Freezing temps could impact wine production

by: Berndt Petersen Updated:

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HALL COUNTY, Ga. - The owner of a local winery said sub-freezing temperatures may have badly damaged his field. 

Matt Vrahiotes has been carefully examining his blackberry crops at Sweet Acre Farms to see if they are holding up after several days of cold weather. 

"First thing that goes through your mind is, 'Here we go. Here we go again,' and what will we do to prepare for it," he said. 


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The blackberry canes may have been killed by the cold, but Vrahiotes won't know for sure for several weeks. 

"It'll be June. It'll be 100 degrees out and you'll start seeing whole canes die all of a sudden," he said. 

If that happens, Vrahiotes said he will buy fruit from growers in central and south Georgia to keep the wine flowing. 

Vrahiotes produces wine from peaches grown in an orchard down the road and hopes the freeze hasn't damaged that crop as well. 

He expects to lose 10 percent of the plants to the cold. 

"It's frustrating. Yeah, it's hard. Farming is hard," Vrahiotes said. 

He said freezing temperatures have destroyed half of his crop during two of the last six seasons. He lost two tons of berries each time.