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While it's still too early to say how the exceptionally dry winter will affect this year's harvest, Lebanese viticulturists and wine experts worry that unless there is significant rain in April and May, crops will suffer.Meager snowfall this past winter has left the soil at Lebanese vineyardsmarkedly dry. Without adequate moisture in the soil, however, the vines may fail to produce a decent number of grapes."Well call it stress hydrique [water stress] when the vines can't find water inside the soil," Carlos Khachan said. The vine will have two or three grape bunches instead of having as many as 10, he said. Taste wise, Khachan explained, irrigation tends to make the grapes swell with water and dilute the flavor of the wine.Some Lebanese wineries might be forced to irrigate their vines this year, however, to ensure an adequate harvest, Khachan said. The recent rain showers brought hope that spring rain would make up for a parched winter.
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