Bumper Crop in Grapes Could Lead to an Increase in Agritourism

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Grapes are having a great harvest this season in North Dakota. This is good news for wineries and wine drinkers alike. With this increase in grapes, there will be more production of wine, leading to lower prices.

Ideal weather conditions caused the large amount of crops this year. A large amount of rain in the early summer led to a large number of grapes growing while the warmer and hotter temperatures of the fall and late summer led to the grapes ripening faster.

When harvesting grapes, growers look at a number called brix. Brix is a measurement of the amount of sugar and sweetness in grapes. This sugar is what ferments to create the alcohol in the wine. Having just the right amount is important to the growers because without enough sugar, the wine will taste too tart. On the other hand, having too much will lead to a wine that is too sweet and has too high of an alcohol content.

According to The Forum, Red Trail Vineyard near Buffalo harvested 8,000 pounds of grapes in 2016. This year they harvested 11,000 pounds of grapes, a 37.5 percent increase from last year. This increase in grapes, besides leading to lower prices, will benefit wineries especially. Wineries in the state of North Dakota have to have 51 percent of the grapes they use to be sourced from vineyards in state. This is to protect vineyards in the state and promote grape growing in state.

Harlene Hatterman-Valenti is a professor of plant sciences here at North Dakota State. She said that grape growing and vineyards in North Dakota will bring a boost to the economy, but not just in traditional ways.

“I think that the grape growing industry has a great way through agritourism.”

She said that many people come from around the country trying to visit a vineyard in every state. She also said that having vineyards as places for North Dakota residents to have a ‘staycation.’ This increase in bumper crops would allow the vineyards to expand and give larger areas for agritourism.

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