really start our pruning." Bonnette said Thursday.

"If we don't get enough time and the weather doesn't cooperate we could be pruning after bud break which could be very detrimental to the vines." Bonnette said.

Bob Smith is the co-owner of Stone Cliff Winery also in Dubuque County. He said he also has not started to prune vines in his vineyard.

"That probably wont hurt anything. Our real concern is that after all this cold then it turns hot and dry. That would make it tough." Smith said.

Smith said every year he excepts to loose some vines during the winter months. He said this year that number maybe higher.

"This year I'm worried about how much damage to the vines, how many we have lost. We will always loose some, but this year it could be a lot more extreme." Smith said.

Smith said this year he is planning on putting in 700-800 new vines. He said the late start to the season is not necessarily a bad thing.

"We are behind some but that is not necessarily a problem as long as the entire season stays that way and we end up in October, but with no frost. It's the other things that happen. Last yeas was a strange year we thought we wouldn't have a crop. We turned out having a tremendous crop. So I can't guess anymore and guess right." Smith said

Both owners said they are optimistic this year will be a good growing season, as long as Mother Nature cooperates.
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