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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Viticulture Notes

Vineyard and Winery Information Series:
Vol. 15 No. 1, January - February 2000

Dr. Tony K. Wolf, Viticulture Extension Specialist

Table of Contents

I. Update on VDACS Grape Growing Task Force

II.Nelson Shaulis, (1914-2000)

III.5th International Cool Climate Symposium

IV.Some Observations on South Australian Viticulture

V.Grape Variety Publication Available

I. Update on VDACS Grape Growing Task Force

The following is a summary of the discussions that were presented at the Virginia State Horticultural Society/Virginia Vineyards Association combined meeting held in Williamsburg on 10-12 January 2000. The panel discussion, moderated by Bill Dickenson, Jr. of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), was a follow-up to a similar meeting, paneled by the same speakers, held in April 1999. The April 1999 meeting was intended to give attendees, many of whom were prospective growers, a sense of winery needs for Virginia grapes. The upshot of the April meeting was that, collectively, some Virginia wineries expressed a need for up to 1000 tons of fruit to meet their current (1998-1999) sales needs. Bear in mind that the state produced only about 3200 tons of grapes in 1998. In the course of the 1999 grape harvest, some difficulties arose in selling grapes, giving rise to speculation that the "need" for more grapes was overstated. From my own (TK Wolf) perspective, two of the three cases of 1999 oversupply that I learned about resulted, in part, from the growers' underestimation of crop; and, all three cases involved Chardonnay. A fourth individual lamented not being able to sell a small (much less than one ton) amount of Vidal which he had picked, at immaturity, without first consulting the(a) winery. We too have difficulty in accurately estimating crop, and I'm not critical of the growers who underestimated their 1999 crop. The comments of the following individuals, all of whom are associated with Virginia wineries, sheds some light on the intricacies of winery logistics and production issues. Their comments were transcribed from videotapes and were further edited for brevity. I (TK Wolf) take sole responsibility for errors of omission or alteration that occurred with the transcription and subsequent editing.

Mr. Al Weed, Mountain Cove Winery, Lovingston, Virginia:
This was an interesting season, both from my perspective as a small winery owner, and also from the perspective of many independent grape growers. Bill Dickenson's panel in April 1999 gave growers the impression that "We need more grapes." Yet when the 1999 harvest was coming in, there were grapes looking for a home. When prospective growers hear their neighbors say they can't sell their grapes, they probably have second thoughts about getting into the business. I think those are realistic thoughts. But 1999 was an odd season. Drought and accelerated ripening in many vineyards was followed by hurricane-generated rains. The ripening of a lot of varieties was different from what experience would have predicted. That caused problems for wineries. Wineries must plan when the fruit is coming in and they have to make arrangements for all kinds of support elements. If the winery is expecting Chardonnay from a particular vineyard in the first week of September, and the fruit isn't ready until the last week of Sept., that is going to cause problems. If you were one of the growers on the phone trying to find a home for fruit that you didn't have a home for, you might not have understood what was happening at the winery. I made a short list of things that happened to me that made it very difficult for me to say to a grower that I might, under other normal circumstances, have been able to buy his excess crop.

One of the greatest weaknesses I think we have now in the state is the inaccuracy of crop level projections. If you're not sure how much crop is in your vineyard, the winery will have difficulty in projecting fermentation and storage space. Consider a typical grower/winery arrangement. The grower tells the winery, "I've got 15 tons of Chardonnay". The winery buyer says, "Well, I only need 10 tons, but I can find a home for the extra 5 tons", and the winery might buy the excess just to maintain a good relationship with the grower. If the grower then comes to the winery with 9 tons and not 15, the winery will either have to renege on selling another winery the excess 5 tons, or scramble to locate the 6-ton deficit. So, in addition to the original winery having a problem, a third party may also be negatively impacted by the grower's shortfall. The opposite situation also causes logistic problems. If the buyer goes to the winery with 20 tons, the winery may not have the capacity to handle it. So accurate crop projections are something that we need to get a much finer handle on. I know Tony Wolf does crop estimation workshops, but the best estimates come from your own experience and data from your own vineyard.

Another complicating logistical issue is that of timing. Consider a grower in Loudoun or Fauquier County (northern Virginia), whose Chardonnay normally ripens in late-September. If that grower has underestimated their Chardonnay crop, they may have difficulty in selling it to wineries in the central or southeast portion of the state who have already filled their tank/barrel capacity with Chardonnay and are on to later maturing red varieties. You might have the nicest fruit left on a vine in VA, but that is probably where it's going to stay if you can't get a winery to buy it.

