Concord Grapes Region

Caring for Young Grape Vines

My name is David Handley, I'm with the Universityof Maine Cooperative Extension, and we're here to talk about how to prune and traina young grapevine. This is a vine that was planted last spring. We got it from a dormantplant, or rooted cutting, and you can see the original part of the planting right here.This is what we got from the nursery, with a good root system under it. We planted it,and we had a bud break and some vine growth. This is last year's growth right here. Thiswas a green shoot. Typically, you may get more than one shoot developing. You may haveseveral buds on here. We want to prune this back to one strong vine, your strongest one.We're going to arrange for that to be tied

up to a trellis, because this particular vineis what's going to become our permanent trunk, or the permanent part of the plant that'sgoing to be with us for the life of the planting. We want to make sure it's the strongest ofthe vines that we can choose from. Any other one that developed that's very weak, we canjust cut that out, select our best one. The time of year to make these cuts are whenthe canes are dormant, and this is going to be really any time after the new year, untilthey bud out in late March, early April. We hope in the first year that we get enoughgood growth that we can tie it to the lower trellis wire.Typically here in Maine, we're going to be

pruning to either a four arm kniffin trainingsystem, or an umbrella kniffin training system. Those trellises consist of two wires, oneset at about two and a half feet, and a second wire set at about five feet.We hope in the first year that we're going to get enough good growth to reach at leastthe bottom wire, but in order to make sure it's growing straight, you can see we supportedthis with a small bamboo pole. Any kind of planting stake will work, and we just tiethat vine up as it grows, rather than let it grow along the ground where it can getrot problems, and not develop a nice straight growth like we want. We tie it up, just likeyou'd tie up a beef steak tomato, get the

growth that you want.As I said, we've got pretty good buds here, reaching up to the first wire. You can seethat I actually make it to the top wire, but you can see the growth up here is very scrawnyand spindly, and isn't really going to lead to a good, strong trunk. I'd rather actuallystart new growth for reaching to this top wire for next year.What that means is that I'm actually going to cut this off here, rather low, to try toget this bud here to break and give me a much stronger shoot to develop my trunk to thetop wire next year. I can just take that there, and then, instead of using the bamboo polethis year, I can just tie it to the wire.

This bud will hopefully break, and give mea good, strong shoot, that I'm going to reach the second wire next year. Of course, thesebuds lower down will also break, and if this one happens to be weak, I may select one ofthese. But, if this bud does turn out to be a strong shoot, I'll be cutting these offnext winter and getting my single trunk back up to the top wire.Next year, when this does reach the top wire, eventually what we'll be doing is taking oneyear old cane, and either draping it over this top wire and connecting it to the bottomwire in an umbrella kniffin, or we'll be taking one cane at the top wire on each side, andone cane at the bottom wire on each side,

to create four arms of one year old growth,for a four\uc0\u8209 arm kniffin system. Both systems work pretty well for concretetype grapes here in a cold climate like Maine.

Cold hardy grapes feed local wine industry

We are at the University of Minnesota Horticultureresearch center, at the Minnesota LandscapeArboretum and this is where we conductour grape breeding. We are primarily focused onwine grapes and making wine in Minnesota is arelatively new venture. We have been at that since 1978 and have introduced fourvarieties so far: the Frontenac,

Frontenac Gris, LaCrescent and Marquette. And these varietiesreally form the backbone for the local wine industryin our state and also in the surrounding region. A study was done in 2007,which is the latest study that we actually have, whichshowed that there are probably about 1,200 acres ofgrapes now in the state and the contributionto the economy was

about 36 milliondollars back in 2007. So that is kind thescale we're on right now. Usually I would say in thelast several years we have been adding about 3 to 5new wineries per year. Our varieties of cold hardygrapes are grown really all across the northern tierof the United States from the Midwest tieracross to New England. There are wineries fromMaine, New Hampshire,

Vermont down throughConnecticut, Massachusetts through parts of New Yorkand Pennsylvania Michigan, Wisconsin all that grow andrely on the varieties of grapes that we have developed here atthe University of Minnesota. Woodland Hill Wineryis familyowned and we take extreme pride inour wine and our experience. We grow two differentvarieties of Cold Hardy grapes. We grow the newestvariety called Marquette

and that we make our Vinny'sred from, which we named after our dog, and thenwe have La Crescent, which is our largest plantingthat we have in our vineyard. You can always look at aU of M cluster and kind of know it is a U of Mgrape by this trailer that comes off the side. Very pretty. They all have that littlesecond; more so pronounced

than other grapes that we grow. When we didn't have all theU of M varieties and stuff to work with, the wines weremaybe not quite as exceptional as they are now and so we as anindustry in Minnesota have had to kind of battleour way out of that. And you know on a dailybasis people are like wow, ya know, this is really good. Myself and others havewon awards, you know,

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