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Weather Brings Fewer Grapes, Sweeter Wine

July 12, 2012, 6:45 AM by Kellee Azar

Weather Brings Fewer Grapes, Sweeter Wine
DELL RAPIDS, SD -

Its been a curve ball of a year for wine makers but one that's bringing a new sense of excitement for the Baumbergers.

Wine making started out as a hobby on their farm north of Dell Rapids.  And more than two years later, it's grown into a business with more than 1,200 vines.

Now, it's the height of growing season for South Dakota wineries.  But with this year's mild winter and extreme heat, this year is already shaping up different than the rest.

"It was some ups and downs.  We never had a really consistent winter.  And I was concerned about that more than anything else when we were into February we had some very warm days and Mother Nature was tricking the fruit to go into bud break.  That happened and I got some frost damage on some of my vines," Pete Baumberger said.

That damage means fewer grapes and, in the end, fewer bottles of wine. Since it's small, this growing family vineyard could see a noticeable impact.

"If it is it is, if production is down, you just make the best with what you have and maybe you run out of something and somebody has to wait until next year to get more and that's fine" Julie Baumberger said.

The heat also has the fruit ripening faster than usual. But no matter what the weather brings, the couple is confident they'll be proud of the product they deliver to local stores.

"We will make the wine that we have the ability to make. And we will make the best of it and it will still be good," Julie Baumberger said.

In fact, it could be their best product yet.  The heat's not only speeding up the process, it will affect the flavor.

"More sugar with the drought years; I've never encountered it as a wine maker.  I'm actually a little excited about it.  The wines from drought years are suppose to be pretty good so we might get a chance to make some this year," Pete said.

For more information on the winery visit the Baumberger Vineyard and Winery website.

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