Growers have to understand that wineries are trying to manage their production flow so they can deal with the fruit as it comes in. One good thing we've learned in VA about quality grape growing is that if your fruit is clean and generally disease-free, you can let it hang on the vine longer. But if you've got fruit that's right on the margin, (Ed: or birds, deer, etc. are taking the crop) you don't have much time. You need to pick it, or just kiss that season goodbye. So, an extension of the harvest time is very much related to the quality of the fruit on the vines.

Let me briefly mention what I call winery imperatives; issues that the independent grower may not realize exist when they get on the phone and say, "Al, can you take this 5 tons of Chardonnay?" First imperative: do I, the winery, have refrigeration capabilities for the fruit? If you call me up and I'm in the middle of processing something, or I'm a one-man operation, I may have something else planned. Unless I really need that fruit, I've got to consider the impact it will have on things that have already been planned for the next few days. Even if I could dispose of the fruit and wine, I may turn it down simply because I have other time commitments for the time that it would take to process it. If the grower or winery has cold storage available, they might be able to hold those grapes for awhile. That's one consideration that you might want to be thinking about.

The second imperative is that of winery tank size and total storage capacity. Even though I may have tank space available, I may not have the right size tank(s) to meet each exigency. Say I have a 1000-gallon tank. If you offered me 4 tons of Chardonnay, which would yield 600 gallons of juice, then I have a tank that is two-thirds full, and I have a real problem with oxidation unless I can figure out a way to blanket it with gas. So even though I may have tank space, I may not have the right size. If I'm storing or fermenting in barrels, I may not have enough barrels on hand to accommodate the surplus fruit. Where do I put this stuff if I get it?

A third imperative is the method of payment for the fruit. Hopefully I have set aside enough money or talked to my bank so that I can pay the grower(s) when the expected quantity of fruit is delivered to the winery. If I get a surprise call from somebody with 5 tons of nice fruit, and they want $1200/ton for it, thatıs $6000 dollars that I haven't budgeted for. If you as a grower aren't willing to be flexible on payments, I can't buy it, unless I can borrow the $6,000.

The bottom line is that there are a lot of things going on in the winery that the grower may not be aware of. What can the grower do to minimize logistical problems for the winery? Do good crop estimates and repeat them throughout the year. Tony Wolf can provide directions on how to do the estimates. If late-season crop predictions start to show evidence of underestimation, start calling the winery(s) early. The more advance notice that the winery has of the actual crop amount, the greater the chance that a home can be found for the fruit. Communication between the grower and wineries becomes much more complicated when you are selling fruit to more than one winery. When you are dealing with 3 or 4 wineries, and each of those wineries is dealing with 12 or 15 growers, communication becomes very important.

Mr. Bob Burgin. Chateau Morrisette Winery, Meadows of Dan, Virginia:
Before I start, I want to ask Bill Dickenson when my state paycheck would arrive? Since this initiative was started my new title has become state grower relations, and I feel this is an underpaid position. I have gotten to know a lot of you, at least over the phone, over the past few months. Chateau Morrisette has been a supporter of this initiative since its inception. To give you some idea of Chateau Morrisette, we expanded our production capacity about 200% in two years and we are an active buyer of Virginia grapes. This past season we dealt with approximately 25 growers, from across the state. Having traveled to many of those vineyards, I can tell you, it is all across the state. And among those growers, we will buy multiple varieties. Consequently, we might be looking at 50 to 60 separate grape winery transactions.

I feel there are a number of issues that merit some discussion in terms of grower/winery interactions. One is crop estimates. We have taken our trucks to growers ready to harvest 20 tons, and have come back with 6 tons. That is something that we are not going to be able to continue to do in the future. Part of that problem is the grower's crop estimates, and that will become an important part of the grape contract discussions.

