Winter not so hard on wine grapes in Derry Township

Cullari Vineyards in Derry Township produces wine and grows their own grapes. Frigid temperatures and unusual snowfall amounts concerned owner Salvatore Cullari about damage to the grape vines and buds, but on Thursday when he started pruning his grape vines he was pleasantly surprised.

“I am usually done pruning by now but we are just getting started,” said Cullari. “We had to wait for the snow to melt.”

Cullari believes all of the snow helped combat the constant cold temperatures. “This is the coldest winter in 14 years that I can remember, at least that continuous cold. That’s usually what causes the major damage. There will be damage for sure, but not as extensive as I thought,” said Cullari.  “Luckily there was some snow there. What snow does, is it insulates the ground and insulates the grapes and so that actually helped. If there wasn’t any snow, and it was really windy, then that would have been worse.”

“The wood is not green. It should be green. It’s not, so this is a dead vine,” said Cullari as he made his way down the vines. “We are looking for green.”

Despite some dead ones, Cullari estimates he only has lost about 10% of his crop this year, although he said he won’t know for certain until June when the grapes start to bud.