Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A Rose Chafer by any other name ... (would be just as bad)

Sampson Valley Vineyard,  Frontenac Blanc block on June 13, 2020

We are in growing year 18!   The vineyard is as active as ever.   We have made lots of changes in our practices since the first planting 17 years ago.

 We are at about 3 acres in size now.  Most of our grapes are Frontenac Blanc, LaCrescent, and Petite Pearl, but there several other cultivars as well.  Including LaCrosse, St Pepin, Prairie Star, Frontenac and Marquette.

We have changed our training practices and trellis a few times.  We went from Top Wire High Cordon, to VSP (vertical Shoot position), and now back to high cordon.  We are now using a modified HBrace trellis for the newer vines.

We have completely eliminated glyphosate (RoundUp) about 5 years ago. Some of the motivation for this were studies in California that have found glyphosate in wine (although probably harmless), I thought we can eliminate it.  In doing so, we have significantly added more labor into our grape production.

Right now we under the annual attack of Rose Chafers.   Since they come out during grape blossom, they are very difficult to control.  (sprays ... even some organic sprays could affect honey bees)  The most safe and effective control is manual removal.  So for the last week, we have been removing rose chafers by hand!

Some of our changes over the years have added a lot of cost, but we want any wine made from our grapes to be grown in an environmentally sustainable way.   These changes add to the price of the final product, but we think it is worth every penny.



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