A second issue is communication between the growers and the winery. I fielded a couple of phone calls this past spring, when we were getting close to the deadline to order vines for that year, and the person -- who I have never heard from before -- is asking, " Would you like me to order Cabernet franc, or Cabernet Sauvignon?" I have never met this person, have no idea where their land is, what the site is like, nor what type of grower he is. I will usually discourage such people from pursuing grape production. We want to develop long-term relationships; we are not interested in continually buying grapes on the spot market. We want to work on our relationships with growers that we will feel comfortable with over the next 10-15 years. We don't want to get into an abrasive type relationship with someone over a spot market transaction this year, when we hope and expect to buy grapes for 7 to 8 years in the future. It is very important that we get to know you as a grower. If you want to become a grower for us, we would like to meet you, and we would like to meet with you one-on-one, and to have you come down and visit us at Chateau Morrisette and see what we are about. We would like to visit with you at your site. And yes, Tony Wolf will probably have a million calls because of us, because my first question is usually, "Have you talked to Tony Wolf?" The second question is "Have you ordered the viticulture suitability map for your county?" And my third question is, "Do you know who your Virginia Cooperative Extension agent is? And my fourth question is, "Are you a lawyer?" Unfortunately, I have about five lawyers in my family, I am not one, but I play one at the winery. It is important that you communicate with the winery that you intend to grow grapes for before you plant them. If you have them planted, please come and see us within the next month, and let us start talking about harvest of 2000. We have to allocate tank space and order barrels. These are very mundane things to worry about, but I have to have a home for your grapes, and unfortunately, they can't stay in crates until next year.

They either have to go into a tank or barrel, and hopefully eventually into the bottle. But they have to hit the tank or barrel first, and we have to order French oak barrels before April of 2000. And if you would like to sell me Chardonnay, I would like to know about it so I can find a home for it. So it's important to communicate, and communicate early.

A third issue results from the need to coordinate purchases from many growers. Realize that we are buying from more than one person, and we do have other transactions and other pickups, and other harvest parameters that we are dealing with. We may have to make you sit on your crop for a little while. We have one grower, whose name I won't mention, who called me the Angel of Death, when I came and told him that I thought the Cabernet franc was going to have to hold for another week. He just couldn't believe that the Cabernet franc wasn't ready to be picked. I said, "Well, it is ripe. And yes it's good fruit, but we would like it to hang one more week. You don't mind do you?" Well, of course he did mind a little bit, but he helped us out by letting it go another week. It is important that we have good relations with the grower, and great communications. Don't call us the day you are ordering grapevines and ask what variety on what rootstock you should order, especially if we've never heard of you before.

In terms of this year, and the 1999 harvest, Al Weed commented that there were some growers who had problems selling fruit, and in a lot of cases it was Chardonnay that may not have been sold, or was sold late. Part of that was because of barrel orders and tank space. In doing our space needs estimates, we survey our growers and come up with an anticipated tonnage and corresponding tank/barrel requirement for each variety that we wish to process that year. We inflate the estimated figure 10 to 15% in the event of crop underestimation or in the event a new grower shows up with unexpected crop. At harvest, we fill the tanks. So, we've budgeted tank space that we are going to allocate to a variety such as Chardonnay, and we start filling up the other tanks with Vidal, Seyval, Cabernet franc etc. Consequently, it's difficult to juggle unexpected grape deliveries into predetermined tank utilization schemes. So, often towards the end of the season, we are saying, well I can take up to x tons, because that is how much will top off a given tank, and I may not have enough room to take the rest of the grower's fruit. Our tank sizes often dictate our purchases. We've had growers who have called and said, "I have 123 pounds of Cabernet that I just picked. I never called and told you the sugar content or acid, but I decided to pick them for you today. You are crushing today, arenıt you?" We need a minimum quantity of grapes to even consider purchasing. Our tanks range in size from 1000 to 6100 gallons. It takes a lot of grapes to go into a 6100-gallon tank. If you have 2 tons, and the 6100-gallon tank is empty, and there's no promise of other grapes, I'm not going to buy those 2 tons. I do think that communication lines are important and that you communicate with us early. We are still looking for growers who want to grow specific varieties for us, and that is something I would like to talk with prospective growers about individually. I do think that in some cases we do need to be careful as a 'Grape Growing Initiative' that we don't promote one variety to the exclusion of others. There has been a 40% increase in the number of Virginia wineries just in the last 10 years. There is also going to be plenty of room for growth in the grape industry in the following years, but you need to communicate directly with the wineries. Don't automatically assume that there is a home for your grapes. Wineries like Chateau Morrisette are looking for good growers, not just growers in general.

