Winery reflects on winter weather impact to harvest, sales

Michigan

HASLETT, Mich. (WLNS)– The holidays are a time to toast to a good year at Burgdorf’s Winery and to the hard work the staff puts in throughout the year.

“There’s quite an effort for the farmers or the people who grow the vineyards and produce the fruit,” says owner David Burgdorf. “There’s a big effort. And also there’s a huge effort for the winemakers, the people that really create the wine.”

Part of that effort is finding solutions to Michigan’s winters. Burgdorf says they start with grapes from around the state, with an emphasis on varieties they know can handle lower temperatures.

“Most everybody can grow grapes,” he says, “but when you move into the cooler areas like Michigan and the upper midwest where it’s cooler climates, we now have adapted variables that have been developed.”

Burying their vines in the snow gives the growers a better shot at a good harvest. But even those colder-weather grapes can’t escape the more extreme temperatures–like the polar vortex Michigan experienced last year.

The grapes suffered as a result.

“The harvests were lighter,” Burgdorf says. “Instead of getting four tons to the acre, you may have gotten a ton, or something like that, or none.”

Wineries around the state had to raise their prices to make up for the lost product. They say that’s just a sacrifice some small business have to make.

No matter what mother nature throws their way, the winery will roll with the punches.

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