December 17, 2014

Midwest Vineyards Surprised by Historic Snow and Cold

Unusual wintry conditions, including the first May snowfalls in more than a century, have surprised many Midwest vineyards. To find out how these unusual conditions are impacting on vines, Midwest Wine Press consulted with wineries across the central Midwest.IowaMWP suggested to Bob Wersen, owner of Tassel Ridge Winery in Leighton, southern Iowa, that the current weather is pretty … [Read more...]

Missouri Experimental Cultivar Tasting

Stephen Littlefield of Edg-Clif Farms and Vineyard smells wine in the sixth flight of the Experimental Cultivar Wine Tasting on Tuesday, March 26.

Missouri weather always seems to impede on its state’s wineries. From harsh, cold winters to potentially drought-filled summers, the weather is tough on grapes.“There are wines from four or five grape varieties that you will find as you visit any of Missouri’s 110 wineries,” said Michael Leonardelli, an extension associate enologist at the University of Missouri (MU). “There’s a limited number … [Read more...]

Ozonated Water: Vineyard Pest Control Without Chemicals


Until recently, the prospect of a grape growing industry in the Midwest without the use of chemicals may have seemed impossible. Throughout our region, insects, plant diseases and weeds thrive in the summer heat and humidity. Many grape growers say that without agricultural chemicals, they could not produce a consistent crop.But some winemakers say the widespread reliance on chemicals has … [Read more...]

Northern Hybrids- A New Class of Grapes


There is no shortage of hybrid grapes or classes of hybrid grapes these days.  French hybrids, German hybrids,  California hybrids, Cornell hybrids, Labrusca hybrids, Riparia hybrids;  the list goes on and on.  However, a new class of hybrids has emerged in the last twenty years or so, grapes we have come to call Northern hybrids.  These grapes are making wine grape growing practical in cold … [Read more...]

Nipping Jack Frost First This Spring

John Burns Murli n5

Last year at this time the upper Midwest was riding a wave of warmth. It would last several weeks, break thousands of temperature records, and spur grape vines to bud break that turned to heart break in April. This year February at least was closer to normal, but nerves may get edgy if those March temperatures start to climb and it looks like Jack Frost will surely be back this April or early … [Read more...]

New Ohio State Research On Abscisic Acid and Freeze Tolerance

Yi Zhang and Imed Dami from Ohio State University recently published a study that found foliar application of abscisic acid increased the freeze tolerance of grape vines in Ohio. During January,  Bibiana Guerra wrote the following summary of the Ohio State study which was published in the American Journal of Viticulture and Enology:• Abscisic acid (ABA), sometimes called the “senescence … [Read more...]

Great Lakes Gewurztraminer: Easier to Drink Than Say


The temptation to skip over Gewurztraminer due to its difficult pronunciation may be great for many wine drinkers. Some people within the industry even speculate that the name might be a little intimidating for people to pronounce, perhaps preventing them from even trying the wine. However, customers might want to put aside their embarrassment and give it their best shot. The reward is definitely … [Read more...]

Promising Wine Grape Varieties for the Midwest

Photo: University of Minnesota

How can we expand promising wine grape varieties across the Midwest?Dr. Paolo Sabbatini of Michigan State University and Dr. Bruce Bordelon of Purdue University, recently discussed the potential for specific cultivars in the Midwest during the 2013 Michigan Grape and Wine Conference in East Lansing. Both Sabattini and Bordelon commented on the how young their state's respective wine industries … [Read more...]

Dr. Norton Had a Baby and Named It Crimson Cabernet

Lucian Dressel (right) and his son Joseph with Crimson Cabernet vines in July, 2011. (photo courtesy Lucian Dressel)

Who says that French royalty cannot breed with ordinary native Americans? Crimson Cabernet’s parentage combines the Bordeaux King of Grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the State Grape of Missouri, Norton. The result is a disease resistant, cold hardy hybrid grape with genes that trace back to 18th century Chateau Mouton.At the Kansas wine conference in Topeka in January, Midwestern winemaker … [Read more...]

The Drought and Midwest Soil Conditions


Grape growers across the Midwest are preparing for another growing season. After several years of drought and the driest conditions in living memory last year, soil conditions are a concern for many growers. Despite some recent precipitation, US Drought Monitor says about 50% of the region is still in drought. Even if precipitation falls at average levels this year, some experts say it could take … [Read more...]