HCC Research Vineyard Observations (6-9-14)

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Not a lot has changed since walking through the Research Vineyard last week.  We spent quite a bit of time training the vineyard as it is all second-year vines.  Most everything is up to the wire now.  A couple of standout exceptions that seem to pretty low in vigor (excluding the dead vines!) are Cayuga White and Regent.

The numbers of vines that survived (and didn’t) hasn’t changed in a couple of weeks, so I’ll refrain from reporting all of those numbers again this week.  Since these vines are only second year, we’re not allowing any of them to produce fruit.  So there is no report about disease, cluster/berry sizes, etc.  We’re dropping 100% of the fruit on the ground.

One thing that is noteworthy is that we’ve received excessive amounts of rain the past couple of weeks.  Over six inches!  That’s a lot of rain, even if we weren’t feeling effects of years-long drought.  With the late freeze (May 16) and the damp, rainy summer so far it will be interesting to see how the fruit-bearing vines in our Oregon Trail Vineyard will fare.  We’ve certainly been on top of our spray schedule with all the moisture.  At last glance, it appears that our Chambourcin vines have generally the usual fruit load, but Traminette may be a little light.  Time will tell.

I also thought it would be fun to include a snapshot from the Research Vineyard showing the difference between the vinifera vines and the adjacent rows.  From left to right (with surviving numbers in parenthesis), the varietals are Chardonnay (4/12), Lemberger (4/12), Zweigelt (6/12), Frontenac (12/12), Lacrescent (12/12), Marquette (12/12, endpost not in photo).  Also note, the vineyard consists of half-rows.  The six varieties at the far end of the row are not the same as the six at the near end.  ((The photos are small here.  Click on the photo to zoom in.))

 

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Here is a shot of the same rows from the other direction, from right to left: Cabernet Franc (0/12), Gruner Veltliner (1/12), Riesling (3/12), Edelweiss (12/12), Frontenac Gris (12/12), Lacrosse (12/12, endpost not in photo).

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HCC Research Vineyard Observations (6-2-14)

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After mowing the vineyard yesterday, we had a very nice 1.13″ rain last night.  The vines look very pleased today.  Some have clearly entered the “grand period of growth” as they have exploded since last week.  The Leon Millot is the most vigorous of the vines with shoots of 5 or more feet!

Last week I eluded to the problem with making observations after the training crew has been through the vineyard (i.e. all of the flowers were plucked).  I beat the crew this week.  Except for those slow starting varietals (or those that aren’t alive), nearly every varietal has blooming flowers.  Those with leaves and no flowers observed today are Jupiter, Mars, Chardonnay, Lemberger, Glenora, Niagara, St. Croix, Stueben, and Valvin Muscat.

There are eight varietals with less than half of their vines with leaves of the 12 planted last year.  Not surprisingly, the vitis Vinifera are not faring well including Chardonnay (4), Lemberger (4), Cabernet Franc (0), Gruner Veltliner (1), and Riesling (3).  The Zweigelt has exactly half of its vines with leaves (6, not exactly a success!).  Hybrids not faring well are Neptune (2), Chardonel (6), Chambourcin (3), Noiret (7*), Traminette (1) and Vidal Blanc (1).  I think the Chambourcin and Traminette are the biggest head-scratchers as they generally grow well in Kansas.  In fact, the college 0.5 acres of both varieties in another vineyard just 6 miles north, and they’re doing quite well.  The asterisk from the Noiret denotes that 11 of the vines had leaves just a few weeks ago, but four of them have not yet recovered from the May 17 freeze event.  Those four vines have brown, dead leaves with no green pushing as of today.

While mowing vineyards yesterday, I noted in the Oregon Trail vineyard six miles north of Wamego that none of the 25 Cabernet Franc vines (planted in 2012) have not yet broken bud.  Also, only half of the 5th year Chardonnay vines have leaves, and roughly one-third of the 5th year Riesling vines have no leaves.  Indeed, it was a hard, cruel winter.

Ending on a fun note, I’ve included a photo of a leaf from a Jupiter vine.  There are other vines in the vineyard with large leaves like this one, but this is the first vine I observed today and was pleasantly surprised in the growth since last week.  Enjoy!

Jupiter leaf 6-2-14