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Winery Thrives Despite Dry Conditions



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This Summer has been rough for many farmers throughout the Midwest, but there's one crop that welcomes the dry conditions causing one business to thrive despite the heat.

In the six years Strawbale Winery in Renner has been in business, this is the first time they have had to manually water their crops.

   
Strawbale Winery Owner Don South said, "The grapes we have out here are nine years old and they have never been given water except for last Monday."


But it isn't as bad as it sounds. South says the drought may actually help his plants along. He says grapes have an advantage. They have long roots that go down fifteen to twenty feet so if water is available they will find it.


South said, "If you look at California, the biggest grape producing area of the country, most of California is a desert, so grapes really thrive in hot, dry weather. "
    
Because of the early spring, that means that these vines will be ready three weeks earlier than usual, meaning that harvest will be early.


South said, "Instead of picking our grapes from mid to late September, we will be picking our grapes maybe the end of August."
    
South says another advantage: the plant might be smaller which allows more flavor.


South said, "A really good wine has a 'vintage year' and this may in fact be a vintage year for us because the grape vines are stressed and we are going to get a really great crop if everything holds together."


For some, the dry conditions never tasted so sweet.

As far as production goes, they still need to keep a watchful eye on the vines and leaves. Grapes need about an inch of water a week during high stress times.
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