STARLIGHT, IN. (WDRB News) -- After record summer heat, the weather has turned cooler in Southern Indiana.
It is the middle of the grape harvest. "You see the grapes are very ripe, very plump now," says Ted Huber of the Huber Winery. He says the harvest began very early this year. "July 28, which was the earliest ever in the history of this farm," he says.
A warm winter and an early spring meant the growing season also began early. Because of the brutal summer heat during June and July, Huber says he was forced to irrigate some of the vines, especially the younger ones whose roots have yet to penetrate deep into the soil.
"That increases our costs considerably," says Huber, "because just getting the water from our lakes up to another end of the farm, and the cost of running the pumps, and labor costs."
But he says the investment in irrigation paid off. "We came through pretty well with the summer heat and spring freezes and frost this year with a fairly good crop."
Huber says a hot summer can actually help produce good grapes. "Less disease on the plants," he explains, "because we had less rain, we had a lot of sunshine, sunshine converts the grapes into more sugar which gives us more body and more structure in the wine."
So there should be plenty of grapes to turn into wine this year.
Huber says he feels fortunate because much of the grape crop in central and northern Indiana was lost because the drought there was so much worse.
Huber expects the last grape to come off the vine the second week in October, the earliest ever the harvest has come to an end.
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