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Deep Snow Is Blessing for Conneaut Winery

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CONNEAUT, Ohio – An email dispatch Sunday, as another six-or-so inches of snow fell in the Mahoning Valley, found reason to bless this winter’s weather as good for one of Ohio’s growing industries.

“Alive! So thankful for snow,” writes Arnie Esterer, owner of Markko Vineyard here.

“The vineyard has good prospects after the coldest winter in almost 150 years,” he says. “Steady cold and snow piling-up about two feet deep blanket vines from the extreme cold above.  A temperature difference of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit keeps fruitful buds alive below the snow.”

As Esterer reports, wine growers in Ashtabula and Geagua counties “had no expectation of two super colder winters in a row. Many feel depressed and may give up,” but instead, he says, “What a thankful blessing this snow.”

In January 2014, extreme cold temperatures severely damaged the vinifera grapes that Markko and other vineyards grow. The vines should have been able to withstand the cold were it not for a few days of unseasonably warm weather in December 2013, which confused the vines so much that they lost their cold-weather hardiness.

As a result, Markko Vineyard and other vinifera wineries lost most of their 2014 crops. This winter, however, there was no let-up in the cold, and the buds endured beneath the snow.

“So in spite of your snow weariness, stay ever so thankful for all this deep snow,” Esterer writes. “Consider it another blessing, another sacrifice for wine!”

Pictured: Two feet of snow covers keeps the buds alive at Markko Vineyard in Conneaut.

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Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.