Latest heat spell great for Eastern Iowa wineries - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Latest heat spell great for Eastern Iowa wineries

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MARQUETTE (KWWL) -

Temperatures in the upper 80's and low 90's with high dew points--sounds like a forecast for the middle of July.  Instead, it's weather we saw in the first week of September.  And while many were struggling with it, many wineries across the state were loving it.

Jay Halvorson, the 2013 Winemaker of the Year, owns the Eagles Landing Winery in Marquette.  He says this growing season got off to a bit of a slow start.

"We had a lot of rain in June and not really warm weather, so when we got the chance to get the hot weather we were really happy," he said.  He's happy, because that hot weather helped to dry the grapes out, which helps ripen them.  He says that's an important part of the process.

"It has a tremendous affect. In years gone by where we haven't gotten that late temperature change, the grapes haven't ripened fully and that certainly will affect the end product that we make."

And that end product?  Pretty good.  Eagles Landing Winery brought home 26 awards this summer, pushing their total to more than 250 since 2007.  Halvorson is hoping this recent hot spell will help him continue his hot streak.

Now that things start to cool off a bit, Halvorson says he can live with the lower temperatures, as long as it doesn't rain a lot.  "A lot of rain can cause bunch rot on the grapes, which affects the sugar in the grape," he said.

And with a fairly dry forecast, things are looking up for Halvorson and his future harvest.

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