NewsCitrus, Hernando County


Hernando grape, olive growers welcome cooler weather

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 18:29:18-05

Terry McKnight moved to Florida from Illinois but the cooler temps still make him happy.

"It certainly makes me smile. I mean, the cold is just good for us," said McKnight, of Strong Tower Vineyard.

It's not so good for strawberries but great for Florida grapes. 

"I tell my wife everyday that I am Spartacus because I'm the only guy out here pulling for cold. The neighbors are going 'why are you going that' and I said, because we need the cold. We need these chill hours," said McKnight. 

Chill hours don't mean sipping a glass of wine. They mean chilly temperatures that yield a bigger crop.

"Chilling hours are 45 degrees or less and we need a certain amount of hours so that plant's chemistry can recalibrate," he explained. 

20 minutes north in Brooksville, another couple is welcoming the cold snap too. 

"Yes! We jump up and down because we've been looking forward to this cold weather. We didn't get a lot last year," said Deirdre Davis, of The Olive Grove. 

Her and her husband's olive trees at 'The Olive Grove' relish a little cold air too. 

This year, they're hoping for enough to put in their press. 

"We're just happy they're getting what they need," said Davis. 

Not everyone loves this weather which is why McKnight says it's a great time to stop by and visit. 

"I say grab a glass of wine and don't worry about it," said McKnight.