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Drought Could Mean Good Wine Season For Illinois

While the U.S. drought has punished corn and soybean crops, grape growers say they have a bit to cheer.

Vintners throughout the nation's midsection say their vineyards generally have proven resilient to the months of battering heat and dryness.

They say that's because the drought has left the surviving grapes with concentrated flavors and sugar, stoking the promise of standout wine.

Winery operators also say grape varieties commonly planted in the Midwest have roots that can reach dozens of feet below the surface to get at water tables. And the dryness tends to keep away pests and disease.

But there's a downside. Some vintners worry the drought could continue into coming years, overly stressing the vines and requiring installation of pricy irrigation systems.

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