HCC Research Vineyard Observations (5-12-14)

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Several interesting observations this week.  Some are excellent news, and others are somewhat unexpected and unfortunate news.  Going by the color photos in the second illustration on this website: http://i3dviticulture.pbworks.com/w/page/32285544/Growth%20Stages (the graphic was produced by Michigan State University), I noticed that many varietals have begun the process of growing the “Immediate prebloom” flowers which I’ll denote with “IP” in this entry.  I’ll also list the number of vines with leaves or recently broken buds of the original 12 planted.  The order of the listing is the order planted in the vineyard which isn’t alphabetical:  Concord (12, IP),Jupiter (6, IP), Mars (12, IP), Neptune (2, IP), Suffolk Red (12, IP), Vanessa (12, IP), Cabernet Franc (0), Chardonnay (2), Gruner Veltliner (1), Lemberger (2), Riesling (2, IP), Zweigelt (2), Edelweiss (12, IP), Frontenac (12, IP), Frontenac Gris (12, IP), Lacrescent (12, IP), Lacrosse (12, IP), Marquette (12, IP), Brianna (12, IP), Chardonel (3, IP), Chambourcin (5, IP), Cayuga White (11), Corot Noir (12, IP), Fredonia (12, IP), Marechal Foch (12, IP), Geneva Red (12, IP), Glenora (8, IP), Leon Millot (12, IP), Marquis (12, IP), Melody (12, IP), Niagara (12, IP), Noiret (11, IP), Norton (11, IP), Regent (12, IP), Rougeon (12, IP), St. Croix (12, IP), St. Vincent (12, IP), Seyval Blanc (11, IP), Steuben (12, IP), Traminette (0), Vignoles (12, IP), Valvin Muscat (4), Vidal Blanc (0).

A lot of numbers to read through.  Here are a few observations.  The vitis Vinifera are not doing so well.  That is not completely unexpected given the harsh winter, but perhaps it’s too early to judge since they are not accustomed to this climate.  Time will tell.  The Chardonel and Chambourcin are also struggling.  They are planted in the same row and are surrounded by thriving vines.  Perhaps there is something in that row?  Both are grafted to 3309 rootstock, so perhaps something there is causing the issue.  Perhaps the valve controlling water in that row malfunctioned last year?  Hard to say.  Traminette, Vidal Blanc and Valvin Muscat are all on the edge of the field.  Perhaps there was some chemical drift?  Perhaps the soil there is poor?  Perhaps something else is going on that I’m not seeing?  They all did great last summer/fall, so it’s something of a mystery at this point.  Finally, the table grapes Jupiter and Neptune are not doing very well either.  They are in adjacent rows in the vineyard.

Generally speaking, over 95% of the vines showed excessive vigor and tremendous growth in the first year.  It is worth noting that we didn’t officially list any observations last year knowing that much of the growth in a first-year vineyard is the result of nursery conditions as much as on-site conditions.  However, one thing that is worth noting is that the Seyval Blanc vines are now producing huge numbers of flowers.  Last year the Seyval produced a heavy crop of berries which were stripped off in early July.  Upon returning to the vineyard after harvest we found another entire crop of Seyval berries had developed.  Of course, those were immediately stripped off as well.

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