August 18, 2017

Michigan Winter Damage Report ’16

Growing Produce went to the recent Great Lakes Expo in Grand Rapids.  According to the Growing Produce report, the recent harsh winters hurt even some of the hybrid wine grapes. However, for the Great Lakes to freeze over this winter would require an abrupt shift in the weather, even by Midwestern standards.See: Great Lakes Expo Focus on Past Two Brutal Winters  … [Read more...]

Ohio Harvest Report

The News-Herald of Lake County Ohio reports that damage from last winter has resulted in a very small harvest. Despite the last two winters, which were cold enough to turn Lake Erie to a block of ice, the mood in Northeastern Lake Erie vineyards is optimistic.See: Wine Grape Growers Report Varying Yields After February Freeze  … [Read more...]

US Versus Europe Taste Off at VitiNord ’15

The 2015 VitiNord International Viticulture & Enology Conference is taking place from 11-14 November in Nebraska City. This year, the leading event focusing on the latest advances in cold hardy grape growing and winemaking around the world, will include a unique ‘taste off’ between cold hardy hybrids and European hybrids.Organizer and grape breeder, Tom Plocher, says attendees will be able … [Read more...]

Virginia Shows the Potential of Midwest Wine

Recently, I returned from a trip to the Central Virginia wine producing region around Charlottesville.  There are many similarities between Virginia and the Midwest that demonstrate the promise of our Midwestern wine industry. Hybrid wines are not only being grown successfully in Virginia, but consumers are buying them.If you haven't heard, Virginia wine is hot. There are now over 200 … [Read more...]

Growing Vignoles on a Commercial Scale

This is the first of two part series about Vignoles from Andrew Meggitt, executive winemaker at St. James Winery in St. James, MO.  Next month, look for the second story titled, "How the Wine Industry Can Bring the Vignoles Grape Out of the Shadows." The Vignoles grape is an up-and-coming favorite among wine enthusiasts, but the prospect of growing this finicky fruit on a commercial scale can … [Read more...]

Fully Flavored, Low Alcohol Wine in the Midwest?

My sources in Australia (dad and mum!) recently sent over a news article about a low alcohol wines ‘breakthrough’ that could have implications for winemaking in the Midwest. ‘Low-Alcohol Wine On It’s Way’, by Sydney Morning Herald wine writer, Huon Hooke, describes a ‘secret’ that New Zealand winemaker and molecular biologist, John Forrest, has uncovered:“Forrest and his team of winemakers and … [Read more...]

Vineyard Establishment and Business Planning Workshops

The explosion of the Midwest grape and wine industry since the mid-90’s has not only brought a new class of grapes and wines to consumers, but has also brought significant income to rural communities via tax revenue and tourism dollars. As the industry continues its growth, it is necessary to ensure a strong foundation of locally-grown grapes to help maintain our unique identity in the … [Read more...]

Setting Up a Bigger Harvest

Nutrient management is key to improving fruit set, volume of wineUpper Midwest soils have always been perfect for bumper crops of corn and soybeans and are increasingly becoming a source of award-winning grapes for wine. Just as row-crop farmers apply manure, potash or other supplements to their soil to boost nutrient levels, vineyard owners are also looking at ways to balance their soils to … [Read more...]

Northern Grapes Project Hosts Hybrid Seminars

Make plans now to attend the Eastern Winery Exposition and the Northern Grapes Symposium from March 17th to 19th at the Oncenter in Syracuse, NY. The Eastern Winery Exposition is a wine industry trade show and conference designed for Eastern U.S. and Canadian wineries and vineyards.The Northern Grapes Symposium on March 18th will comprise of five sessions featuring results of the project. In … [Read more...]

John Marshall’s Favorite White Hybrid Grapes

I was invited to a wedding some years ago now, outside Phoenix, Arizona. Since I arrived in Arizona a day early, I was interested to see what the famous varieties of Europe might do in the high arid climes above Phoenix. The climate is so unlike California or Bordeaux I was hoping to find some surprises but was disappointed that most of the wines were imported directly from California. I found an … [Read more...]