It's no secret that the weather can impact agriculture, and Adam Puchta winery in Hermann, Missouri in Gasconade County is a prime example of how a 7th generation family business handles the weather’s impacts on their vineyards.
As Parker Puchta, a seventh generation worker for the company explained,“You are at the whim of the weather for ninety percent of it...Obviously a lot of the things we try to do is make sure the microorganisms in the soil is as perfect as we can make it.The higher the organic matter, the better moisture retention we have in the soil which is going to help when there is a drought, whether we are irrigating or whether we are relying on just the rain.”
His father, Tim Puchta, added, “When we work with wines during the growing season, we typically get them after the growing season obviously, but we have to work with variables that are in the growing season. Typically things that give us problems are too much water, too much heat will make the skins tough. Tough skins means phenolic structures which means bitterness. A big problem for us in the wine industry.”
While many vineyards across the nation deal with similar problems, Missouri's weather makes it even more difficult for families like the Puchta family to produce their product.
Tim told ABC 17 News, “Missouri vs. California...huge differences.Wonderful almost Mediterannian-type climates, they don’t have big swings in weather changes. So what we get here is, you know, hot cold, hot cold through the winter. Frost events. Could be 70 degrees one week and below zero the next. That’s hard on the vines, too many days in the winter time growing where the weather is warm,the sap starts coming out of the roots coming up into the vine. All of the sudden you get these swings and it starts to freeze,the sap is already in the vine and then the vine will freeze and then blow the vine apart. Now you have an injury site, now you have a disease site, now you have to cut that off a lot of times and start retraining your vines from the bottom up.”
So the next time we have an early or a late freeze, you may want to get a bottle of wine from that year to see just how it changes the flavor.