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Grape Growers Facing Tough Season Following Cold Snap That Killed 95% of Crop

By Evan Taylor Feb 21, 2023 | 11:50 AM

Grape growers in Nova Scotia are facing devastation after a recent cold snap wiped out over 95% of some of the most prized grape varieties.

Steve Ells, president of the Grape Growers Association of Nova Scotia, said that this was the worst damage he had seen in 12 years in the business, with no possibility of harvesting Nova Scotia-grown vinifera grapes such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling this year. He added that it could take a few years before there was a significant amount of vinifera crop again.

“This year’s cold snap was particularly devastating due to the relatively mild winter we had enjoyed prior to it,” Ells said. “Vines need time to acclimatize to cold weather and they weren’t when this cold snap hit,”.

The cold snap also destroyed between 50% and 60% of buds from hybrid grape varieties. Grape growers are now assessing the damage, but Ells said that they would not know the full extent until the summer. He said that the provincewide figures show that about 35% of grapes are vinifera and 65% are hybrid. The Grape Growers Association has asked the provincial government for help in rebuilding.

Agricultural Minister Greg Morrow has indicated the government is preparing to provide support through programs like crop insurance, the Business Risk Management Program, and agristability. Morrow indicated the government is still determining which programs will be utilized and they are awaiting more information on the extent of the damage before those decisions are finalized.



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