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Local winery has one of it's best harvest to date because of summer drought

Drought throughout the region is a concern for farmers as we enter fall harvest season, but Massbach Ridge Winery in Elizabeth, Illinois, is benefiting from it.

ELIZABETH, Ill. — Drought throughout the region this summer has been a concern for farmers as we enter fall harvest season, but a local winery is experiencing one of their best years to date because of the lack of rain.

Massbach Ridge Winery in Elizabeth, Illinois has 15 acres of vines. Owner Peggy Harmston is in her second to last week of harvest and will soon be rewarded for the fruits of her labor. 

"We grow hybrids (grapes) here at Massbach Ridge Winery, hybrids that can take our cold weathers in Northwest Illinois," said Harmston. "The grapes love dry weather...these grapes are just beautiful. They are free of disease and rot this year," she added.

Grapes are subject to lots of mildew when it's humid. Since it's been dry and hot, Harmston says the mildew has been almost non-existent.

"The grapes are hanging wonderfully," Harmston said. "We don't have to be in a hurry to pick them because it's nice and dry, and we can wait for the optimum maturity level."

From being picked to bottled into wine takes a minimum of three months. On September 30th, the winery will host it's annual Massbach stomp to celebrate finishing harvest. All are welcome to attend to stomp the grapes.

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