For the past couple of weeks it's been the same thing most mornings when I leave for work: Below zero temperatures. I live in Vermont, so those conditions are no big surprise. If it weren't for the weather, I'm not sure what else we would have to talk about in rural New England.
Each morning I drive past a house in the neighborhood that boasts a little backyard vineyard — I'd estimate they have about 30 or 40 fairly mature vines. While I know there are a lot of cold hard grapevine varieties (which they must be growing), I still wonder on these chilly days — how cold is too cold for those vines? And how long can they stand it?
(Backyard vineyard in East Arlington, Vermont.)
Remember last winter — the year of the "Polar Vortex"? Silly weather names aside, last winter brought some very cold conditions to places that don't normally get those kinds of temperatures. My friends in North Carolina and points south were up in arms about all the freezing temperatures and sloppy weather, and their grapevines weren't too happy about it either. I talked to a lot of folks in the grape growing seminars I attended at the 2014 WineMaker Magazine Conference (in Virginia) who experienced major grapevine damage from the cold — many of them from the Southeast....