MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — Grapes on the vine are thriving just fine at Blue Ridge Estate Vineyard and Winery near Kunkletown.
Randy Detrick and his wife own the business. Randy has been hard at work harvesting grapes to make wine. Despite all the rain, things are looking pretty good.
"I would say the rain doesn't matter as much as retention of the ground. You want a lot of drainage in the ground, and Blue Ridge is built on the side of a hill; it's all shale out here. When it rains, it runs off very quickly. The rain didn't bother me. There's a lot of wind flow out here, so the leaves dry out, you don't get powdery mildew, you don't get wet foot because the roots are sitting in water, so all is well. If you have a vineyard with poor drainage, rain is a problem for you," said Detrick.
While Mother Nature didn't have a negative impact on the grapes, she did, however, put a little bit of a damper on those who wanted to sit outside and enjoy their glass of wine.
"The biggest challenge with the rain this year, I think for every winery, when it rains on the weekends, it deters people from going out and visiting the wineries. Most wineries, like Blue Ridge, have hundreds and hundreds of seats, all outdoors. So, I'm hoping every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday it's not rainy so people can enjoy the vineyards because we have seating right in the vines," said Detrick.
Not far from Blue Ridge Winery is Big Creek Vineyard and Winery near Kresgeville.
Dominic Strohlein runs the place in Polk Township. His biggest issue this year? Lack of sun from big clouds.
"It's not really the rain that's the problem. When it's raining, the sun's not out. If we can schedule so that it only rains at night, it would have been a really good year. An adult vine in our area, on our soil, needs an inch of rain every 10 days to thrive, and that's really a lot of rain. We haven't seen that in forever. It's not the rain, it's the lack of sun, and it's something we can't do anything about," said Strohlein.
You also can't pick grapes when it's raining.
With the potential for some over the next few days, Dominic says he will start harvesting his grapes on Monday.