Archive: Vineyard Info

Tariffs, Tariffs, and More Tariffs

Toward the end of this week, take a minute to add up and total the amount of US tariffs imposed on Chinese goods imported into the US. You can glean this data from online aggregated digital news, television news, or from US Government pronouncements about Trump tariffs. I would be very surprised if the number does not exceed hundreds of billions of US dollars encompassing about half of all Chinese manufactured goods entering the US. The public comment period for most US-China tariffs to be imposed to date ended this past Friday so that such tariffs can be imposed by the US Government and will either be at 25% or 10% depending on the Chinese manufactured product. China and the US, up […]

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Winter Kill, Trunk Disease, or Both….the Situation in the Midwest, USA

[PHOTO CAPTION:  DR. RICHARD SMART] We eagerly anticipated my second visit to the Midwest in June of this year (This article is written in the first person illustrating Richard Smart’s experiences). The prime purpose was to present at the Grapevine Midwest Viniculture Expo at Davenport, Iowa. The topic of my presentation was “Canopy management and how it can affect vineyard profitability and wine quality”. I intended to critically discuss the present tendency towards use of a single high wire cordon. Mike White, the extension viticulture Specialist at Iowa State most kindly offered to escort me on a three-state tour of vineyards, including Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. This gave me a chance to see many vineyards and meet many growers, observe […]

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Vineyard Development: Application of a Sophisticated Testing Technology to Detect Potential Disease

The fall season is the time that vineyard managers and winemakers should start to plan for new vineyard development.  It Is true, this is when you are the busiest with harvest and wine making activities.  However, this is the best time to spot the symptoms associated with most grapevine diseases. My philosophy is if you wish to develop a healthy vineyard you need to plan ahead.  When planting a new vineyard, unless you are willing to take whatever is left at the nursery (not the best idea), you will need to place your order with a nursery at least one year ahead of the planting season.    With so many different diseases that are not regulated by certification programs, I recommend […]

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The Grapevine Magazine’s First Midwest Viniculture Expo Held June 2018

The Grapevine Magazine’s inaugural Midwest Viniculture Expo was held in Davenport, Iowa, June 20-23, 2018. The Expo consisted of a Conference, Trade Show, Midwest Wine Competition and concluded with a Midwest Wine Festival open to the public. THANK YOU to our EXPO SPONSORS:   ACS; Prestige Glassware; Kuriyama of America, Inc.; The Barrel Broker; Brown Bear Corporation; Nixalite of America, Inc. and Agriozein. And to our Association Sponsors:     Iowa Wine Growers Association; Michigan Grape and Wine Association; and Minnesota Grape Growers Association. The Expo’s goal was to provide producers with the opportunity to expand their education, discover new innovations, and network with fellow makers and vendors who can improve practices. Expanding Education The prevailing message of the two-day […]

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Are You Happy with Your Vineyard Training System?

When I mention canopy management in public, people often ask me when I will update my book “Sunlight into Wine”. Recently I have given this idea some more thought. Maybe the presentation could be improved, and some contributors’ comments updated, but the basic principles are unaltered and are still valid. There is not much new in the design nor management of the trellis systems. So, to date, I have not bothered. In this column, I would like to offer some thought about the application of grapevine training system to Midwest viticulture. Much of what I say here will be a direct follow on from my first three columns in this magazine, which dealt with vine balance and trunk diseases. I […]

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Vineyard Tools and Equipment for a Successful Harvest

It’s that time of year again – the time to seriously start preparing for the upcoming harvest. Harvest is the busiest time of the year for vineyards of all shapes and sizes, which is why it’s so important to start planning early to get the right tools and equipment in place. Vineyard Harvest 101 Most North American wineries are fully engaged in their annual grape harvest in the months of August, September, and October, but the prep work to get to this critical stage starts well before then. There are a few different ways to set the grape harvest up for success. Some vineyards swear by traditional hand harvesting, while others have found that mechanical harvesting suits their needs better. […]

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Forklift Purchasing for the Winemaker

Deep down most hands on winemakers praise, cherish and respect their forklift. Perhaps that comes from the days of remembrance when few forklifts existed in the industry. Maximizing the use of the winery forklift is crucial to saving labor, our precious backs and dollars. Try to take the labor savings and re-invest it into focusing on the winemaking. Many thanks are in order to the forklift industry for saving our aching backs with these hugely useful tools. When searching to acquire a forklift, one must look at many factors before engaging the purchase, such as: Fuel choice, size, number of wheels, tire size and material, load capacity/size, lift height needed, fork length, options (tilt, side shift, rotating head) and floor […]

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H2-A Visa Program Offers Vintners Legal Options (Update)

The July-August 2017 issue of Grapevine included an article by me about the H-2A Guestworker Visa program and how it might be used as a source of labor for vintners. In this update I’m going to talk about a couple of specific additional ways H-2A can help vintners, especially vintners who feel they are too small to support an H-2A workforce of their own. The first concept I want to talk about is H-2A Joint Employer Contracts. In this model, two or more employers can file jointly on a single H-2A contract. This allows them to share the up-front costs, share housing AND share workers. The single most important caveat is that you need to know that any other vintner […]

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The Application of Next Generation Sequencing Technology on Disease Diagnostics in the Vineyard

There are a number of laboratories that are dedicated to testing grapevines for the presence of vineyard disease causing agents (plant pathogens). Each of these laboratories use different methods for detection of bacteria, fungi, or viruses that may be present in the vineyard or planting material. It can be confusing to the grower and vineyard managers to decide which laboratory to work with. Determining what are the most appropriate methods for the detection of specific pathogens and the interpretation of the results can even be more confusing. At the time, there is no specific guidelines for grapevine pathogen testing giving the laboratories the freedom to develop their own testing and sampling methods. In this article I will provide an update […]

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Best Practices for Pruning in the Vineyard

In most parts of the U.S., vineyard pruning begins in February and March, depending on how warm the weather is that given year. By this time, many vineyards have a good start on this essential and time-consuming task or have even wrapped up with the trimming to move on to other spring maintenance. This is an ideal time to look back on lessons learned and make improvements in the pruning process to either finish the job or to plan for next year. The Basics of Pruning The basic idea behind pruning is to eliminate excess plant growth from the year before so the vines can channel their energy into growing for the new year. Grapevines produce fruit on wood that’s […]

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