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Rainy summer hurts winegrowers in the Yadkin Valley

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BOONEVILLE, N.C. -- A rainy summer has not helped wine growers in the Yadkin Valley.

"Not enough sunshine," said Frank Hobson, Jr. owner of Rag Apple Lassie Winery in Boonville. "It's just not the best crop we've ever had."

Hobson says 10--12 inches above average rainfall has led to downy mildew on leaves, which is hurting the quality of his crop, especially Chardonnay. "The leaves is what converts sunlight into sugar for the grapes. Got to have those leaves."

Lower sugar levels equals lower quality grapes, some of which have rotted from the moisture.

Spray used to help kill the mildew needs to stay on the leaves for 24--48 hours, but is being washed away by the rain. "You spray it and it gets washed off," Hobson said.

Hobson says a typically hot dry August is the only thing could salvage what's left on his vines.  He says the wet weather will not hurt production or supply of his bottle wine.  "[RagApple Lassie] has plenty in reserve from previous years to keep up with demand."