WINDSOR, ONT. -- Vineyard grapes thrive under warm and humid conditions – and since April, growth has excelled – far exceeding norms.

The long-range weather forecast for the region suggests that summer will continue the above-seasonal warmth and humidity.

This too, will help potentially fortify a productive year for the industry.

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wineries could not offer their full suite of products and services due to restrictions. Now, many locations are gearing up to welcome back clientele to on-site wine tasting, dining, and special events such as weddings.

Founder, president and co-owner of award-winning Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard and the Vines Restaurant in Harrow, Tom O’Brien, is encouraged about the industry preparing for a great ‘comeback’ year.

“A lot of people are vaccinated now, some are double vaccinated and they need to get out and see some people and enjoy the outdoors - and enjoy,” said O’Brien. “We're social beings — we need to be around people."

Across the board, the industry is expecting patrons to turn out in large numbers this summer to take advantage of the warm weather and relaxed pandemic restrictions.

O’Brien maintains that the timing is just right for the public to become re-acquainted with the local winery community.

"Last year the patio saved us — there was a lot of people because they feel safe. We spaced the tables fifteen to twenty feet apart, and we're just sensing there's a huge pent up demand for people - I want to get out. I need to get out.”

A bonus for lovers of red wines such as a Merlot of Cabernet Franc — the warm and humid weather will likely help produce high quality vintages.