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Ohio Winemakers Hit Hard By Winter

GENEVA, Ohio (WSPD) -- Ohio wine makers plan to seek federal aid to help them recover from damage to their vineyards caused by this past winter's brutally cold temperatures. The frigid weather wiped out many varieties of grapes grown in Ohio.

"It was brutal for many of the wineries, the growers in this state, and certainly in adjacent states too," said Donniella Winchell, executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association.

She expects damages to be higher than $12 million dollars. The hardest hit area of the state was northeast Ohio. The exact extent of the damage won't be known for another 6 to 8 weeks.

"The Vinifera, the Chardonnay, the Riesling, the Cabernets, the classic wine grapes, in some parts of the state have taken this year's crop damage from 60 or 70 percent loss up to 100 percent loss," she said.

There is some good news though. Vines that weren't severely damaged will still produce some grapes and the grapes they produce will be very good, according to Winchell.

"2012 was probably the best growing season in several decades with its hot, long summer. In 2013, we had a huge crop, so everybody's tanks are full," she said.

That will help buy some time for wine producers to make up for this year's loss. Federal aid will also help with wineries that need to re-plant and re-train their vines.

 

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