Tom Payette, Prince Michel Vineyards, Leon, Virginia
The previous speakers have covered basically every point that I can think of. Prince Michel is actively seeking red grapes, including Cabernet franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Although we actively sought fruit during 1999, we ended up not purchasing any. We were seeking fruit early in the year, trying to get contracts with growers, and for one case or another, they just kept backing off. I think that boils down to communication, and that's what I would like to emphasize. We have a certain amount of tank space, and we want to know what fruit we have coming forward, or what we can buy. There were some cases in the last minute where the telephone rings and someone asks, "Can you take 5 tons of this or that?" Well, a red flag goes up in my mind. How come you don't have a home for that fruit already? I haven't been there in the spring or in the middle of the summer to look at your vineyard and see how it's managed, and what the fruit quality is like. That, coupled with the logistical dilemma discussed by the previous speakers, would make me reluctant to purchase the fruit. Wineries are looking for specific quantities of high quality fruit. And I think through good, early communication, and knowing your vineyard, we can get there. If you want to sell fruit, or grow fruit, contact us and keep the communication going. That's the key.

Patrick Duffeler, Williamsburg Winery, Williamsburg, Virginia
We don't pay enough for high quality grapes, and we pay too much for low quality grapes.

The Williamsburg Winery feels that we have not been true to our mission. We would have liked to make wine that is 95% or more from Virginia grapes, and we have not been able to do that. We have not been able to buy as many Virginia grapes as we would like. So purchasing then looks to adjacent states, then other East coast states, but if we can't buy what we need, we go to the West coast. Chardonnay was an exception to this pattern in 1999. Our growers and ourselves actually exceeded our expectations, so we had a little more Chardonnay than we needed in 1999.

Question and answer session:
Q: (Jeanette Smith): What incentive do I as a grower have to plant hybrids versus vinifera? You're asking for hybrids, yet you pay half of the price per ton for hybrids as you do for vinifera. In my experience, hybrids do not yield twice as much as vinifera varieties yield, so the price/yield per acre relationship does not balance. If I am trying to grow grapes to make a living, why should I plant hybrids?

A: (Patrick Duffeler): Let me try to give you the quick answer. There will be differing answers depending on the special niche markets. Simplistically, let's say you can get 5 to 6 tons per acre from hybrids, and let's just say your dollar value per ton would be between $500-600. Alternatively, with Chardonnay, you do 3 to 3.5 tons per acre, you get $1200/ton. The per acre return would be less for the hybrids ($3,600), compared to Chardonnay ($4,200), but the cost of production would be somewhat less with Vidal, making the profit margin more equitable.

Q: (J. Smith): That has not been my experience. In what way is Vidal cheaper to produce than Chardonnay?

A: (P. Duffeler): Vidal is a slightly easier grape to grow than Chardonnay, you spray Chardonnay more often than Vidal.

Comment: (Shep Rouse): I've grown Vidal in Virginia for 10 years, and my average per acre production has been 7 tons/acre. Thatıs the average!

Comment: (Tom Payette): We would be more interested in vinifera varieties. We don't purchase any hybrids and we don't make wine out of hybrids.

Comment: (P. Duffeler): In 1980, the wine market was less than 20% reds, whites were dominant, and blush was reaching about 30%. Today we are talking about 40% reds, 40% whites, and declining blush. So reds have been the growing segment of the industry."

Comment: (Al Weed): About 25 years ago it was a hybrid/vinifera fight in Virginia. In fact there were meetings where if you didn't grow vinifera, you couldn't attend. When we started Mountain Cove Winery back in 1973, hybrids were all that we planted. Ten years later, no one was planting hybrids, because you couldn't make any money growing hybrids. In 1997, I finally realized that was the truth, to an extent, and I tore out 80% of my original hybrid vineyard. I kept one hybrid variety, and then of what I replanted, half was vinifera, and half was hybrid. I understand what is happening in the industry, but I also know that if I don't have wine when a customer comes up our driveway, I've lost a sale. And if I'm betting on temperamental vinifera on a site that may not be perfect for vinifera, I know I still may not be able to make that sale. So as a small winery owner, I see a need to balance the more consistent production but lower value of hybrids with the less consistent production but greater value of the vinifera. Keep in mind also, if you are making a high quality Chardonnay, you are competing in a very demanding market. If you're making a bottle of wine, and you're trying to get $12 for it, and youıre saying this is a world class Chardonnay, somebody who is buying that, will say, "Well letıs see if this is a world class Chardonnay". You better be right, or they're not coming back. If you are making a pleasant wine out of hybrids that sells for $7, you're not making quite the price statement. Most consumers won't compare it against super- or ultra-premium wines. If they're happy with it, they're apt to come back and buy it again.

