(gentle music) Prairie Yard Garden is a production of the University of Minnesota Morris in cooperation with Pioneer Public Television. Closed captioning is provided by Mark and Margaret YackelJuleen in honor of Shalom Hill Farm, a nonprofit rural education retreat center in a beautiful
prairie setting near Windom in southwestern Minnesota. Shalom Hill Farm, shalomhill Did you hear that a new crop is appearing on the prairie? Growing grapes has created an interest among a few individuals who like the challenge of adapting it to our region. Join me on Prairie Yard Garden as we visit a vineyard to learn about the process and challenges
of growing grapes on the prairie. (soft lighthearted music) A new crop has appeared on the prairie: growing grapes And today I have Florian Ledermann with me who’s been involved with the process for the last four to five years. Florian welcome to the show and tell me, how did you get interested in growing grapes? ^We got interested actually at the
University of Morris’s Horticultural Night. We sat down in a tent and learned that the university just released four new varieties of grapes that are actually coldhardy. And before that, I always kind of figured grapes were the crop that just kind of came up and never really bore and died every winter and died back. So that’s what spiked our interest.
And so that very nextspring, we bought five. And they survived and I did a little more research and decided to go with an acre. And a year later, another acre so we ended up with 1,350 vines as a result of that little adventure in Morris. Larry That’s interesting. 1,300 vines, how long does it take you
to put all those in the ground? Florian We used family labor. (Florian laughs) So we had, it took us, I think probably when we were planting, it took us about threedays to put one acre in. That would be for the planting. The posts and the trellis system and everything
The unique climate of the Rheingau for growing wine grapes
It means that we have never very cold wineters. By far not as cold as Chicago or New York We are crying it is cold if it is 10 degrees. But that’s not really cold. We are never too hot in summer. Your summer (in Chicago) is much more hot than our summer. We have very long vegetation period We have leaves on the trees until theend of October beginning of November The leaves on the vines.
Grape picking happens here the in the middle of October until the endof October sometimes even November. California they start grape picking in August andrun through September. In California when they pick grapes its during the day pretty hotinto a white warming up of the grape must and the berries at harvest
they a pick the grapes during the night, the cool of the night. We do not need that. When we pick our grapes, sometimes we need a warm sweater And now it comes to the microbiological biology. The biological conditions are very different whether you have a fruit what’s this, the squeezed fruit? (must)
fruit. If you have fruits harvested at 30 degrees celsius, 35 degrees, then there from the very beginning ofpicking the yeast and all the microbiological are very active. If it is cold from the very beginning when you pickthe grapes and it goes cold into the into the press and the fresh juices
pretty cool, then the process isvery slow and that keeps aroma that keeps afreshness that keeps the acidity, so because of climate the production and fermentation of grapes and conversion into wine is in a different scale. We do not need cooling facilities no, nature does it.