Wednesday, November 09, 2011

3 month time lapse of the vineyard

We got out first major snow of the season at the vineyard today.   I thought this would be a great opportunity to put up a time lapse from the last 3 months of vineyard block two.   The animation starts around August 15, and ends today.   I put in several frames from today to get the full impact of the snow.

It's a little hard to tell from the animation, but the first hard frost occurs around Oct 27.

In a few weeks I will post a season summary for Sampson Valley Vineyard.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Grape Picking Today!

We are picking grapes today.

We survived a 3 week late bud break, a late frost, a very rainy June, record heat, black rot, and an early frost.

If good wine needs the grapes to suffer, this should be a good year.

On to the picking!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Some progress on ripening

Lacrescent and Frontenac sees big increase in the last week. Others have more modest increases. We will be picking all varieties on Sept 24.
Foch:  18.8
St. Pepin:  14.3
Lacrosse:  13.2
LaCrescent vb1:  19.5
Frontenac:  23.2
LaCrescent vb3:  22.4
Prairie Star:  19.3

Monday, September 05, 2011

Latest Brix readings

Readings for grapes sampled at 7:00 pm on 9/5/2011

Prairie Star - 18.3
La crescent vineyard block 3   -  20.6
La Crescent vineyard block 1  -  17.6
Frontenac - 20.9
Foch - 17.8
St Pepin - 13.4
Lacrosse - 11.5

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brix onn Aug 31, 2011

First brix measurements of the year!(Aug 31, 2011)

Frontenac:  20.6
La Crescent vineyard block 3: 20.0
Prairie Star:  17.7
La Crescent Vineyard block 1:  17.7
Foch:  16.7
La Crosse:  10.7
St. Pepin:  12.8

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nets are going on!

I started putting nets on this weekend. In the past I only netted the red wine grapes. This year I am netting everything that has fruit.

There are a lot of turkeys in the area, and the low hanging lacrescent would be too tempting to them. Also I did see some bird damage on the St Pepin and Lacrosse last year, so the netting should offer some protection. I hope to have everything netted by the end of the week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Veraison has begun

It's about a week later than I expected compared to other growers around the state, but veraison has begun. First clear signs were yesterday, but things are really moving fast now. Frontenac is the furthest along. Foch has color only on a few clusters. Luckily the hot summer has speed ripening to be close to normal. Harvest is now looking like the second or third weekend in September if the weather cooperates.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

WTP? What the? .... Phylloxera

Phylloxera has appeared on the vines at the vineyard. I've seen it in the past on the wild grape vines on the property, but this is the first time I've seen it on the cultivated varieties. I saw 3 lacrosse vines with it and one marquette. None so far on the frontenac. Frontenac is the vine typically affected most severely in the midwest.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Weather Station

A new weather station has been installed at the vineyard. No more relying on near by observations. The information is streaming to the Weather Underground using wview software. You can see the obs updating once a minute here

The Weather station is an Ambient Weather WS-2080. It's far from top of the line, but will serve its purpose. I have it in a temporary spot right now, but I will move it to it's permanent location in the spring.

I got to test out the precipitation gauge this afternoon. It read a bit low compared to a nearby rain guage. This may be due to the strong winds during the storm. I will try to correct this issue when the station is moved to its final location.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Black Rot. Yes, it is as bad as it sounds

Black rot on Marquette grapes

For the first time, I am seeing significant black rot in the vineyard. The infection was seen on the leaves as early as June 20, but the grapes showed the tell tale signs on July 18. In about a 48 hour period the fruit went from looking like a huge beautiful crop to shriveled black raisins.

I primarily see the problem on just the marquette and frontenac. Most of the others have just a tiny bit. I estimate the crop loss on the marquette to be greater than 90%, the frontenac loss is about 70-80%. All other varieties have less than 5% loss.

The heavy June rains at the vineyard coupled with the poor drying conditions throughout the entire month probably facilitated the severe infection.

A couple of interesting notes..... the Marquette were the hardest hit. When I look at the disease susceptibility in the Midwest Spray guide, it says slightly (the lowest rating). I see little or no black rot on the lacrescent and lacrosse, which are classified as moderate and very susceptible respectively.

The Marquette are probably located in the part of the vineyard with the best air flow.... however.... the rows are only spaced 8 feet apart (probably a bad choice for many reasons) All other rows in the vineyard are spaced 10 feet apart, including the frontenac. I'm not convinced row spacing is a huge factor here though. At the most likely time of infection, the shoots were pretty small, and the closeness of the rows did not inhibit airflow significantly.

I have also learned from a couple of other growers that they too have seen significant black rot issues this year on marquette. This leads me to believe that marquette may be significantly more susceptible to black rot than has been published.

So how do I avoid this from happening again ..... follow the the recommended spray schedule! My spray program was much more intensive this year than in the past, but I missed the pre-bloom spray. This was probably the biggest reason for my infection. In general I use organic sprays in the vineyard when possible, but black rot is a different animal than powdery mildew and downy mildew.

This reminds me of the phrase "faster, better, cheaper, choose two. In this case, Organic, high quality, consistent crop load... choose two.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vineyard building's roof is on

The vineyard building's roof is on.

Vineyard Building is going up !!

The new vineyard building is going up.   The main structure should be complete next week.   Initially it will be used for holding vineyard related equipment.   Hopefully by the end of the summer I will have a chiller room complete to hold grapes for several hours during picking until they can be delivered or picked up by the customer.

5 inches of rain in 5 days

Grapes are in bloom!

We received 5 inches of rain from June 19-June 23. I am seeing a lot of signs of black rot infections starting. I sprayed about a week ago, and will hit the vines again in the next several days.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

26F on May 27, little damage seen?

Marquette frost damage

We got to 26 F in the vineyard Friday morning. I am a little skeptical about the proper functioning of the thermometer. Damage looked pretty limited. Frontenac was hit the hardest. I would estimate 10-15% bud damage. Marquette was next at 10%, lacrescent was 5-10%.
Most of the other cultivars (st pepin, lacrosse, foch) showed very little damage. Shoots are only 1 to 2 inches right now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's going on at Sampson Valley Vineyard???
I haven't posted much lately, but I hope to start posting more this summer. There is actually a lot going on at the vineyard. I have a couple of big projects going on. I'll post more on those as they materialize. But right now, I do have a few of updates.

Pruning the vineyard took about a week and a half spread out over 1.5 months. We had an 18 inch snow storm after the first pruning round in early April. And another snow storm in late April before we finished pruning. Bud survival over the winter looks very good.

-The high tunnel experiment.
We had a major set back over the last year. Last year a spring wind storm caused major damage. I was not able to repair the damage before winter, so the vinifera vines in the high tunnel were a total loss over the winter. Since I had very promising results, I hope to make repairs next spring and replant soon after.

-The spring weather.
We have had a cool wet spring. This is probably a good thing. Bud break was delayed about 10 days beyond normal. I usually see bud break between May 1 and May 10. This year bud break occurred around May 21. Hopefully that is late enough to avoid any late frosts.

Look for more posts in mid to late June. Perhaps a few before then if I find the time.

- Harvest projections.
I should be at about 80% of a full crop this year. The youngest vines ( marquette) are in their 4th growing year. Most of the vines are a bit behind due to the 3 year drought (2007-2009). Of course this means a big picking party this fall!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bud break on May 21

We have had bud break on several varieties in the vineyard on May 21.

LaCrescent, Foch, marquette, and frontenac have all broken bud. Prairie star is close, and st Pepin will be a few days later.

Frontenac bud break

LaCrescent bud break