Remaining grape vines promising at Elmaro - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Remaining grape vines promising at Elmaro

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Laura Roessler Laura Roessler
Steve Okonek Steve Okonek
Trempealeau County, WI (WXOW) -

After experiencing a late season freeze in May, staff at Elmaro Vineyard in Trempealeau are optimistic about this year's crop.

SEE: Cold temps devastate Elmaro Vineyard crops

Owner, Laura Roessler also makes wine and plans events at the vineyard. She said about 90 percent of the primary crop was lost in the May frost.

"We had a pretty decent spring right away, everything was moving right along and then early May when things had just budded out we had this nice, deep freeze," said Roessler.

The freeze killed about 90 percent of the vineyard's crop, but some buds were still able to develop despite the harsh elements.

"There's three types of buds. There's the primary that's going to bud out first you'll get a full crop out of that. Then there's the secondary which will produce about a half crop which is just a little bit deeper inside, it won't show up unless the primary crop dies. Then if that one freezes, there's the tertiary that will survive the whole plant," said Roessler. 

Currently, staff members are busy cutting primary clusters off the vines, allowing the secondary or back-ups that remain to gain more sunlight, reduce acids, produce more sugars, and of course ripen to be harvested in September.

For ideal grape growth, well-drained soil is necessary-something sandy, maybe with a little bit of gravel. Moderate summer temperatures in the mid-eighties and cool nights help sugar levels in the grape crop to cultivate. 

Steve Okonek, Agriculture Agent for Trempealeau County said even though some crops remain, the loss is still significant.

"What you're looking for in wine is not only the color from the grapes but also the sugar and the flavor. Now what happens with some fruit crops is if you have a smaller crop you may get more flavor and more sugar in what's remaining but you still need the volume. So it's still a large loss," said Okonek.

With a little resilience, extra planning, and good financial management, Roessler said staff at the vineyard are hopeful of a warm fall and a bountiful harvest. 

"It does revolve all around this but your emotions can't. It's hard to see but I'm so glad it's green out here rather than brown," stressed Roessler.


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