Freezing Winter Kills About 75 Percent of Grape Plant at Local Vineyard

Franque Thompson OMAHA (KPTM)- The winter's bitter cold has taken a devastating toll on a local vineyard. No grapes just yet, at Soaring Wings Vineyard, but for a lot of the plants, they won't grow any grapes at all. "Just a brutally cold winter, from here east," said vineyard owner, Jim Shaw. Shaw's vineyard is paying for the winter's damage now, because split trunks and branches for grape vines are dead. "This one particular area we're in right now has about 75 percent trunk and cordon damage. Which means that's at least 75 percent of the plant that's taken out of production for a couple years," said Shaw, further explaining that the type of wine that comes from the damaged vines won't be on the shelves for sale. Shaw blames the damage on those periods during the winter when temperatures were up and downfrom 60 degrees to anything below zero within a matter of days. "What that did to the vines is, they had a lot of fluids in their trunks. And that fluid rapidly froze on some of our varieties and split the trunks," he said. Though the future is bleak for all of the dead plants, there is still hope for some. Some vines have already started to bud and will count towards this year's harvest. Still, the freezing temperatures will cost Soaring Wings a great deal in its product. "It looks like we'll be at about 40 percent harvest of what we did last year," said Shaw. He said luckily last year's big harvest will help carry the vineyard through the upcoming wine season in sales. Shaw has hired two additional staff members to help remove the dead wood from the vineyard. He said the plants might not all be a total loss. If the roots are still healthy, the plant can grow back to its normal stage in about two to three years with proper treatment.