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Viticulture Notes

Vineyard and Winery Information Series:
Vol. 22 No. 3, May - June, 2007

Dr. Tony K. Wolf, Viticulture Extension Specialist, AHS Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center
Winchester, Virginia

Table of Contents

  1. Current situation
  2. Pest management recommendations
  3. Vineyard meetings, Virginia
  4. ASEV/ES meeting
  5. Vineyard manager positions available
  6. Regional meetings

I Current situation

Viticulture positions at Winchester: By way of review, former viticulture team members Fritz Westover (viticulture research/extension associate) and Ashley Myers (Grape pathology extension specialist) departed for Texas and North Carolina, respectively, in January 2007. The job openings were widely advertised and we are close to filling the viticulture position with a remarkably talented candidate. More on that in the future. The grape pathology position has taken longer, partly as a function of my own schedule, but we will be interviewing two candidates for that position in early July. If all goes well, we hope to fill the pathology position by August. I’ll post details as they are finalized. In addition to these two viticulture positions, we have recently filled a third position here at the Center. Ms. Jessica Deelo was hired in early May as an area specialist in organic, horticultural crops production.

Seasonal reminders:  We’re at that point in the season when it seems that everything happens at once. Let’s go down the list of some of the prominent tasks that should be completed now or in the near future, as well as some of the threats that face vines at this important point in their development:

Easter Freeze recap: We have a much better idea of the extent of vineyard frost injury as a consequence of the freezing temperatures on and immediately after Easter weekend at this point. Frost injury was widespread and in some cases extensive within a small area, but it was by no means complete. It’s probably safe to say that the yield potential of early varieties like Chardonnay, Viognier and Chambourcin will be substantially reduced statewide, but primarily as a result of the significant damage in central and southern piedmont vineyards. The following are some of my observations and reports from growers on the status of vines following the freeze. Beyond the injury to the early-budding varieties in those two regions, the injury ranged from minimal to moderate. Some observations following the frost event follow.

Many areas in northern Virginia and in the northern Shenandoah Valley were spared significant injury. This related to both temperatures experienced and the degree of vine development. For example, here at Winchester, we experienced a low of about 26F under windy conditions, but Chardonnay was at less than 5% budbreak. We did have some primary shoot freeze injury on exposed shoots, but it was less than 5%. Other varieties here were less advanced and, consequently, had no injury.

One report from the Northern Neck estimated that injury was on the order of 30 - 50% primary buds frosted. The grower had a range of varieties, with later budding varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon still at tight bud and sustaining no injury. 

The Eastern Shore was generally spared, with vineyard temperatures of about 31F or higher. One exception was a vineyard where the temperature went as low as 24F on 10 April. This was the Tuesday after the weekend freeze and appeared to be an isolated event. We don't have a good explanation why this vineyard got so cold and others within 2 miles of it stayed relatively warm and injury-free. The vineyard that experienced 24F had about 80% primary bud kill on Chardonnay clone #4; other Chardonnay clones and red varieties were slightly delayed in development and did not sustain significant injury. Winds were generally above 8 mph through the Easter weekend on the Eastern Shore, occasionally much faster, but became negligible in the early morning hours of Tuesday the 10th, when the low temperature occurred.

The central and southern region of the state sustained the greatest frost injury owing to the advanced vine development. Low temperatures in vineyards that I visited were reported as generally in the low twenties although there were cases where the temperatures bottomed out at 18 or 19F. Chardonnay and other early-budding varieties bore the brunt of injury, as shoots were out anywhere from 1/2 to 2 inches. Typically 90% or more of these shoots were killed. Unfortunately, there was considerable injury to secondary buds as well, which will have some ramifications for cordon development as well as canopy development with cane-pruned vines. That is, growers who had laid out 18- to 24-inch long canes as future cordons, will find that many nodes may not push any buds, and that the process may have to be repeated next season in order to have uniform and consistent spur placement on the young cordons.

On a positive note, I have not seen evidence of vascular injury in any of the vineyards that I visited in April. Later budding varieties fared somewhat better even in vineyards where temperatures reached the teens.

The situation in the southern Piedmont is more variable. For example, our research vineyard at Blackstone (Nottoway County) dipped to 18F (ground level) on Easter Sunday when shoots of early-budding varieties were out 2 inches or more. Damage to primary buds was greater than 80% with some of these varieties. Just south of there, near Lake Gaston, a grower indicated that 27F was the low (two consecutive mornings). That grower found minimal damage, as would be expected with windy, dry air and a low of only 27F. Other reports in the southern Piedmont included temperatures of anywhere from 19 to 22F. Injury was variable depending upon absolute low, stage of bud development, and the extent to which cultural practices might have affected bud development (see following comments). Our subsequent shoot-thinning in our research vineyard at Blackstone revealed many fruitful shoots – enough so that we were having to remove fruitful shoots in order to achieve our shoot density goal (4 shoots per foot of cordon) and our preliminary crop adjustment.

