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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Viticulture Notes

Vineyard and Winery Information Series:
Vol. 20 No. 2, March-April 2005

Dr. Tony K. Wolf, Viticulture Extension Specialist

Table of Contents

  1. Current situation and disease management summary
  2. Grape price data, 2004
  3. Upcoming meetings

I. Current situation

It's an anxious time of the year. We watch the weather forecasts for threat of frost, we look for evidence of climbing cutworms and flea beetles, think about those early phomopsis sprays, and ponder whether the 2005 season will be more like 2002 (hot and dry) or more like 2003 and 2004 (H2O ad nauseam). For the uninitiated, the challenges and threats can seem overwhelming. For the veteran, facing a new season is an emotional admixture of hope and angst. We are, at least, starting the new season with minimal evidence of winter injury, and the potential is certainly there for a very good season. And we can arm ourselves with the information gleaned from winter meetings and current management recommendations; there's plenty of good information available.

Grape Disease Management, 2005: The attached "Grape Disease Control, 2005" document was prepared by Dr. Wayne Wilcox, at Cornell University's Geneva Experiment Station. Wayne has been a frequent guest speaker in Virginia and has provided annual Disease Control summaries for a number of years. As in previous years, the summary is broken down into sub-components:

Dr. Wilcox's Grape Disease Control recommendations are written with a focus on New York conditions, but he broadens the application so that the information is generally applicable to Virginia growers as well as growers in other eastern US states and Canada. Even though products may have a federal (EPA) label registration, the labeling varies from state to state. Readers are advised to check within local extension offices or other sources to ensure that a product has been registered within that state.

One of the newly registered fungicides this season is Scala, an anilinopyrimidine in the same chemical family as Vangard and, like Vangard, Scala is effective only for Botrytis control. Efficacy data suggests that Scala and Vangard are comparable, and Scala appears to have a slight cost advantage, depending upon rate used. Resistance of the botrytis fungus to both of these materials is a real concern, and rotating between them is NOT a valid resistance management option given the similarity of their chemistry. Two other newly registered fungicides are Sonata, a biofungicide (Bacillus pumilis) marketed by AgraQuest, Inc. (producers of Serenade), and PureSpray Green, an organically-approved, horticulture oil from Petro-Canada. Both of these products would be aimed at powdery mildew management although commercial experience in this region is minimal or lacking.

In addition to providing an excellent review, Dr. Wilcox seeds his annual update with nuggets of new information. Adding a sticker surfactant, for example, improved the activity of sulfur with a 2-inch rain, and sulfur was shown to have post-infection activity against powdery mildew.

Print and read the disease management summary and refer back to it at frequent intervals throughout the season. Other grape disease information, as well as insect, mite and weed management options, can be found in Virginia Tech's Pest Management Guide Fungicide information is also synthesized on Jeanette Smith's 2005 Fungicide Spray Guide poster

Current disease conditions (period of 21 - 25 April 2005) favor phomopsis cane and leaf spot. The fungicides captan, mancozeb, and ziram are still excellent and viable products for reducing the incidence of shoot/rachis infections by phomopsis.

A note on e-mail etiquette, please: E-mail offers the promise of instant gratification, but the reality is that we do not have time to answer each and every email that comes to I try to answer as many email requests as possible and forward many others to my assistant, Fritz Westover ( Regrettably, some simply don't get answered for lack of time. We'll do our best to answer your questions, but please first consider asking your local Cooperative Extension agent ( for assistance, particularly if the question involves suppliers, site selection, and basic aspects of vineyard management. Agent expertise varies from county to county, but most are eager to help or will redirect the question to us as a means of co-learning. You might also want to take a moment to browse my viticulture web site (, especially the index of past issues of Viticulture Notes. Chances are good that someone else has had a similar question addressed. I update my web site frequently, and there is usually new information posted on a monthly basis. If you send a note to, please be sure to include your full name and your address, including city/state. Your email is less likely to be filtered out by the spam filters if you include my name in the salutation and your name in the closure. Knowing your location can help us address questions you might raise about variety suitability, disease risks, and other regionally important issues. Thank you.

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Last fall we circulated a questionnaire asking 84 Virginia wineries to report prices paid in 2004 for grapes that were purchased from vineyards not directly associated with or owned by the winery. Forty-five wineries provided data including seven who indicated that they did not purchase grapes (Table 1). We extend our sincere appreciation to those who took time to respond to our survey. As in previous years, we gathered these data as means of tracking grape value over years and to provide a justifiable basis for our current vineyard establishment/operation cash flow analysis. The Virginia Agricultural Statistics Service also tracks grape price data, but has generally only shown the data for the top 10 varieties.

