By Bryan Calandrelli, Niagara Correspondent

As if grape growing in true cool climate areas wasn’t hard enough with extreme winter temperatures, early and late frost dangers and a constant battle with humidity, time after time severe storms add to the risk with hail outbreaks that can spoil an otherwise great vintage.

The vineyard pictured above is owned by Schulze Vineyards & Winery in Burt, NY. These very same vines took a nasty hit from hail last year and left grower Martin Schulze with his share of damaged fruit. Martin, who came over from Germany as a child, has been tending to vineyards here for over thirty years. He’s as meticulous as anyone I’ve met and he consistently grows clean fruit even in the toughest years, but last year nature had other plans for his crop.

The storm cell in this photo luckily passed to the south of his vineyards last week. There was a clear signature of a hail within these clouds as portions of them had that green glowing color that usually indicates frozen water.

As much as I love to witness severe weather, I was crossing my fingers that our local vineyards escaped any significant hail. Luckily I haven’t heard of any damage.