Wet Weather Destroying Grape Crop
Lynchburg, VA - It's nice to get a small break from all the rain we've been getting this year. Lynchburg, however, is now more than seven inches above average for this time of year.
All of the heavy rain is affecting farmers. Grape farmers are really worried about the impact it's having on their crops.
"Two years ago, it gave me eight tons of grapes. I doubt that I will get a ton this year," Terry DeVault with DeVault Family Vineyards said. "My babies are drying. my babies are dying. Yeah, it's sad looking, isn't it?"
Sad is the best way to describe a situation Terry DeVault is dealing with on his grape farm.
"These are diseased. They should be full grapes, but they slowly shrivel up - they call them mummies," DeVault said.
Fungus and mold are killing his grapes.
"You have all that extra growth and leaves which trap all the moisture around your berries and then your berries get moldy," DeVault said.
DeVault said there's not much he can do. From one vineyard to the next, the same problem exists.
"They were doing great. I was taking care of them. I came out one morning, and poof, I had white powder all over them," DeVault explained.
"Here's what's going on. We got of trough of low pressure that developed back in March and has pretty much stayed across the eastern part of the nation," explained ABC 13 Meteorologist Matt Ferguson.
Ferguson says Lynchburg has seen nearly 29 inches of rain this year.
"During the first 6 months of this year we have picked up almost all the rainfall that we've received during the entire year of 2012," Ferguson said.
"This is the rainiest year in the 14 years that we've been here," DeVault said.
For farmers, like DeVault, the soggy troubles mean even more expense, but there is some hope at least.
"If the rain slows down, it will have been a nice year. If it continues on during harvest, it may not be a good year for grapes," DeVault said. "That's life."
DeVault says another problem is the flavor of the grape. Grapes taste sweeter when grown in dryer conditions. He says the grapes will build their sugar count in August, so they have their fingers crossed that the rain will lighten up a bit before then.