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Wollersheim Winery loses 80 Percent of its Red Grapes during Late-season Freeze

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. (CHANNEL 3000) -

 Around 80 percent of Wollersheim Winery’s red grapes were lost to the late-season freeze. About a quarter of the white wine grapes were also destroyed. 

“I've been here 32 years. This is the worst that I have ever seen in my life,” Philippe Coquard said.

Coquard said it’s basically a total loss, and while the winery does buy grapes from other vineyards around the country, there are certain wines that are made entirely with estate-grown grapes.

While the vines will survive, the majority will not bear fruit this season. The leaves look burned and fall apart in Coquard’s fingertips.

“If you think grown up men can't cry, I did,” Coquard said.

Coquard knows he’s far from the only winemaker affected by the low temperatures over the weekend. The freeze stretched across the entire state, and he assumes it hit all of the wineries just as hard. Wollersheim relies on some of those places for grapes as well.

“For us, it's going to be 40, 50 acres of grapes that we won't be getting out of Wisconsin because they all froze,” Coquard said. “So there will be a lot less wines made from Wisconsin-grown grapes that's for sure.”

With most of his white grape crop still intact, Coquard has a solution if Wisconsin wine will be limited.

“We'll drink more brandy,” Coquard said.

Wollersheim added a distillery on site last year. The brandy is made with white wine grapes.

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