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Wine Grape Growers Struggle With Local Crop

Published On: Sep 06 2011 02:32:02 AM CDT   Updated On: Sep 06 2011 02:34:51 AM CDT
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Harvest is underway in fields across Washington and Idaho. However, it's not a year worth toasting for many wine grape growers in the region.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Washington's wine grape harvest will be down to 135,000 tons. That's down 16 percent from a record 160,000 tons last year.

One Green Bluff farm is turning to other regions to make up for this year's loss.

Davide Trezzi, of Trezzi Farms, came to the area from Sonoma County.

He originally thought that winemakers grew their own grapes. "When we planted in 2005 we didn't know," Trezzi said.

However, things are different in Spokane.

"We now realize that there is not a lot of wineries here with their own grapes because there is a reason, short growing season, difficult to grow, high elevation. It is uphill all the time," Trezzi said.

This year the vines are so behind, Trezzi doesn't expect to have a harvest at all. That's forcing his farm to get their grapes from other parts of Washington. Still, he must maintain his own vineyards.

"You have to work regardless in the vineyard. You have to keep pruning regardless, and keep it nice knowing you don't make anything," Trezzi said.

Despite the obstacles, Trezzi is hopeful about the future.

"If you are a farmer, you have to be optimistic. You lose, it comes back. Never give up. I am not the guy that gives up," Trezzi said.

Trezzi Farms didn't have a harvest last year either. It's able to stay afloat through its catering business, and by renting out space for weddings and other events.