Late-April cold snap may have long-lasting effect on Missouri wineries


DEFIANCE, Mo. – Temperatures have rebounded but some wineries feel lasting effects of the late-season cold snap through September.

“My stomach dropped a little bit. I was like, ‘Uh-oh, we are worse off than we thought,’” said Charles Miller, assistant general manager at Chandler Hill Winery.

With temperatures earlier in the week at 32 degrees and below, it may mean less merlot. 

“To our eyes, about 50% of our crop had started pushing or had broken. So, a majority of those will have unfortunately been affected,” Miller said. 

After a walk through in the field, Miller noticed some buds survived the spring freeze, while others were not so lucky.

“These have really good chance of surviving since they have not broken yet or pushed out,” he said. “Whereas a bud, maybe such as this, that is maybe already pushing out that is maybe brittle and brown, that was definitely affected.”  

Luckily for Chandler Hill Winery, the glass is still half full. 

“So then vines actually have a little bit of an insurance policy built in,” Miller said. “And they do have secondary buds so even if these were killed off, we wouldn’t be completely out of luck with our crop, but we would be minimized.” 

But the next weather event is always in the back of their mind.

“From here on out, you know, we would worry about spring storms, obviously severe weather,” Miller said. 

The winery hopes to see plenty of rain in the months ahead, but wind and hail can completely wipe out a season. 

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