Mild Winter Brings Strong Wine

Mild Winter Brings Strong Wine
TRI-CITIES -- With longer days and blasts of warm weather hitting our area, many people are wondering what it means for one of our biggest industries: wine.

"We're excited. It's been a mild winter. It's been a good winter. No real hard freezes. So, going forward, I don't know of any of my friends, or people in the business that have had any serious injury to the grapes."

Paul Kitzke runs Kitzke Cellars, a small winery in Richland. He's been in the farming business for over 30 years and says our balmy winter bodes well for a strong grape season.

"Everyone is pretty happy after this winter. Crops should be fine, we had a good bumper crop last year and going forward in this industry, I think it's going to be better," Kitzke Says.

The proof is in the vines. Grape buds are expected to form ahead of schedule this year. Which is a good omen for wine lovers like Jason.

"I been noticing Badger Mountain has been like, green for the last two months. Which isn't typical. Everything seems like it's starting early around here."

But that's not say to we're out of the clear just yet. The official start of spring doesn't being for another few weeks,meaning cold temperatures aren't totally gone yet.

Paul warns, "We still have a lot of time to go before we get through the spring freezes and spring frosts. we still got a long way to go. We're just starting the season."

Jason agreed. "I think people are ready go for the spring, but it's not here yet. It's gonna get cold again."

So, while winter will go on, it's no reason to wine.