Monday, July 09, 2018

Another year at Sampson Valley Vineyard

Sampson Valley Vineyard on July 8, 2018
It has been a while since the blog has been updated, but things are going very well at Sampson Valley Vineyard.

We are currently at 3 acres of vines.   Our newest vines are Petite Pearl and Frontenac Blanc.   They are already in their 5th year, and should both have a nice crop this year.
Frontenac Blanc

2 years ago we started Odilon Ford Winery.  So now all of Sampson Valley Vineyard's grapes now go to Odilon Ford Winery to make sparkling wines! (and a couple of non sparkling wines).

We have a few other updates as well. 

  • We have been moving to single high cordon for our grape vine training from Vertical Shoot Positioning (... aka VSP).  About 2/3 of the vineyard is now single high cordon.  Research shows it tends to provide larger crops, requiring less labor, with no significant quality impact compared to VSP.
  • We are no longer using any glyphosate (RoundUp) under the vines (or anywhere in the vineyard.)   It is a little more work to maintain, but eliminating, a likely, unnecessary pesticide is a good thing.
  • We are removing Rose Chafers by hand!   My nieces removed 10s of thousands of Rose Chafers by hand this year.   They shook them off onto tarps, used hand held vacuums, and squashed them individually.   Last year these critters (along with grape flea beetles) wiped out almost my entire crop.   This year with a lot of work, the grapes were mostly spared.
After a crazy spring, (30+inches of snow in April), we have had excellent weather in the vineyard.   Disease pressure is the lowest I have seen in several years.  Grapes are a little behind this year,  I expect harvest to be in late September, or early October.

If you are interested in trying out our sparkling wines, they are available online!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

One of the reasons Harvest is later than usual this year

This picture kind of says it all.   For the first 8 months of 2014 the coldest anomaly on the planet is over Wisconsin.

At the same time, it is a bit scarey how much red and pink there is, and how little blue is on that image.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

That doesn't look good....

A lot of rain is predicted over the next 5-7 days.

updated (precip from Aug 23- Sept 22 2014)

That is not something you want to see at this time of the year.   This may cause berry splitting, and other damage.   

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Congratulations to Leigh's Garden Winery!

Leigh's Garden Winery Logo

Leigh's Garden Winery went 5 for 5 at the 6th International Cold Climate Wine Competition.   A very prestigious honor!

Sampson Valley Vineyard is proud to say it provided Leigh with many of the grapes in his wines.


Veraison almost complete, first somerset seedless grapes

Somerset Seedless
Veraison started about when predicted, and is nearly complete.   Marquette began veraison on Monday, August 11, and was 95% complete by August 16.   Frontenac was 50% done by August 16.

Harvest is now anticipated to begin the first weekend of October.

A random cluster was left behind on the two year old somerset seedless.    Beautiful looking grape!   After tasting a few berries, it is probably only a week or so from being able to be harvested.   Good to know for future years!   I did notice a slight residual seed, but not too much.   It already has a nice taste.   I heard rumors that it makes a decent wine ....... hmmmm?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

2014 Bloom has begun

Frontenac and Prairie Star have begun to bloom. ( Unfortunately Rose chafers have emerged too.) This puts us about 2 or 3 days ahead of last year.   Bloom has been one of the best early indicators for predicting harvest date.   Based on bloom, I think harvest will occur no earlier than the last weekend in September for LaCrescent, and Prairie Star.    The next two weeks I would likely plan on picking Marquette and Frontenac.  Weather during the season can still shift those dates later, but earlier dates are unlikely.  Crop loads look high right now, so I may need to do some crop thinning.    We are seeing almost zero bud loss on LaCrescent, Marquette, Prairie Star and Frontenac.    Foch is the only cultivar that had significant damage, It looks like 50-80% primary bud loss.    

Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 Bud break

As expected bud break is later than average this year.   Somewhat surprisingly, this date is not that unusual.  Below is a table of bud break dates at Sampson Valley Vineyard over the last 9 years.

Growing Year
Date of bud break
GDD at Bud break *
2014 5/21/2014
2013 5/17/2013
2012 5/6/2012
2011 5/21/2011
2010 5/3/2010
2009 5/22/2009
2008 5/22/2008
2007 5/4/2007
2006 5/4/2006
* base 50, GDD since April 1.

Note that the bud break average date is May 13.   Average GDD at bud break is 134.   So bud break this year is only about a week behind the 9 year average.

Based on forecasted temperatures and average temperatures after the extended forecast period, bloom is estimated to begin on June 18.

So far most vines look like they survived the severe winter quite well.   The one notable exception so far is foch.    Looking at the foch buds during pruning, we were seeing significant bud damage.   We are seeing good bud growth now, so hopefully there was no major trunk or vine vascular damage.