While the US drought has been rough on our region’s corn and soybean crops, grape growers in the Four Rivers say their harvest will make up in quality what it lacks in quantity. Winemakers throughout the area report their vineyards have proven resilient to the recent heat and dryness.
They say that's because the drought has left surviving grapes with concentrated flavors and sugars that could mean superior vintages. Winery operators also say grape varieties common to the Midwest have roots that can reach dozens of feet below the surface to get at water tables. The dryness also tends to keep away pests and disease. But there's a downside. Some grape growers worry the drought could continue into coming years, stressing vines and requiring installation of expensive irrigation systems.