Friday, May 16, 2008

Quick hits: Wine and boat recovery efforts

Northwest N.C. grape growers hope this season will make up for last
"North Carolina's vineyards, many of them in the Yadkin Valley, expect a full growing season a year after the Easter freeze of 2007 destroyed 50 percent of the crop," writes the Winston-Salem Journal.

"But the effects of the freeze on the vines could be lasting, agriculture officials say.

" 'We will see recovery. It's just, if you look carefully at vines, in places there will be some that aren't growing quite as strongly as others,' said Sara Spayd, a grape specialist at N.C. State University.

"The freeze hit in April 2007, just as many vines in the region broke their first bud. Grape growers had hoped that many of their vines would bud a second and third time to bear fruit. For chardonnay, the loss was 80 percent to 90 percent. The white grapes were more affected than the reds because some white grape vines had already broken bud when the freeze hit and were most vulnerable, Spayd said. ..."

Monitor in good shape, but threatened
"The wreck of the famed Civil War ironclad USS Monitor off the North Carolina coast is in good condition, but still faces threats, according to a report released Wednesday," writes the Associated Press.

"The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, which surrounds the shipwreck 16 miles off Cape Hatteras, is threatened by corrosion, strong currents, hurricanes, high water temperatures and highly salty water, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

" 'For a shipwreck that is more than 140 years old, the wreck is in pretty good shape,' said David Alberg, superintendent of the sanctuary.

"The report found that the sanctuary has also become a productive artificial reef. Black sea bass, oyster toadfish and great barracuda live nearby, and coral and sponges are abundant on the ship's iron surfaces. Alberg said the sponges and coral help protect the ship from corrosion. ..."

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