Friday, November 16, 2012

Sampson Valley Vineyard nouveau

So I admit it, I like nouveau wines.   I look forward to the third Thursday in November when Beaujolais Nouveau is released.  Unfortunately, judging the scarcity of nouveau wines in local liquor stores this year,  I'm apparently one of the few people in Wisconsin that actually enjoy nouveau wines.  

I've personally made nouveau wines at least 4 times in the last 10 years.   Of the nouveaus I've made, a couple were mediocre; one was horrible, and one was excellent.    The excellent one was this year, 2012.  I only wish I knew which type of grape it was made from, since it was made from two vines of unknown cultivar.  (it got mixed into some lacrescent root stock that I planted 6 years ago)   So I don't know if the reason it turned out so well was the cultivar, the weather, the vinification or the grape stompers. (see below)
Alexandtra, Jack, and James crush the grapes for the 2012 nouveau wine.

Most of the nouveaus from Wisconsin are made from marechal foch grapes.  Wollersheim Winery in Prairie Du Sac, WI reliably makes one of the best.( Ruby Nouveau)  In fact,  most years I prefer theirs over the ones from Beaujolais.   Last year's Ruby Nouveau was especially good.   This year's was good too, but lacked some of the fruitiness I had experienced in previous years.  That could be attributed to the especially hot summer, and lower acids in the grapes.  It was a very nice wine none the less.

Karen and I did a blind tasting between Sampson Valley Vineyard Nouveau and Wollersheim Ruby Nouveau.  We both picked the Sampson.   I'll take that as quite the compliment.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Foch and Marquette are done

After an early start, all of the Foch and Marquette have been picked. With the great crew we had, picking went quickly.

The yellow jackets were as thick as I have seen. Except for a few brave souls, most of us wore Kevlar or coated gloves. Despite the swarms of yellow jackets no one wearing gloves got stung. Next weekend, the Frontenac.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The harvest so far. Whites are done, next the reds.

Jack spies his prey!

We harvested all of our white wine grapes on Saturday, September 8. The winery buying the grapes wanted the Lacrescent and Prairie Star.   The St Pepin and LaCrosse were also picked for home wine makers. The lacrescent sugars measured close to 24 brix on a random sampling we took while picking. The Prairie star was closer to 20. The winery ended up measuring slightly less after crushing .... probably due to grape grower sampling bias.

 The picking was great fun and everyone who picked took home a souvenir Sampson Valley Vineyard wine glass.

We are picking the red wine grapes( Foch and Marquette) this Saturday.   Foch are just about 21 brix, the Marquette are at 25.4.  If you would like to help out, and take home a free glass, send me an email, and let me know you are coming.

We did pick about 40 lbs of red wine grapes (of an unknown cultivar that some how appeared in a white wine grape row).    The kids had a great time crushing those.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Brix update

Readings from yesterday

Frontenac  17.9  (surprisingly a bit low?)
Marquette  19.8
LaCrescent 21.1 (Vineyard block 3)
LaCrescent 19.2 (Vineyard block 1)
St Pepin   15.0
LaCrosse  (not measured)
Prairie Star  (not measured)
Foch (not measured)

Picking is currently estimated to be about 3 weeks away. (Sept 8)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Aug 2 Veraison update

Veraison is proceeding nicely Marquette is about 80% complete, Frontenac is about 40%, Foch is still less than 5%.   Below are some pictures from walking through the vineyard yesterday.  We have lots of rain the last few weeks.   I saw a bit of downy mildew in some of the dense canopies.   I hit the vines with some organic fixed copper yesterday afternoon.  




Prairie Star

Prairie Star

Monday, July 30, 2012

Predicting veraison, harvest and other vine phenology

Veraison is moving along quite well.   As of yesterday, Marquette is about 40% complete, Frontenac is 20% complete, and Foch is just under way in the last few days.

