How To Grow A Concord Grape Vine

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.

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.

Pruning grape vines in Minnesota

gt;gt;TOM VAN DER LINDEN: It's spring in Minnesota,a great time to prune grape vines. Proper

pruning of grape vines means better grapes.And better grapes mean better wine. We'll cover basic pruning for a northern climate.For details on how to prune for your climate, check with your state university extension. Year one, we take the initial shoot and wetrain it into a trunk. Year two, we pick two healthy shoots and we train them to our trellis.We'll take the two healthiest shoots and train them on the trellis to form a cordon. We'llprune off the other shoots leaving just the trunk and the cordons. To review quickly,our first shoot we train into a trunk in year one, then in year two we take our two bestshoots and we train them to the trellis to

make cordons. Year three, the trunk of our vine is gainingstrength and circumference. We have cordons that are now trained to a trellis and offeach cordon we have new shoots. Toast yourself, you've learned three new terms.We have trunk, cordon and shoot. Now we'll learn three new terms, and then we'll moveon. The top of a trunk where it stops is calledthe head of the vine, and this vineyard for this particular grape the head is about fourfeet off the ground. You'll see vineyards where the head is higher or lower dependingon the use of the grape, the kind of trellis they're using. So it'll be okay to have differentheights.

In spring, a new green shoot grows from ourcordon. And now after the leaves have fallen in the fall, the shoot becomes a cane. Forspring pruning, we're going to take last year's cane, and when we clip it again, it will becomea spur. Working on a little older vine, here's thehead and the nice, thick trunk. We have a cane, and then a spur, and then a cane, andthen a spur. Don't worry, you'll soon get the hang of it. Taking a closeup look, we have the cordonhere, and we have a shoot from last year coming off and we need to shorten the shoot now inspring to make a spur. so that we can control

our fruit load. Let's count buds: we havea bud here, we have a bud here, we have a bud here, and we have a bud here, and so forth.On some varieties, this bud close to the cordon is not fruitful so we won't count those buds.We'll count first a bud here and a bud here and make our cut out here. In other varietieswe will need to count this bud as one, two, and we'll make our cut here. Whatever youdo, you'll want to keep good records so when you go back into your vineyard you can seehow the fruit responded to your pruning. So let's count the buds on this cane. We haveone, two, three buds, and we're looking for two. So we have one bud, two buds, and weclip there.

We need to prune this vine to control boththe fruit load and the sun exposure. It's important in a northern climate to get goodsun exposure on your grapes so that they ripen fully. This is a Frontenac vine that's growingand the cordons are growing along the upper trellis wire. So let's estimate the fruitload on this particular vine. We have seven fruiting spurs on each cordon, and each spurhas two buds. Now each bud will produce two clusters of grapes. We can look up the grapevariety we're growing and we can find out what an average cluster will weigh. In thiscase, they will weigh about four ounces. First, simply convert pounds of grapes toounces. Next, divide number of ounces by the number

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