Some general conclusions:

Virginia was on the edge of damage from this frost episode; vineyards in parts of NC, GA, TN, KY and points further west sustained significantly greater damage due to the advanced vine development.  Peaches and some apples and other fruits also sustained appreciably injury both in Virginia and in those other states.  All in all, it was an unusual winter/spring, with December 2006 ranked as 11th warmest on record and February falling in the top third of coldest Februarys on record.  The Easter frost followed a week of unusually warm weather.

Again, it’s too early to tell the full extent of the Easter weekend freeze, but the preliminary indications are that a significant crop loss occurred throughout the region. In Virginia, mechanisms for dealing with meteorological disasters, including provisions for lessening the stringency of in-state grape purchase by Virginia farm wineries, may be enabled once the damage is locally assessed and collated by Farm Services Agency (USDA) and local authorities (including Virginia Cooperative Extension). For Virginia producers, I would encourage you to communicate the extent of damage with your local Cooperative Extension office. This will be important as local governments assess the extent of damage to the fruit industry.

II. 2007 Pest Management recommendations

Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 2007 Grape Pest Management Guide (PMG) can be downloaded at:  The pesticide recommendations are annually prepared by pest management specialists with grape expertise at Virginia Tech and form the basis of our grape pest management program. Pesticide recommendations augment cultural control practices, including integrated pest management of arthropod pests and good canopy management techniques to set the stage for effective disease control. Detailed disease management recommendations can be found in past issues of Viticulture Notes, available through my website (, in the Compendium of Grape Diseases ( and by attending regional vineyard meetings, a number of which are listed in this newsletter.  Readers may also wish to view the pdf versions of several pest management talks that were presented at the 2007 Virginia Vineyards Association’s winter meeting in Charlottesville. The Powerpoint presentations can be downloaded from the VVA website at: (look under “presentations”).

The attached "Grape Disease Control, 2007" document was prepared by Dr. Wayne Wilcox, at Cornell University's Geneva Experiment Station.  Wayne has been a frequent guest speaker in Virginia (including the VVA meeting in February 2007) 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.

Another document that focuses on mid-Atlantic grape disease control is also attached. “Guidelines for developing an effective fungicide spray program for wine grapes in Maryland, 2007” was prepared by Dr. Anne DeMarsay, Specialist in Fruit Pathology at the University of Maryland. Anne’s model spray program is very similar to what we use at our research vineyard in Winchester, illustrated by our spray record of the 2006 season (

III. Vineyard meetings, Virginia:

June 6th Lovingston Winery (Nelson County)
Owner, Ed Puckett
  • Topics – Seasonal pest management updates – speakers TBD
  Directions and other information: From Charlottesville, take Rt 29 south for about 35 miles. Turn right onto state road 653, also known as Freshwater Cove Lane. Go 1 mile, and the winery sign is in plain view on the left. Please contact Michael Lachance for further details ( or (434)-263-4035.
June 20th Horton Vineyard and Winery, Gordonsville (meet at the Winery)
Dennis and Sharon Horton
  • Topics – Seasonal Insect Control Update: Product Labels & Environmental Precautions – Dr. Doug Pfeiffer, Virginia Tech Entomologist
  • The Impact of Fruit Rots and Spray Residues on Wine Quality – Bruce Zoecklein, Virginia Tech Enologist
  • Seasonal Viticultural Management Strategies - Virginia Tech Viticulturist
  Directions From Culpeper: Take 29 South to Ruckersville, then left onto 33 East; the winery is 8 miles on the left.
July 27th Location and topics to be determined
  Directions and other information: Please contact Michael Lachance for further details ( or (434)-263-4035.
August 1st Gadino Cellars (Rappahannock County)
Bill and Aleta Gadino
  • Topics -- Crop Estimations and Pre/ Post Harvest Disease Management Strategies – Dr. Tony Wolf, Virginia Tech Viticulturist
  • Late Season Insect Scouting and Controls, Dr. Doug Pfeiffer, Virginia Tech Entomologist
  • WPS Review/Update (emhpasis on REIs and PHIs)
  Directions From Sperryville: Take Rt. 211 East about 5 miles. Turn right onto Rt. 636, School House Rd, follow Rt. 636 around the elementary school and baseball fields. Turn right on Mary’s Way. Follow the driveway about 1/4 mile. Turn right into the winery parking lot.

There are also some commercially-organized meetings of potential interest to readers that will be conducted in Virginia in the coming months.


Three viticulture meetings are being offered by Jason Murray at Chateau O’Brien at Northpoint in Markham, Virginia (Fauquier County) as follows (one remaining meeting is shown here):

    1.  “Grapevine nutrition and late-season canopy management” will be offered on 30 June 2007 (10:00 am to 3:00 pm)
  The registration fee for each of Jason’s meetings is $95 per person and includes refreshments, lunch, and wine tasting. Registration and other information can be arranged with Jason Murray at (410) 598-4317, or

Jim Law, of Linden Vineyards (Fauquier Co.) has two meetings planned in June.

