Growing Rondo Grapes

Serving Growing Ohios Grape and Wine Industry

Last January, January 6ththe official day of the polar vortex we experienced really damaging temperatures.Anywhere from around twenty below zero to about sixteen below zerowhere it killed the fruiting buds and it killed actual grape vines.And we've never experienced any damage like this before.And we've never we really didn't know the extentof the damage on the vines until April May in that time frame when we didn't see anybuds developing and even some of thetrunks cracked.

But the impact of that was dramaticwe have no crop at all in our vinifera and we grow varieties like Chardonnay, PinotNoir, Cabernet Franc, Rieslingand without any grapes, we were forced to buya lot of grapes. But it's had a huge impactas far as the grape production not to mention the actual wine losswhich is two or three years spanning. Because in some of the vineyardsthat will have to be replaced from the ground up

with new vines we will not get the first crop is three to four years out.So the impact is just dramatic and millions and millions of dollars.Actually in the viticulture program at Ohio Stateone of our focus of the research is cold hardiness of grapes.So really that's one of my expertise in this fieldof learning more about how grapes cope with freezing with cold in general.After this cold event our growers really needed a lot of help in terms of how to not onlyassess

the damage but also how to deal with the vinesthat are damaged. And we conducted a lot of workshops just toshow them how to prune the vines. Our relationship with Ohio State goes wayback in the 1980'sWe've had a long standing relationship with ongoing research in the wineryand in the vineyards. Currently with Imed Damiour research stems lately from the cold winter vortexwhere we've had a lot of the vines killed and damagedfrom the minus twenty degree temperatures.

Current research is kind of involved tothe extent of the damage to determine the actual damage andto have pruning studies done to see what was the best way to prunethese injured vines. We have not had temperatures that coldsince 1994 here and myself and a lot of the grape growershave not experienced this cold damage. So we need research to help uskind of figure out what's the next step and see what our future is in these vineyards.

Wijngaard Dassemus Tasty Tales

We are in Chaam, at Dassemus Vineyard. To be precise: we are also in Dassemus,the little hamlet near Chaam. Chaam may be known, worldfamous even,for its bicycle race called the quot;Acht van Chaamquot;. and now for the wine that originates there. I started out studying mathematics at Leiden University,so quite something different. As a way of release, I used to do sports,at first a little and later on a lot. I really enjoyed the exercise outdoors. Trained a great deal,had a really good time and seen a lot. Then the time comes when all that ends,and you go searching for something new, a new challenge.

I wanted something outdoors and, yes,that's what we found here in this vineyard. In fact, every year we are working towardsthe 'great match' of harvesting grapes. It is very exciting and similar to topclass sport. Initially, it was a hobby: just 20, 30 vineson our vegetable plot. and we did a course in the Netherlands.All well and good, but still a bit amateurish. And then a large piece of land became available,so we could expand a little. We started with 1 hectare,which can still be considered a hobby. That is about 20 hours of work per week,so it's possible to do that alongside a job.

But in order to learn the tricks of the trade of winemaking. I went to Germany to be trained as an apprentice. It seemed more efficient to me than doing all kinds of courses. There I really saw what this trade entails. And then there is that moment when you say:quot;This is going to be it!quot; But the question is, of course,if it is at all possible in the Netherlands, too. We now have about 18 varieties here.Those are varieties that are known to be mouldresistant. We want to work organically here,we just don't want to use chemicals.

That means you automatically end up with resistant varieties,and you can't grow Riesling or Pinot Gris grapes. That is why we have varieties likeSolaris, Rondo and Johanniter. We've also won silver and bronze medals. Of course that is nice, and it showsthe public at large that you deliver good quality. But our aim is simply to make very good wineand for people to enjoy that wine. I must admit I am rather proud that we grow grapes without using chemicals. something that is impossible according to many people. We don't use any chemicals at all here,and yet we've managed to make very good wines.

And that is just great. No doubt there will be problems ahead.We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. But in principle we can makevery good wine our way. And those vines are still relatively young.Things will only get better in the years to come.

Leave a Reply