Grape growers will have a new risk management tool next year to insure the vines themselves, not just the crop, against natural hazards such as wildfire or freeze damage. 

The new grapevine insurance program will be available to growers in select counties in California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Texas in 2024, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The deadline to apply for 2024 coverage is Nov. 1.

“A program like this is especially critical when you realize the loss of fruit can affect a grower for a season, but the loss of a grapevine is a much more costly situation, both in money and the time it takes to re-establish a productive vine,” Marcia Bunger, administrator for the USDA’s Risk Management Agency, said in a statement. 

The policy will only cover grafted vines and will pay losses when vines are killed or damaged — beyond the ability to recover — by freeze, fire, hail, flood or irrigation disruption driven by a natural disaster. 

The program will be similar to the apple tree program the USDA introduced in 2020. 

For more information, speak to your crop insurance agent or local Risk Management Agency office.  

by Kate Prengaman