April 23, 2014

Overuse of Multiple Trunks


When I began growing grapes in the 1970s at an experimental vineyard near my father’s orchard, it was routine to train vines to more than one trunk, a practice known today as “multiple trunks.” All the early growers used it and eastern academia generally embraced this technique as an integral element in cold climate grape culture. In truth, it was a pain to employ, as training two trunks from … [Read more...]

Lightening Damage to Grape Plants

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This article is by Dr. Dean Volenberg of the University of Wisconsin’s Door County Extension. It was first published in the Wisconsin Grape Growers Association's (WGGA) 30th July 2012 Vineyard IPM Scouting Report.  During July,  I had the opportunity to examine a lightning strike injury to grape plants. The majority of vine damage was to shoots that were touching training wires in the VSP … [Read more...]

Ozone Damage to Grape Leaves

Ozone damage on a grape leaf. Photo courtesy WGGA

This article is by Dr. Dean Volenberg of the University of Wisconsin’s Door County Extension. It was first published in the Wisconsin Grape Growers Association's (WGGA) 30th July 2012 Vineyard IPM Scouting Report.  Ozone contains three oxygen atoms and this makes the compound very reactive to materials that it contacts. In plants, ozone enters through the stomates during gas exchange and then … [Read more...]

Fungicide-Resistant Downy Mildew Detected in Kentucky Vineyard


This summer, a grape grower in central Kentucky reported persistent downy mildew in his vineyard. He noted that regular applications of Abound and Pristine fungicides failed to manage the disease. After laboratory analysis, the pathogen was deemed completely resistant to the two fungicides at the lowest recommended rates and 85% resistant at the highest recommended rates. What is fungicide … [Read more...]

Norton: The Dark Knight Part II


This is the second article of a two-part profile on the Norton grape. This article discusses Norton winemaking techniques, research into its genetic origins and the history of the variety. The first Norton article in Midwest Wine Press focused on characteristics of today's Norton and included a report on the 2012 harvest. “…this dark orphan created a stir wherever it took root." Paul Roberts, … [Read more...]

Wisconsin Expert Addresses State of the Grapes

Dr. Dean Volenberg and George Scovronski of the Wisconsin Vintners Association

As a result of the number of wineries in Wisconsin almost doubling in just the past several years, there has been an increased demand for wine grapes.  Currently, all of the approximately 1,000 acres of cold hardy grapes being grown in Wisconsin are sold to winemakers. At a recent meeting of the Wisconsin Vintner's Association in Milwaukee, Dr. Dean Volenberg of the University of … [Read more...]

Offbeat European Grapes Growing Across the Midwest


Increasingly, Midwestern winemakers are defying convention by growing popular vinifera grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. But in recent years, a number of vineyards have planted lesser known European grapes considered offbeat for the Midwest, like Gruner Veltliner and Teroldego. An example of an adventurous viticulturalist is Nick Ferrante, owner of Ferrante Winery in … [Read more...]

The True Value of Cold Hardy Hybrids


When the early members of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association (MGGA) first experimented with wine grapes in the early 1970’s, all the vines were cold tender or marginal at best.  Foch stood out as the hardiest of the French Hybrids, but we soon learned that it was devastated at –25 F.  The other available hybrids were also clearly cold tender and burying vines in winter was virtually universal … [Read more...]

Netherlands Expanding Cold Climate Grapes

Midwest Wine Press has reported about the impact of the craft beer craze on local cider and wine production so it's interesting to read a wine story from another beer and 'vine' industry scenario. The Netherlands is a beer mecca with no real winemaking tradition but AFP reports that the wine industry there is booming thanks to cold climate grapes. The amount of land under vines in the Netherlands … [Read more...]

Grape Breeder’s Hypothesis Could Reveal Norton Grape Origins

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A Virginia grape breeder has conducted experiments and historical research that could lead to the unveiling of the genetic origin of one of America’s most renowned and mysterious native grapes: Norton. The UK-based Journal of Wine Research is publishing a paper by Dr. Cliff Ambers, owner of Chateau Z Vineyard in Amherst County, that will reveal the full details of his six year investigation: A … [Read more...]