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Has the dry weather been good for growing grapes?

Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize stopped by a winery in Northumberland County to find out how the grapes fare with the lack of rainfall.

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — Much of Pennsylvania is under a drought watch, including Northumberland County. Droughts are not good for most farmers, as many crops need lots of water to survive.

But dry weather is good for growing grapes.

"It seems to have controlled disease a little bit more. Less growth on the vines seems to concentrate the sugars in the grapes a little bit more," explained Ryan Bonney.

Bonney and his family own Whispering Oaks Vineyard outside of Sunbury. The vines were planted between 2010 and 2011. Bonney says this has been the driest season yet.

"The last couple of years, I've noticed it seemed to be drier. It seems to be a trend. This seems to be the driest for the longest amount of time since we've planted."

Bonney tells Newswatch 16 that warm weather also cuts down on fungus, which grapes are prone to.

"Some years with lots of rain, you have to spray more often to control the diseases, molds and mildews that can form on the grapes."

Bonney considered irrigating the vines this year because of the lack of rainfall.

"If you lose the leaves, the grapes stop ripening. No leaves means the grapes are pretty much done, and they have to be harvested. If they got so dry that the leaves would drop, that wouldn't be good."

Fortunately, it did not come to that. Bonney says this year has been good for his grapes, which in turn makes it good for wine.

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