SHERIDAN, N.Y - After a long and brutal winter the federal government is now stepping in to make sure Western New York farmers and growers are not left out in the cold. The severe weather has impacted local wineries and there is now help available.
Driving into Sheridan, it's apparent you've entered wine country. As the seasons change there's curiosity what this year's harvest will bring. There is defiantly a lot of chatter as people start to assess the damage
Liberty Vineyards and Winery produces 5,000 cases of wine a year. They are one of the many places looking to see if the cold weather will slow them down.
"You usually get more concerned during years like this," said owner Gary Burmaster.
That's why the winery took canes out of the vineyard to see how the grapes will do. Some are shooting buds normally, and others are not.
"We know the primary and secondary's are dead. But we also know a number of them are still forcing so there's still life there."
While he still expects a healthy harvest, Senator Chuck Schumer announced there's been county disaster designations for five New York Counties from this winters freeze. The declaration will help grape growers get critical relief.
Scientists at Cornell are suggesting that more than 50 percent of buds could be damaged this winter.
Wineries will also be monitoring root damage.
"We also raise more winter hearty variety for years like this so that we can have grapes," Burmaster said.
Because of that he expected the majority of grape varieties like Concord to do okay. However, there are varieties that are more vulnerable.
"There will be some varieties that there's up to 70 percent damage to the primaries."
Until then, harvesters can just pour a glass and wait.
"We're optimistic that the damage is not going to be devastating, but there's definitely going to be a loss."