MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's wineries are hopeful that this year's warm, dry summer creates a big harvest for grapes.
Botham Vineyards' president Peter Botham told the Wisconsin State Journal that this year's yield is a "once-in-a lifetime harvest" after a late May freeze cost many a portion of their crops.
"The crop volume changes dramatically from year to year here in Wisconsin," Botham said. "This year, we have good crop volume, but we also have extraordinarily ripe fruit."
Botham's winery expects to average three to four tons of grapes for each of its 10 acres, much higher than normal.
That also will lead to more seasonal employees. The winery hires as many as 40 workers to help harvest its grapes every September.
Todd Bowens, of Dodgeville, works odd jobs but said nothing compares to the pleasure of harvesting grapes.
"You can learn the roots of how the grapes were made, things that other people don't look at," Bowens said. "It's the educational part of it and the relaxation of being here that keeps me coming back."