October 20, 2017

Missouri’s 2017 Show Me Grape and Wine Conference

The Show Me State has a Show Me wine conference for the second year in a row. The University of Missouri's Grape and Wine Institute (GWI) is staging its Show Me Grape and Wine Conference and Symposium from March 8th to 10th at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Colombia.The notable absence of Vineyard & Winery Management's Midwest wine conference - an event that has taken place in various … [Read more...]

Reducing Alcohol Levels in Cold Climate Wines

When it comes to Marquette wines, two of the biggest criticisms I hear are excessive oak and alcohol. Oak aside, the high brix of varietals such as Marquette and Frontenac can lead to alcohols 14% (alcohol by volume) and greater in the finished wine. The result can be hot and unbalanced wines. The potential alcohol of cool climate and hybrid grapes can be misleading at crush and amelioration … [Read more...]

Katie Cook on Making Wine in the Midwest

Homepage photo: John Thull and Katie Cook of the University of Minnesota.  Visiting the University of Minnesota Research Center, I was surprised to see vinifera growing in the vineyard. What are all those old world vines doing in the mecca of cold climate hybrids?The vinifera is primarily for breeding, to bring vinifera traits into our hybrids. Vinifera also forms a standard. We know … [Read more...]

Interview With Nick Smith of University of Minnesota

Midwest Wine Press spoke recently with Nick Smith at the University of Minnesota (U of M.) Nick is well-known in the region because, over the course of a year, he probably makes more different kinds of wine than anyone in the Midwest.How did you get into winemaking? I have a long and convoluted academic path that started out in finance.  I re-entered the undergrad program at University of … [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...]

Drought Produces “Good Wine” in the Midwest

An Associated Press report by Jim Suhr about the grape harvest in the Midwest takes the angle that the severe drought could see, "standout wine from a region better known for corn and soybeans."  Also in the article, an interesting observation from the California wine establishment: Diego Meraviglia, vice president of the North American Sommelier Association, says the drought has cost some grape … [Read more...]

Drastically Lower Grape Yields Predicted for Some Midwest States

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has released its first estimate of the United States grape harvest yield in its August Crop Production report.  Despite this year's frosts that struck many states and the ongoing drought the overall US grape production estimate is only 1% less than last year's at 7.30 million tons. However, 90% of this harvest forecast figure is for California … [Read more...]

Cannon River Shoots for the Stars in Minnesota

Walking into Vincent Negret's back office at Cannon River Winery in Minnesota is like entering the laboratory of a mad scientist.  Sticky notes and articles cover the walls - "I'm visual," he says - and the black countertop, reminiscent of a high-school science class, is covered with test tubes and pipettes full of chemicals. The wine glasses containing samples for analysis can appear … [Read more...]

Drought Tipping Point: Vines Risk Long Term Damage

As the drought continues to worsen and temperatures across the Midwest exceed 100 degrees, viticulture experts warn that grape growers could face long-term vine damage. If there is no significant rain in the coming days, viticulturalists say crop load, or the number of grape clusters on the vine, should be reduced to ensure plants can survive winter and grow next season.“The stress has reached … [Read more...]

Frontenac Gris Grape Moves Beyond Minnesota

During 1992,  a new grape variety was discovered by Peter Hemstad in the vineyard at the University of Minnesota’s Horticulture Research Center. According to Katie Cook,  enology project leader at the University of Minnesota, the new grape, called Frontenac Gris, was a single bud mutation of  Frontenac berries growing on a vine that normally bears black fruit. “We see a lot of Frontenac … [Read more...]