The Complete Grape Growing System

By | October 11, 2016

Last January, January 6ththe official day of the polar vortex we experienced really damaging temperatures.Anywhere from around twenty below zero to about sixteen below zerowhere it killed the fruiting buds and it killed actual grape vines.And we’ve never experienced any damage like this before.And we’ve never we really didn’t know the extentof the damage on the vines until April May in that time frame when we didn’t see anybuds developing and even some of thetrunks cracked.

But the impact of that was dramaticwe have no crop at all in our vinifera and we grow varieties like Chardonnay, PinotNoir, Cabernet Franc, Rieslingand without any grapes, we were forced to buya lot of grapes. But it’s had a huge impactas far as the grape production not to mention the actual wine losswhich is two or three years spanning. Because in some of the vineyardsthat will have to be replaced from the ground up

with new vines we will not get the first crop is three to four years out.So the impact is just dramatic and millions and millions of dollars.Actually in the viticulture program at Ohio Stateone of our focus of the research is cold hardiness of grapes.So really that’s one of my expertise in this fieldof learning more about how grapes cope with freezing with cold in general.After this cold event our growers really needed a lot of help in terms of how to not onlyassess

the damage but also how to deal with the vinesthat are damaged. And we conducted a lot of workshops just toshow them how to prune the vines. Our relationship with Ohio State goes wayback in the 1980’sWe’ve had a long standing relationship with ongoing research in the wineryand in the vineyards. Currently with Imed Damiour research stems lately from the cold winter vortexwhere we’ve had a lot of the vines killed and damagedfrom the minus twenty degree temperatures.

Current research is kind of involved tothe extent of the damage to determine the actual damage andto have pruning studies done to see what was the best way to prunethese injured vines. We have not had temperatures that coldsince 1994 here and myself and a lot of the grape growershave not experienced this cold damage. So we need research to help uskind of figure out what’s the next step and see what our future is in these vineyards.

Grape Arbor Trellis Update Spring 2016

This is what the grape arbor looks like inearly spring before it’s ever had any trimming done. This is what it looks like about halfwaythrough the pruning process, getting it ready for spring, and here we are with it fullypruned and ready for spring to fully set in and the leaves to start to come out. So how have things really been going withour grape trellis? Well, you can see it here behind me. It hasn’t really been a very bigproducer. That said, I haven’t really put much effort into it. I haven’t tried to fertilizethe plants in any way. I haven’t put compost or manures or even any kind of blood mealor anything like that on them. I’ve just let

them be, so I don’t know if this is the yearthat they really blossom out and we really get a lot of grapes or if it’s just not thebest setup. One thing I will say is that throughout the course of the year, you do have to goup there, maybe every two to three weeks, and make sure that the vines aren’t growingonto the house. We only do the major pruning back to this once a year, but throughout theyear, every couple weeks, you’ve got to go up there and make sure they don’t grow intothe house. So, if that’s not something that you’re willing to do or you don’t have thecapability of doing it, then maybe this isn’t the best setup for you to try. I think thisis probably limited to somebody who really

needs the shade. In our instance, you cansee that the land slopes away from our house very quickly. If we were to try to put somekind of a tree over here, first off it is also going to not just block the light, butalso be a storm hazard for our home, to have a tree so close to this side of the house.The storms would be coming from off camera this direction and would blow trees directlyonto the house, so trees aren’t a good option for us. Having the trellis right up againstthe house still gets us the shade we need on this western front and not have our bedroomheat up. I think that’s the other thing to consider. What part of your home are you tryingto shade. If this is a room that you’re not

going to go into in the afternoon, then maybeit’s not worth trying to provide the shade and the extra work involved with keeping thevines trimmed back throughout the year, so take those kinds of things into account tosee if this is an application that’s really suited for you. Otherwise, the structure itselfis holding up really, really well. I was up there trimming back these vines and shakingit around and using it for support and it is flexible, because that’s the way it’s designedto be but I don’t see any problems with it. I think if this thing were even in full fruitthat it wouldn’t go anywhere, so I’m very happy with the stability of the structureof this kind of trellis.

Lastly, we are growing both table grapes andmuscadines on this trellis and one thing I’ll note is that even though we’re here in theSouthern United States and muscadines are our native grape, the muscadine vines aremuch more fragile. They’re much more likely to break. They’re more brittle. The tablegrapes are very flexible and so what I’m trying to say is if I have a vine that starts growingat a diagonal that I wanted to grow at a horizontal, I can come back in the off season and cutthe tendrils off and move that vine down and put it where I want it whereas with the muscadinesI’m finding that as soon as I try to move them I’m more likely to snap them. They justget brittle and go way to dormant to try to

mess with them. I have to train them duringthe year while they’re growing, whereas with the table grapes, I can train them right nowand don’t have a problem with it at all. So, that’s another thing that you could take underconsideration. So, we’ll show you this again later as theyear goes on, but wanted you to get an update on the grape trellis. As far as the groundaround the grape trellis, we’ve got some plans for that too. Come back and see us again andwe’ll let you know what’s going on with that. Thank you all so much for watching. We’llsee you next time.

Leave a Reply