Nonsoon impacts vineyard and winery grape growth

Some grape clusters grew half traditional size

Southern AZ vineyards struggle with weather impact

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It’s the last weekend of monsoon and there’s no rain in sight. This summer’s heat and lack of rain impacted grapes growing at vineyards in Elgin.

Flying Leaps Wines General Manager Nicole Maddox said the crops yield was down about 60 percent this year. Some of the grape clusters only grew about half their traditional size.

However, the chief wine maker at Flying Leaps Wines, Brett Wagner, said the impacts aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

“The great thing about that is it’s going to give us those nice dense really flavorful berries that are going to give us some incredible tasting wines,” Wagner said.

Maddox said the wine made from this year’s grapes will have a much more concentrated flavor

“The grapes from this vintage are going to be very special,” she said. “They’re going to be very robust and very flavorful. We’re going to have a smaller amount of wine from this vintage.”

Despite not getting to make as much wine this year, Maddox doesn’t sales to be hurt as 2018 and 2019 had great harvests thanks to plenty of rain.

The few storms that came through this year brought lots of hail and damaged the small amount of grapes that were growing

“We were actually hit twice in September which basically took out our whole harvest out here but we were able to pivot and distill it into brandy,” Maddox said.

With a glass half full attitude, the winery is finding ways to make the best of the situation.

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