Elmer Swenson Preservation Project 2.0
The Elmer Swenson Preservation Project set out to protect and establish Elmer’s most promising and little known selections for future testing and evaluation. The pioneers of the original project did an amazing job collecting and establishing a vast amount of Elmer’s work, creating an extensive network of growers with Swenson material for future grape growers and breeders to call upon.
Thanks to the valiant efforts of the original project leaders, there are over 50 named and numbered Elmer Swenson grapevine selections being stored and protected in the collection of the National Plant Germplasm Repository in Geneva, NY. This is an incredible resource for generations of adventurous grape growers and breeders, allowing access to a wide swath of his life’s work and enabling future breeders to carry on his work in northern viticulture.
With the spirit of Elmer’s sharing and collaborative nature, his work has been spread far and wide to growers and breeders around the world. Unfortunately for many of his lesser known selections, almost nothing is recorded about their traits and quality apart from those who grow them in small corners of their vineyards or gardens. Many of these selections can be sourced from Geneva, NY, nurseries, or fellow growers, but often with little information about them.
Enter the Elmer Swenson Preservation Project 2.0, using the power of technology, collaboration, and word of mouth to create as complete a picture as possible in regards to vine traits, fruit quality, harvest chemistry, and site suitability.
Through crowdsourcing this data, we can all benefit from the experience of others, from all growing regions, and find the right vines to grow where we live, and push the boundaries of northern viticulture. This information will be available to all who seek it, so informed planting decisions and breeding goals can be made. Any information you can provide is appreciated, fill out as much or as little information as you have. If you know others growing and using Swenson grapes, please pass the link to this survey along.
We invite anyone who has an interest in sharing their experience with any Elmer Swenson selection(s), named or numbered, for future growers and breeders. Follow this link to get started, http://tiny.cc/ESPP2Survey
There are plans in the works to create a single website to house all of the information collected with this survey in a fully searchable format, but first we need to start the collection process. Our survey is formatted to allow you to enter your observations from years past, present, and future. Each selection, in each year, will be given its own survey. For those of you who already completed the initial survey released in 2011, we can transfer your data automatically, unless you have more to add, now with a couple of extra years experience, please complete the new survey as well.
Thank you in advance for your efforts and collaboration on this project.
-The Elmer Swenson Preservation Project Team
This article first appeared in “Notes From The North” and was reprinted with permission of The Minnesota Grape Growers Association.