Editor's comment (TK Wolf): Not everyone has a site that affords consistent production of vinifera varieties. The most serious site limitation, specific for vinifera, is the threat of winter injury; however, spring frost, and increased risk of bunch rot problems can be more significant with some vinifera varieties than for some of the hybrids. Hybrid varieties such as Vidal, while commanding less value, do offer an alternative to the aspiring grape producer. However, the individual grower must weigh the risks associated with his or her site. Good to excellent sites should be dedicated to high value vinifera. Growers at more marginal sites would be advised to plant (some proportion of) more hardy and disease resistant hybrids in order to maximize long-term returns -- so long as those hybrid varieties are in demand by wineries.

Bill Dickenson Jr., VDACS:
Gentlemen, I'll conclude with one statement that I've heard repeated this morning: Yes, we still need more grapes, but we need specific types of grapes.

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II. Nelson Shaulis (1914 ­ 2000):

Sadly, one of the world's finest viticulturists, Dr. Nelson Shaulis, died on 15 January 2000. Dr. Shaulis retired from Cornell University in 1978, but remained active in grape research and extension programs until the mid-nineties. Dr. Shaulis possessed an uncommon combination of intellect, curiosity, and persistence that permitted him to significantly advance the science of viticulture. His pioneering research with altered vine canopy and row spacing led to some of the basic principles that underpin modern grapevine canopy management, as well as to development of the Geneva Double Curtain training system. While he might be best remembered for his advancement of grapevine canopy management, Dr. Shaulis's research spanned a wide range of topics; he made additional, noteworthy contributions in the areas of vineyard floor management, vine nutrition, vineyard mechanization, and in our understanding of factors that affect vine fruitfulness. Nelson was 86.

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III. 5th International Cool Climate Symposium:

The 5th International Cool Climate Viticulture and Enology Symposium was held in Melbourne Australia from 16-20 January 2000. Held every 4 years (the last was in Rochester, NY), this international event attracted 800 attendees, 100 from the US, several from Virginia. The symposium commenced with a 4-hour colloquium on global climate change and the predicted impact of this change on cool climate viticulture. The definition of a cool climate region is somewhat varied, but one element that has gained some degree of tenacity has been a region that has a Mean January (July in northern hemisphere) Temperature (MJT) of 19°C or less. Winchester, VA has a MJT of about 24°C (75°F), Charlottesville is about 25°C. These warmer temperatures do not, however, exclude Virginia from consequences of global climate change.

Colloquium speakers discussed effects of global climate change on regional temperature and precipitation patterns, grapevine physiology, and disease/pest pressure. Some of the salient points presented include:

What are the consequences of these changes? There are both positive and negative consequences of such warming. If the predicted further increases in temperature and CO2 concentration are realized, the limit of northern hemisphere viticulture will extend northward 6 to 18 miles per decade up to 2020, with a predicted doubling of this rate between 2020 and 2050. What is now regarded as "cool climate" regions will become "warm" or "hot" climate regions. This was illustrated using the Coonawarra district in South Australia. Coonawarra has a BEDD [after John Gladstones' Biologically-effect Degree Days (summation of mean daily temperatures between 10 and 19°C during a seven-month growing season)] of 1247 and a MJT of 19.3°C. While 1247 BEDD may be considered "cool climate", the BEDD of Coonawarra can be expected to increase to 1428 by the year 2025, and to 1526 by 2050. A BEDD of 1526 is decidedly "warm" or "hot". Again, the magnitude of these changes is expected to be even greater in the northern hemisphere. In Virginia, most of the established grape growing areas are already warm or hot (MJT < 19°C or 66°F), meaning that further temperature increases will only aggravate problems currently associated with high temperatures (e.g., development and retention of delicate flavor and aroma constituents). On the positive side, areas that are now too cool for ripening grapes, or for vine survival (e.g. excessively high elevation; far western counties) will become more suitable. The varietal picture will also likely undergo evolution as greater emphasis is placed on varieties more suitable for hot seasons, and "cool" season varieties are phased out.

The growing season will likely lengthen, but spring frost will still be a problem in continental climates such as Virginia's, because budbreak will also be advanced. Vine productivity may actually increase in response to increased photosynthetic activity, due to elevated CO2 levels. Areas that normally receive summer rainfall (such as VA) will likely see increased winter precipitation and decreased summer precipitation. In general, we were advised to expect more extreme weather phenomena in the future associated with the global changes.

