Maragas Winery hit by 'devastating' cold snap

Culver vineyard loses 19 acres of vines to frigid temps

Maragas Winery hit by cold snap

CULVER, Ore. - Doug Maragas describes the past few frigid nights in a single word.

"This is devastating," he said Monday morning.

In Maragas Winery's 10 years, he's never seen it this cold -- or this early.

"The problem is the extreme cold when the plants are that young," Maragas said.

Nineteen acres of vines planted this spring have been destroyed. -- the frost freezing the life out of the new shoots, otherwise known as "winter kill."

"It's just one of those things with Mother Nature. How could I have predicted it would have been 21.5 degrees below zero?" Maragas said.

As for the plants that have been in the ground 6-7 years, they should be okay.

But if not, Maragas says it could mean the worst.

"Our first release of estate wine is going to be a collector's item, because we'd have to replant everything at that point," Maragas said.

Replanting without any cuttings from current vines could take years.

"That could be ... (another) year before we plant that out, so the delay is expensive," Maragas said.

Expensive might be an understatement.

"You're talking $30,000-$40,000 in plants, not including the labor, which is also very expensive. So it's a bit of a hit," he said.

Maragas uses fruit from outside the area as well. So the cold might have hurt the crop, but he's hoping after 10 years of hard work, it won't hurt the brand.

"We're hoping for the best," he said. "The best thing to get through it is to sell more wine so for the folks who like local wine -- please buy more wine. Right now, it really counts."

Maragas Winery is holding a canned food drive this Saturday, Dec. 14h from 11 am- 5 pm. It's free to attend -- just bring canned food.

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