WIEDERKEHR VILLAGE, Ark. (KTHV) - A little drought stress to grapevines can be a good thing, but vineyards in northwest Arkansas are making sure no matter what, harvest is pleanty.
"The rain drops coming down and moisture coming off the grape leaves," says Al Wiederkehr, owner of Wiederkehr Wine Cellars.
A pleasant surprise of rain blankets the vineyards of Wiederkehr Village. Wiederkehr continues the tradition of his ancestors that dates back to 1880.
"Usually in a drought the quantity is less but the quality is good. That's the thing about the wine business you put some of it in the tank and in reserve," says Wiederkehr.
Even during a drought Wiederkehr sleeps well because his crop is fed by a 42 acre lake.
"We're really lucky to have all this water. 10 inch main with 3500 gallon a minute we have to idle the pump down because we don't need much for drip irrigation," says Wiederkehr.
The extreme heat still poses a problem by killing off other vegetation near the vineyards. Less vegetation causes animals like deer, possom and raccoons to rummage through the vineyards.
"We had one whole variety totally harvested by deer. The muscat we had out was absolutely all harvested by deerm," says Wiederkehr.
Wiederkehr's solution, hope for rain and new grass.
"We left grass around the outside to distract the deer from eating the plant," says Wiederkehr.
For 130 years the Swiss-German family worked the Northern Arkansas land and Wiederkehr hopes for another hundred.
Wiederkehr says another reason his business stays strong during drought is he buys about 80 percent of his grapes from other farmers from around Arkansas.