After one of the most damaging cold spells in recent memory, relief is on the way for wineries in the Finger Lakes. Time Warner Cable News reporter Seth Voorhees tells us how the federal government plans to reimburse the region's grape growers.
GENEVA, N.Y. -- "When you choose to farm, you take the good and the bad," said Dave Mansfield, a Finger Lakes winemaker.
And lately there's been more of the latter. Ask Dave Mansfield how he's liked this winter.
“I haven't. I haven't," Mansfield said.
For he and other Finger Lakes winemakers, there's a good reason.
"You know, you take care of things as best you can and Mother Nature does what it does," Mansfield said.
Cold temperatures have frozen grape vines to the point that buds aren't expected to bloom this year. On many vines, roots aren't in much better shape.
"There's particular damage in different varieties out here, some more than others," Mansfield said.
"Now grapes, even though they can handle cold weather better than most crops, are still susceptible to serious damage," said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.
Schumer came to Mansfield's Three Brother's Winery to tell growers he's calling on the USDA to consider a disaster declaration, which would make loans and reimbursements available to growers hit by the bad winter.
"If you have no crop at the end of the year, you are in big trouble," Schumer said.
"Everything's a help. When you're facing this kind of damage, me personally, I've got a lot of making up to do," Mansfield said.
Scientists say as many as half the buds on Finger Lakes grape vines may be damaged. They won't know for sure until later this year.
"We'll get growth, we'll get greenery. We won't get any grapes," said Mansfield.
Mansfield says he'll have to turn to other growers for many varieties of grapes this year. That, and hope for a much better next year.