I went over my records the last few years to try to better predict when veraison and harvest would occur.  Several factors determine the timing of different phenological events in the season; such as vine health, precipitation timing, nutrient availability, cultivar selection, temperature etc.  For simplicity I am going to use GDD(Growing Degree Days base 50F) since, for the most part, it can be measured more objectively and I have a pretty good temperature history during the last 5 growing seasons.

In my cultivars, bud break occurs between 100-200 GDD (using accumulated GDD from March 1).  But this varies significantly from year to year, since springtime warm and cold waves can mess with the timing of things.  This year bud break was at ~200 GDD on May 6.

Rose Chafers seem to appear at about 450-500 GDD (also measured from March 1).  This year they appeared at 497 on  May 29.  This is the earliest arrival since I've had vines planted.

For veraison and harvest I use accumulate GDD from the date of bud break to eliminate spring weather fluctuations.

In my vineyard, veraison typically occurs at about 1,450-1,600 GDD   This year it began at ~1580 GDD on July 23-26.   Marquette is usually first to begin veraison, followed a few days later by frontenac, and then a few more days later by foch.

In 2010, harvest was between 9/5 and 9/11 with GDD closer to 2,200.  Last year's harvest was on Sept 24 with 2,145 GDD,    This year, if August has near normal temperatures, we should reach about 2,200 GDD by August 25!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Veraison begins

Veraison begins on marquette.
Frontenac (leaves pulled in fruiting zone on east side of row.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Everything is ahead of schedule

Things are looking very good. While the southern part of the state is on pace to have the driest June on record, here in the northeast things are better. We had a dry beginning to June, but we had about 2 inches of rain last week.

We are nearly double our normal growing degree days to date. I will post some GDD stats in a few days. In the meantime, here are some pictures I took at the vineyard yesterday afternoon.
Frontenac grapes

Marquette grapes on VSP.  Leaf pulling done
Marquette grapes

Friday, June 15, 2012

Japanese Beetles arrive in Madison

Luckily the Japanese beetles have not reared their ugly little iridescent heads at Sampson Valley Vineyard, but they have returned to Madison. I usually see them around July 1, so they are about 2 weeks ahead of schedule.

Below is a picture I took of one on my Marquis seedless vines in front of my house in Madison this morning. He met his demise a very short time later.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Full Bloom

We are in full bloom at Sampson Valley Vineyard. Things look great. Marquette and Frontenac are near mid to just past mid bloom. Foch, Lacrescent and prairie star are in early bloom. Only st pepin and lacrosse have yet to begin. They look they are only a day or two away.

Things look great. But as my brother reminded me we are only a day away from losing everything...., that's the nature of farming.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rose chafer arrives 2 weeks early

The rose chafers have returned. It's about 2 weeks earlier than usual. Luckily damage from them should be manageable this year. They mostly affect young vines, and most of the vines are 4 years old or older now.

We may see some damage to flower clusters, which may affect yield, but for the most part we should be okay.

Monday, May 28, 2012

24" shoots.

We had tremendous growth in the last 10 days. Nearly all varieties have shoots 15"+, and many shoots are 24" or more.

It looks like Marquette, Frontenac, and Lacrescent will bear full crops. Foch will be at about 2/3 full crop due to grape flea beetle damage.

Prairie star will be about a half crop. Not due to any pest or frost damage, but because it is growing much more slowly, and the vines are far less mature than other cultivars . They were planted in 2007, and are taking a long time to establish. They are in the sandiest area of the vineyard, and the three year drought which started in 2007 didn't help.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Marquis grapes in bloom in Madison

The seedless table grapes, Marquis, are in bloom in my front yard in Madison. Sampson Valley Vineyard is usually about 2 weeks behind Madison. I would guess bloom should start there about June 9.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

New Row Markers

I started putting out the new row markers my brother and nephew made.  They will make finding the right row a lot easier.
That last image is of some marquette buds.  They are looking good right now.   Damage from the grape flea beetle looks less than I feared.