Here in the Finger Lakes, it has been COLD! With some temps clocked as low as -11 in Geneva, NY, it is important to remember several things when it comes to cold temps in this region:
1) Site specificity is extremely important, as is the location of the vineyard and its proximity to the lake. Clearly, this is most important for locations on Seneca and Cayuga lake, where the water has not frozen.
2) Riesling and Cabernet Franc, two key Finger Lakes varietals, are hardy down to -14 degrees. This is comforting considering there are some sites that have seen temperatures close to this.
3) The cold is occurring later in the year in 2015, as compared with 2014, when the cold temperatures sparked a flurry of worry and state and federal intervention. There is cause for hope that these low temperatures have happened as the vines are entirely dormant and hardened off - providing some glimmer of hope that bud damage will not be too bad and that we will see a full harvest in 2015.
There are causes for concern however, and growers and wineries should consider the contractual arrangements they currently have. Arctic cold temperatures are a foreseeable issue in the Finger Lakes, and both wineries and growers can benefit from considering in advance how they will navigate their relationship should there be serious vineyard damage.