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Richland Vineyards fights rain and personal loss

12:25 AM, Jul 22, 2013   |    comments
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  • Connie Perrin will have to wait to reopen the winery portion of Richland Vineyards until her late husband's estate is settled.
  • According to Connie Perrin, as much as 80% of certain varieties at Richland Vineyards are affected by black rot this year.
    

(WBIR-Blaine) Growing grapes can be a real challenge, especially with the amount of rain East Tennessee has received.

But there is an added setback hurting Richland Vineyards Farm Winery in Blaine.

Connie Perrin lost her husband, Troy, to leukemia in May. Both the farm and winery are solely in Troy's name.

Since his death, the winery has been temporarily closed and the licenses are now invalid.

Perrin said she will have to wait to reopen the winery until her late husband's estate is settled.

"I'm just carrying it on mainly for my husband and I enjoy working in the grapes. I like working outside. But it's more or less in memory of him," Perrin said.

The couple opened the winery at the farm in December.

"It was his dream to grow these grapes and we just kept planting until we ran out of room," she recalled.

Perrin is also dealing with keeping grapes alive before harvest. This year, an excess of rain made it hard to fight black rot, a fungal disease that can kill the grapes.

"It's very difficult to fight because when you spray, if it's raining, the rain washes the spray off and you have to wait for it to dry," Perrin said.

According to Perrin, as much as 80% of certain varieties are affected by black rot this year.

However, she still expects Richland Vineyards to have a fair harvest.

Perrin hopes to have the winery reopen within the next few months.

Even though the winery is temporary closed, grapes are still available for picking.

Grapes should be ready for picking in three weeks to a month.

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