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High wine grape yields expected in Indiana

Grapes that will be (photo provided by Purdue University)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Despite a late freeze and the potential for Brood X cicada damage at the beginning of the wine grape growing season, experts believe Indiana will see a high yield this year. Purdue University viticulture extension specialist Miranda Purcell says wine grape harvesting begins in late August and runs through early October.

She says quick temperature changes late in the season or early frosts pose the biggest threat to grapes in Indiana.

“The cold snap we had the week before Mother’s Day killed green tissue on some of the early ripening grape varieties, especially in the northern part of the state. We saw some damage to the primary buds, which is why you may see some extra growth on vines. Thankfully, we are still expecting high yields,” Purcell said.

Purcell, a member of the Purdue Wine Grape Team, says several growers across the state reported seeing the winged form of grape phylloxera, which produces wart-like structures where female insects lay eggs and is known to cause harmful effects to the roots of the grapevine. 

Purcell says a development in the growing season was the finding of the spotted lanternfly in Indiana at the end of July, which she says nearly wiped out the wine grape industry in Pennsylvania.

“The spotted lanternfly lays eggs on anything it can, making it hard to control. We don’t expect to see widespread effects in Indiana for two to three years, but our team and others at Purdue are monitoring the situation for wine grape growers across the state,” Purcell said. 

According to Purdue, Indiana has 116 wineries and tasting rooms across the state that produce over 1 million gallons of wine each year.