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Harvest time for Wisconsin vineyards

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Grapes at Stony Creek Vineyard in Forestville are harvested for von Stiehl Winery in Algoma, Sept. 19, 2012. (courtesy of FOX 11).
Grapes at Stony Creek Vineyard in Forestville are harvested for von Stiehl Winery in Algoma, Sept. 19, 2012. (courtesy of FOX 11).

FORESTVILLE, WI (WTAQ) - It's harvest time for vineyards across Wisconsin.

Dozens of workers, including those who enjoy being paid in wine, snip thousands of grapes in a sea of purple and green.

“This is the third day that we're harvesting in this vineyard, but it's probably the happiest day because it's the day that everything gets cleared from the vines,” Brad Schmiling of von Stiehl Winery tells FOX 11.

Owners say mild weather near Lake Michigan made the difference.

“We've been fortunate,” Schmiling said. “The lake is only a couple miles away, so in spring when everybody was so warm, we were still fairly cool and the grapes didn't bud out to a point where frost damaged them.

But in other parts of Wisconsin, the season is two to three weeks ahead. Drought conditions and an early frost kept grape yields low.

“With the decreased moisture content and increased heat, we had a quicker season, an earlier harvest, and increased quality,” Wisconsin Grape Growers Association president Ryan Prellwitz told FOX 11.

Grapes from the Stone Creek Vineyard in Forestville will produce 1,000 gallons of wine for the von Stiehl Winery in Algoma, and its sister company Captain's Walk Winery in Green Bay. One wine recently won a silver medal at an international competition in Iowa.

“That was for our Captain's Mistress port-style red that we produce with grapes we grow here out at the Stony Creek Vineyard in southern Door County,” P.J. Koehler of Captain’s Walk Winery tells FOX 11.

According to the Wisconsin Grape Growers Association, there are more than 70 wineries throughout the state and more than 300 grape growers.

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