We hope that the results of this informal survey provide new and prospective growers with a basis for estimating potential vineyard returns. We quickly point out, however, that the data in Table 1 reflect only the average and range of prices. They have no direct relationship to the quality of grapes sold, and the average price noted does not necessarily mean average fruit quality. Nor should a grape seller interpret the maximum price as a market-driven point that s/he should negotiate towards.

Table 1. Prices ($US/ton) paid for Virginia grapes in 2004, as reported by 45 of 84 surveyed Virginia wineries. Average prices paid in 2002 and 2003 are also shown for most cultivars.
  Price per ton ($) in 2004   
 Min.Max.Ave. Number reporting   Average 2002 price/ton Average 2003 price/ton
Cabernet franc 1,100 2,300 1,447 21 1,461 1,435
Cabernet sauvignon 1,200 2,300 1,437 14 1,484 1,458
Chambourcin 650 1,200 865 9 767 875
Chardonnay 1,100 2,000 1,372 25 1,366 1,326
Concord 500 800 630 5 550
Malbec 1,500 1,600 1,567 3
Merlot 1,100 2,300 1,567 20 1,500 1,411
Norton 825 3,000 1,485 5
Petit verdot 1,450 2,300 1,607 7 1,483 1,413
Pinot gris 900 1,500 1,250 5
Pinot noir 1,200 1,400 1,300 3 1,167
Riesling 950 1,500 1,317 6 1,121 1,117
Sauvignon blanc 1,350 2,000 1,675 3 1,367
Seyval 650 920 814 7 738 763
Tannat 1,400 1,500 1,480 5
Traminette 900 1,050 940 4 949
Vidal 600 1,100 837 13 773 759
Viognier 900 2,000 1,629 18 1,683 1,509

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III. Upcoming meetings of regional interest:

25 Wine Closure Roundtable meeting at Veritas Vineyards in Afton, Virginia. The purpose of the meeting is to evaluate wines bottled with screw caps, synthetic closures and natural corks. Background information in Enology Notes #96 through the current issue. Information and registration at

25-27 Pennsylvania Wine Association and Pennsylvania Association of Winegrowers joint annual meetings at the Wyndham Hotel in Harrisburg, PA. For the first time, the two industry associations in Pennsylvania will hold their annual meetings jointly. Focus of vit/enol sessions will be on Pinot Gris and Vidal Blanc production in the vineyard and winery, also wine marketing topics will be covered. Pesticides credits will be available. Visit the PWA web site at

27 Rappahannock/Madison County vineyard meetings, Burnley Vineyards, Barboursville, VA. (11:00 am - 2:00 pm). Topics: Early season disease management, weed control, and early season insect problems; Pesticide recordkeeping requirements. Directions: From Northern Virginia: Go south on Rt. 29 to Ruckersville. Turn left onto 33. Go 7 miles to Barboursville. Turn right onto Rt. 20. Go 2 miles and turn right onto 641. Go 1/3 mile, turn left into entrance. Please see Tony Wolf's web site ( for a complete description of all summer 2005 vineyard meetings in Virginia

6/7 Wine and Juice Analysis Workshop at FREC in Biglerville, PA - See January 8 description. Sensory workshop and dinner on May 6 at Gibraltar (additional $50 fee). Hands-on teaching and demonstration at individual stations such as calibration of pH meters and solutions, VA, and other essential winery lab practices will be covered. Limited to 25 participants. Registration fee is $85. Contact Stephen Menke (717.334.6271).

11 Rappahannock/Madison County vineyard meetings, Gadino Cellars, Sperryville, VA. (11:00 am - 2:00 pm). Topics: Vine nutrition, canopy management, seasonal disease and insect management, Pesticide labels and environmental precautions. Directions: From Sperryville, take Rt. 211 E. about 5 miles. Turn right onto Rt. 636, School House Rd. Follow Rt. 636 around the elementary school and baseball fields. Turn right on Marys Way. Follow the driveway about 1/4 mile. Turn right into the winery parking lot.

24 Pre-bloom Viticulture and Enology Workshop Lancaster Farm and Home Center. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The focus of this meeting will be wine production in the vineyard and cellar and planning for the upcoming season as a wine growing team. Includes pruning strategies and managing yields for quality, effects of disease on wine quality, planning for wine capacity, quality and production, variety and clone choice as they relate to wine blending. Registration fee of $75 includes lunch and handouts. Instructors are Mark Chien, Stephen Menke and Jim Travis from Penn State Cooperative Extension with invited speakers. Contact Mark Chien at 717.394.6851.

11 Virginia Vineyards Association's Summer Social. Rockbridge Vineyard, 5:30 - 9:00 pm. Barbeque supper, wine-tasting, live music, "State of the Vineyard" address with Tony Wolf. $5.00/VVA member, $10.00/non-member, but pre-paid reservations are required, payable "VVA" and mailed by 6 June to VVA, PO Box 91, Clifford VA 24533 (attention Kay Thompson). Directions: I-81 to Raphine exit, 15 miles south of Staunton. Go 1 mile west on Rt 606, Rockbridge Winery on right.

