Buds Swelling in Southern Illinois But Not Broken
Reports from Midwest vineyards on Wednesday and Thursday confirm that grape buds are swelling in Southern Illinois and throughout the region, but there are no confirmations of budbreak. (However peach tress are blossoming in far Southern Illinois and there is one unconfirmed report of Niagara bud break.)
According to Marvin Gielow at Cedar Hill Vineyards in Carrellton, Illinois, near St. Louis, the buds on his Niagara, La Crosse and Cab Franc vines are about a week from bud break if current weather forecasts hold. It was 86 degrees in Carrellton on March 14th, Gielow said. Forecasts for Southern Illinois predict highs at or above 70 degrees for the next six days. “I’m concerned,” Gielow said, “we’re still bound to get some cold weather this Spring.”
At Starview Vineyards in Cobden, Illinois, which is 100 miles south of Cedar Hill, Trent Wright, who has been pruning this week, said that the Norton started bleeding on Monday, but, again, no bud break. “The willow trees are leafing out, but the vines are just starting to break dormancy,” he said.
In Southern Indiana, Andy Butler of Butler Winery in Bloomington, Indiana said his Vignoles vines started weeping this week. However, Butler said that sap was not rising in his Chambourcin yet. Butler says he normally does two rounds of pruning; one now and a second fine pruning in April. He’s leaving extra length on his canes this year, in case freezing temperatures return.
Farther north in Central Illinois, Paul Hahn of Mackinaw Valley Vineyard says his Baco Noir vines are dripping but there is no bud break. Hahn said he is in the middle of pruning. “I’m leaving a little extra during pruning,” he said, “instead of leaving two buds, I’m leaving three buds to be safe.”
There are also concerns with premature maturation in northern grape growing areas. Mark Wenzel of August Hill Winery in the Northern Illinois town of Peru, is concerned about the duration of the unseasonable weather. Wenzel pruned back to five buds in January. “Knowing what I know now, I would have kept all the buds,” he said.
Recent chat room comments from grape growers in Minnesota indicate that vines there are dormant, although a central Iowa grower commented that his Frontenac is weeping.