Make It Stop Already

Yet another weather system in moving into the Finger Lakes the next two days with the potential to drop another 1 to 3 inches of rain. According to the Cornell University Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC), the temperature hasn’t been far off from the long term averages, but the summer has been decidedly wet, with flooding experienced in Ithaca, Penn Yan, and other areas in the Finger Lakes.

*through August 11
Month Average Temperature Total Precipitation
Normal 2014 Normal 2014
May 55.4 56.4 3.19 4.44
June 64.6 65.1 3.99 5.14
July 68.8 67.8 3.85 3.83
August 3.63 2.66*

More troubling has been severe storms we have experienced, including several bouts of hail and one spate of tornadoes.

Hail on a deck near Ithaca, courtesy Finger Lakes Weather and Sharon Heller.

Hail on a deck near Ithaca, courtesy Finger Lakes Weather and Sharon Heller.

While no farmer ever wants to see hail, this type of precipitation is particularly tough on grapes. The photo below is probably of a native American varietal, as indicated by the loose clusters. Vinifera tends to be more tightly clustered, and a puncture in the skin of a grape on the outside of the cluster allows juice to stream inside where, with nowhere to go, it produces rot. The juice from compromised clusters is decidedly, in the words of Alton Brown, “not good eats,” and they must be discarded or the grapes  sorted before pressing – an arduous and expensive process for which there is little time during harvest.

Hail damaged grapes, courtesy Finger Lakes Grape Program.

Hail damaged grapes, courtesy Finger Lakes Grape Program.

At this point in the season, the grapes have all the water they need. Some stretches of sunshine and low humidity would be most helpful.

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About keukaharv

Living and loving life in the beautiful Finger Lakes Wine Country.
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