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Friday, August 16, 2013 - 9:00am

Georgia Wineries Want Dry Weather

Georgia wine growers say this year might not be their best vintage.

The heavy rain Georgia has seen this summer isn't ruining this year's harvest.

But it will delay grape processing and possibly dilute sugars and flavors that make the best wines.

Eric Seifarth of the Georgia Wine Growers Association says a lot will depend on what happens with the weather over the next few weeks.

"If we could get a good stretch of nice, dry sunny weather through the rest of August, I think the impact will be very manageable," Seifarth says.

Seifarth makes wines at Crane Creek Vineyards in the Georgia mountains near Young Harris.

He says molds and mildews on the vines have been more of a problem this year because of the rains.

He's also welcoming a proposal by the Postmaster General that would allow delivery of wine, beer and spirits.

He says right now FedEx is the only company that can deliver his wines.

If the Postal Service delivered wine he says he might be able to use competition to make a wine by mail club more profitable.

"I would certainly welcome some competitive bids on how much that's going to cost me," Seifarth says. "And it could be multiplied by all the wineries in the United States. That's a significant amount."

Postmaster General Patrick Donohoe says delivering alcohol could raise $50 million a year for the financially-struggling agency.

But it would require a change in federal law.

Georgia is booming with wine, distilled spirits and beer makers.

Many say the biggest obstacle to business is states' restrictive distribution laws.