  •  “Getting a vineyard started” will be held on 23 June
  • “Vineyard Management” will follow on the 24th of June

Each of these meetings will be held at Linden Vineyards from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The cost is $150 per person, per session. See Jim’s website for program details and registration information (


IV.American Society for Enology and Viticulture Eastern Section Annual Conference and Symposium

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
July 15-17, 2007

The American Society for Enology and Viticulture Eastern Section’s annual technical conference and symposium will be held near Allentown, Pennsylvania on July 15-17.  The site for the meeting is the Holiday Inn Conference Center right in the heart of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail ( The Conference Center is conveniently located near the junctions of I-78, Rt 100, the PA Turnpike, and I-476.  A special ASEV-ES conference rate of $126/night is being offered (mention this when making your reservation). Book your room as soon as possible before the block of rooms expires. 

Day 1, Sunday, July 15 will feature a bus tour of four Lehigh Valley wineries.  Each visit will include a tour of the vineyard and winery and a tasting of their wines hosted by the proprietor.  Tour includes Pinnacle Ridge Vineyards, Galen Glen Vineyards, Vynecrest Vineyards, and Clover Hill. The all-day tour includes lunch and dinner.  Space on the bus tour is limited; sign up soon. July 16th and 17th are devoted to the ASEV-ES technical conference presentations. The theme for this year’s symposium is “Soil Moisture and Vine Vigor.”   Please see the ASEV/ES website ( to download registration forms, program details, and other conference information.

V. Vineyard Manager Positions Available:

Vineyard Manager:  Work at Ingleside in Virginia, one of East Coast’s most prestigious wineries.  Nearly 100 acres of mostly vinifera vines.  Join nationally recognized wine maker Bill Swain to produce world class wines. Contact Doug Flemer,

Winemaker/Vineyard manager:  Winemaker/Vineyard manager sought for growing winery in Bedford County VA.  Some hands-on experience preferred. Salary, benefits and living quarters are negotiable. Duties include everything from vine to bottle. We are a small but growing vineyard and winery interested in producing high quality wines, largely Italian varieties. Good position for ambitious and proud individual (come grow with us). Contact Norm; Phone: (540) 586-4066; Cell: (434) 258-3902; Address:  LeoGrandeWinery, 1343 Wingfield Dr., Goode VA 24556.

Vineyard Manager: Vineyard manager sought for Tarara Winery. Tarara is a 50-acre, family owned vineyard and winery located in northern Virginia whose focus is on quality. Duties include overseeing all vineyard activities including IPM, canopy management, soil and vine nutrition management, fruit quality management, new plantings, working with the winemaker to achieve desired fruit quality, and directing an outstanding vineyard crew.  Qualifications: Viticulture experience required, Spanish fluency a plus.  Salary based on experience. On-site housing available. E-mail resume to:

VI. Calendar of Regional Viticulture and Enology Events for 2007

This is an expanded listing of vineyard meetings, principally throughout the East, and assembled by Mark Chien of The Pennsylvania State University’s Cooperative Extension.

15 Virginia Vineyards Association’s summer social. Details will appear at VVA website (
18 Purdue Wine Grape Summer Workshop. Indiana. Location to be determined. For information go to
20-22 American Society for Enology and Viticulture Annual Convention. Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, CA. ASEV is the professional association of the U.S. wine industry. The focus is on viticulture and enology research with a large trade show. For more information, go to
23 Getting a Vineyard Started. Linden Vineyards, Linden, VA (
24 Vineyard Management. Linden Vineyards, Linden, VA. The focus on this session is the finer points of day to day management of a producing vineyard. Canopy management to impact quality and flavors is the main emphasis. Horticultural decisions such as pruning, training, pest management and vine nutrition are also covered (
15-17 American Society for Enology and Viticulture Eastern Section Annual Meeting. Holiday Inn Lehigh Valley, Breingsville, PA. This is an important opportunity for non-western states growers to hear the latest research results from their regions include student papers and Viticulture Consortium projects. Pre-conference tour of local wineries is available. For more information, visit the ASEV-ES web site at or call Mark Chien or Stephen Menke.
4 Winemaking Basics. Linden Vineyards. Linden, VA. See January 21 entry.
5 Advanced Wine Making Workshop. Linden Vineyards. Linden, VA. Artisan winemaking is covered in this seminar with time spent in the vineyard, cellar, classroom and tasting. Style and quality issues are the focus. Participants should have some winemaking experience or have taken the Winemaking Basics Seminar. Limited space. Pre-registration required.

Virginia Vineyards Association Annual Summer Technical Conference. Williamsburg Winery, Williamsburg, VA.  Pre-registration required. See the Virginia Vineyards Association’s web site to monitor details as this meeting develops ( Tentative topics include discussions on Pierce’s Disease management and vine water needs



"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

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