Federal officials have declared an agriculture disaster for grape growers and wineries in the Finger Lakes and New York's other wine regions.
U.S. Senator Kirstin Gillibrand's office says the Agriculture Department issued the declaration thIs afternoon. The senator has been pushing for this so growers who find their vines damaged by the winter's severe cold can get low-interest loans and other help for their recovery.
Extended periods of single-digit and below-zero temperatures this winter are expected to cause significant losses to New York vineyards. Grapes and the wine industry put $4.8 billion a year into New York's economy.