The pandemic certainly had an impact on local businesses. Now, some are facing another battle: the drought.

“We’re kind of ‘field to store’ here. That’s different too for us. We take these grapes, we pick them, we process them, we bottle them, we package them and we sell them right here. That’s a little bit different than your average farmer,” said Jeff Peterson, owner of Pointe of View Winery.

Jeff and Diana Peterson opened Pointe of View Winery in Burlington in 2002.

Last year, the pandemic had multiple effects on their business.

From getting produce…

“We didn’t even take any apples last year. We usually do take them and I wasn’t even contacted by any of them which was very unusual,” Jeff said.

…to getting supplies for bottling.

“Getting like the bottles was tough because we lost our supplier in Minneapolis because of the pandemic and then, of course, that changed where we could get the bottles across the nation,” Jeff said.

With opening day just a few days away, the couple is hoping business isn’t as slow as last year.

But the Petersons, like many other North Dakota farmers and growers, are hoping for more rain.

“The vines could die. It could be like what happened after the flood. There was too much salt in the ground and we lost probably 5-10 plants through the middle of each row. The same thing could happen if you don’t get enough rain–they just won’t survive so then we’d just have to start over,” Diana said.

It takes around eight years for a vine to be considered mature. The 400 vines that are mature, can produce between 2,000 and 6,000 pounds.

The yield depends on many factors including weather.

“If this drought continues, I don’t know how that’s going to impact this year because I haven’t really seen that kind of situation in many years. I’m hoping that they’ll do OK. I’ll just have to gauge the crop and see how it goes if the rain doesn’t come this year. But, we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope it does,” Jeff said.

The Petersons are hoping nearly two decades of work won’t die on the vine.

Jeff also does his own grape breeding in a research vineyard on the property.

Pointe of View Winery opens up for the season this Saturday.