18 Maryland Grape Growers' Association Summer Field Day at Copernica Vineyard in Carroll County. Practical viticulture information for Mid-Atlantic grape growers. 8:00 am - 4:00 pm. Advance registration is $35 members, $45, non-members if received by 11 June; otherwise $45 and $55 per person, respectively. Mail checks (payable MD Grape Growers Association) to Mr. Bill Kirby, 307 S. Hanson, Easton MD 21601 (410-822-4421). Visit or contact Bob White at for information. Directions: From Western MD or Wash D.C area; Take I-70 east to route 97, or take 97 north from the D.C. beltway. Go through Westminster and proceed north on 97 to Union Mills. Turn right onto Old Hanover Road and take the first right (Deep Run Road). Proceed for approximately 4 miles, until you get to 1116 East Deep Run Road; newspaper boxes are on the right and two 55-gallon cans are on the left next to the long driveway with the address painted on them. From Baltimore and points east; Take the beltway (695) around to 795 towards Reisterstown. Exit onto route 140 and proceed to Westminster. Take the route 97 north exit and proceed as above to the vineyard. For more information call Emily or Jack Johnston at 410-848-7577. To reach someone the day of the field day call 443-618-0955.

20-24 American Society for Enology and Viticulture Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. ASEV is the professional association for the industry. Presentations are mostly scientific in nature. A large trade show accompanies the meeting. A great place to network. Go to for more information.

22 Rappahannock/Madison County vineyard meetings (Virginia). Chattin's Run Vineyard, Vicki and Bill Edmands. Topics - Seasonal Insect Update, Grape Root Borer, Japanese Beetle Contol on Young Vines, VA Tech Entomologist, Dr. Doug Pfeiffer. Current viticultural situation and Management Strategies, VA Tech Viticulturist, Tony Wolf. Direction: From Marshall, take Rectortown road north (Rt 710), approximately 4.4 miles, turn left onto Maidstone Road, go ~ .5 miles to 8517 Maidstone Road.

26 Vineyard Management class at Linden Vineyards in Linden, VA. Wine grower Jim Law offers a series of excellent practical, commercial level and high quality workshops on a variety of grape growing and wine making topics. The focus of this session is the finer points of day to day management in a producing vineyard including canopy management, training, vine nutrition and pruning. Go to the Linden web site for information and registration

13-15 American Society for Enology and Viticulture Eastern Section annual meeting and symposium at the Millenium Hotel in St. Louis, MO will feature a focus on the enology and viticulture of four groups of varieties of increasing importance in the Eastern US and Canada: Norton/Cynthiana, Traminette, Minnesota Varieties (Frontenac, LaCrosse, etc.), and Pinot Gris. Join a pre-conference tour of Missouri wineries on July 13. This meeting will also be coordinated with the International Grapevine Genomics Symposium, July 12 - 14. This Symposium is part of the Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU) Centennial Celebration and organized in cooperation with the International Grape Genome Project (IGGP). Visit for more information and registration.

27 Rappahannock/Madison County vineyard meetings (Virginia). Horton Vineyard and Winery (meet at the Winery ), Dennis and Sharon Horton. Insect Issues: Product Labels & Environmental Precautions, VA Tech Entomologist, Dr. Doug Pfeiffer; Crop estimation and crop outlook, VA Tech Viticulturist, Tony Wolf; Wine Quality Issues for Growers and Sensory Evaluation of Virginia Research Wine. VA Tech Enologist, Dr. Bruce Zoecklein Directions: From Culpeper: Take 29 south to Ruckersville, then take a left onto 33 east, the winery is 8 miles on the left.

4 Virginia Vineyards Association's annual summer technical program. Program is currently being developed. Location will be a combination of Barboursville Vineyards and Horton Winery (keep the date, details will follow).

11-12 Viticulture in-service for regional cooperative extension agents at the VA Tech Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Winchester, VA. A full day training workshop for ag agents interested in working with wine grapes. Contact Tony Wolf, Joe Fiola or Mark Chien for registration information. Open to extension agents in any state.

13/14 Winemaking Basics and Advanced Winemaking at Linden Vineyards in Linden, VA. Wine grower Jim Law offers a series of excellent practical, commercial level and high quality workshops on a variety of grape growing and wine making topics.

17 The Pennsylvania Association of Winegrowers Annual Summer Walk Around at Clover Hill Vineyards and Winery in Breinigsville, PA. The walk around is a very practical, grower oriented day long workshop that meets at a vineyard and covers a wide range of viticulture topics. More information forthcoming.

13/14 Winemaking Basics and Advanced Winemaking at Linden Vineyards in Linden, VA. Wine grower Jim Law offers a series of excellent practical, commercial level and high quality workshops on a variety of grape growing and wine making topics.

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"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:

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