Eveningside Vineyards in Cambria saw a storm pass through last weekend that literally took down a row of riesling vines next to their tasting room. I arrived the next day to see it for myself and ask owner Randy Biehl how things looked.
Bryan Calandrelli: So when did this happen?
Randy Biehl: About 6:30 Saturday evening we were in the tasting room closing up and the building started rumbling. We looked outside and saw shingles in the yard and our lawn chairs flying around in front of the vineyard and then I saw our first row of riesling was down – about 100 yards of the row was down actually. All the intermediate posts and end-posts snapped.
BC: Do you remember what you said when that happened?
RB: There was lots of swearing and a little bit of “I can’t (expletive) believe this.” I still can’t believe it. We sat out there last night as we cooked on the grill. Pete Smith (from Niagara Landing) came over and we sat there for quite a few hours and I just couldn’t accept that it was down.
BC: Is there any substantial vine loss?
RB: I just saw one vine that had some cracks in it but the rest seem to be fine. There’re just bent. Even when I first saw the down vines I could tell that the vines we’re pretty much okay.
BC: What’s the immediate plan for the riesling?
RB: We cut some steel stakes in half about 4 ½ or five feet and we’re going to pound those into the ground a couple of feet next to the existing stakes and then we’re going to tie wire around the new stakes and stand them up. So it’s a temporary fix and then probably not until March, well after harvest and spring pruning when there’s no weight on the vines, then we will replace the intermediate stakes and end posts.
BC: Will any of this affect the grapes at all this year?
RB: Yes I think it’s going to make better wine. They like a little drama, a little struggle (laughing).