Harsh Winter Hitting Area Grape Growers

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GENEVA, Ohio -- This has been a brutally cold winter, and perhaps no one is feeling it more than area grape growers.

The fruit of the vine is sensitive to the cold, especially when the temperature is below zero.

Gene Sigel owns the South River Vineyard in Geneva. He has been closely monitoring the temperature this winter and how it is affecting the 40 acres of wine grapes on his property.

He has recorded 19 subzero days, and he fears that is destroying his grape crop.

"Just in the last three weeks, we've had three nights where we had -17 for several hours.  I have increasingly come to realize that most of the vines will be cut down," he said.

Even during the winter, the vines should remain green on the inside, but he is finding that they are brown and cracked.

In the 15 years he has had the fields, he has never had to cut everything down.

“But, I think this year we will be,” he added.

He hopes at least the trunks of the plants can be saved.

But vines go away; so does the revenue the grapes produce.

Sigel anticipates about a half a million dollar loss just at his vineyard.

"Probably this region has lost three or four million dollars’ worth of wine grapes just for the 25 wineries here,” he added.

Sigel said the wineries in the Grand River Valley have a good inventory of white and red wine, and he doesn't foresee prices going up.

But, the reality is less Ohio wine will be produced -- making 2014 not a good year.

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