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IV. Some observations on South Australian viticulture:

Viticulture Notes readers are probably aware that I am on a university study leave at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. We arrived here in mid-December and will stay through mid-April. My research involves an evaluation of 5 different training systems with Shiraz in the Barossa Valley. The project was established six years ago and I am collecting data from the '99-'00 growing season to add to data that have been collected over the previous three seasons. In addition to colleagues at the University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, I am taking the opportunity to visit other State and Federal research units in South Australia. reminds me that Iım missing all the joys of winter in Virginia. A few comments/observations are worth passing along at this point:

Australia currently grows over 200,000 acres of grapes (less than one-third the vineyard area of the USA), with about 45% of that production located in South Australia (SA). Principal regions within SA include the (Murray)Riverland, Clare, Barossa, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Padthaway, and Coonawarra. My travels to date within SA have taken me to all but Clare and Langhorne Creek, but trips to Langhorne Creek are planned to look at bunch stem necrosis problems. In a general sense, the area planted to young (one-year-old) vines in South Australia is staggering, and averages from 15 to 30% of a given region (the Riverland area of SA has seen the greatest growth in recent years). In the Barossa alone, grape production has increased 42% in the last 9 years. Central SA grape production has increased 168% over the same period. The ability to sell all the wine that will result from this acreage is not universally accepted here, but there is certainly optimism. As we've heard before, the Aussies have high expectations for US wine drinkers to increase their consumption of Australian wine.

South Australian viticulture is much easier than that of Virginia in many respects, but problems and concerns do exist. Fungal disease (excepting powdery mildew) and insect pests are not as serious a threat here, owing in large part to the relatively dry growing season - about 8 to 10 inches of rain per 7-month growing season. Five or six fungal sprays per season is typical. Birds, especially starlings, can be a problem, and even some very large vineyards are netted. Much of SA is irrigated and a major limiting factor in some areas is irrigation water. In the Murray River (Riverland) area, water quality has become a controversial issue as salinity levels have increased. As current rates of salinity increase, downstream water is not expected to be potable by 2030. As in parts of the US west, competition between agriculture and metropolitan water use is intensifying. My host here, Dr. Peter Dry, and his colleague Dr. Brian Loveys, have developed an approach to irrigation that results in up to 50% less water use, with no or minimal impacts on vine productivity. The method, termed Partial Rootzone Drying (PRD, requires installation of two separate irrigation lines for each row of vines, and involves the alternation of wetting and drying of two roughly equal volumes of each vine's rootzone. Peter discussed this topic in one of his talks in Roanoke in January 1999. PRD irrigation may have some application in Virginia vineyards where irrigation water supplies are limited, but it will continue to have greatest application in grape regions where summer precipitation is infrequent or nil.

On another subject, it was interesting to learn that some of the highest quality fruit in regions such as the Barossa, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra is grown on vines that receive little or no canopy management during the growing season. The "standard" training is a single wire trellis with a spur-pruned cordon about 5 feet above ground. Shoots grow up and out from the cordon, but with careful water management (no water in some cases), the shoots do not grow much more than 3 feet long, and produce few laterals. The resulting "spikey" canopy has excellent sunlight penetration. The depth of the soil and the amount of irrigation water are the primary determinants of vine size. I'm envious of the grower's ability to regulate vine size and vigor in this environment. The observations reinforce a thought that in Virginia we might do well to pay greater attention to the physical properties of soil with vineyard site selection. While we can't change the weather, we might at least look more carefully for soils with good to excessive internal water drainage, that have relatively low readily available water values. With irrigation, such sites would give us greater control of vine vigor than where water is abundantly available.

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V. Grape Variety Publication available:

We recently published Commercial Grape Varieties for Virginia (pub. # 463-019, $10.00), a 42-page comprehensive review of over twenty wine grape and table grape varieties. This publication will aid new and established growers in Virginia and surrounding states. Data includes cold hardiness levels, relative time to bud-break, yields, rot severity, and fruit chemistry. The publication can be ordered through the VA Cooperative Extension Distribution Center, 112 Landsdowne Street, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0512. Check or money order, payable to Treasurer, Virginia Tech ($10.00/copy) must accompany order. Note, there are no plans to publish this publication on the web.

"Viticulture Notes" is a bi-monthly newsletter issued by Dr. Tony K. Wolf, Viticulture Extension Specialist with Virginia Tech's Alson H. Smith, Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester, Virginia. If you would like to receive "Viticulture Notes" as well as Dr. Bruce Zoecklein's "Vinter's Corner" by mail, contact Dr. Wolf at:

Dr. Tony K. Wolf
AHS Agricultural Research and Extension Center
595 Laurel Grove Road
Winchester, VA 22602

or e-mail:

Commercial products are named in this publication for informational purposes only. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University do not endorse these products and do not intend discrimination against other products that also may be suitable.

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