#246 - June 27,2013


What is a Customer?

A Customer: is the most important person ever - in person, on the phone, on the web, or by mail.
Customers: are not dependent on us. We are dependent on them.
Customers: are not an interruption of our work; they are the purpose of it. We are not doing them a favor by serving them; They’re doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.
Customers: are not outsiders to our business; they are part of it.
Customers: are not cold statistics, names on a filing card or a ledger sheet. They are flesh-and-blood human beings, with biases, prejudices, feelings, and emotions like our own.
A Customer: is not someone to argue with. Nobody ever won an argument with a customer.
Customers: are people who bring us their wants. It’s our job to fill them profitably.
From: Page 5 of Hummert’s Helpful Hints, 4th Edition Hummert International

Crop Load Management - To Thin or not to Thin, That is the Question?

How many clusters should I have on my grape vines? Good question. It varies by age of the vine, vineyard site, weather, cluster size, cultivar and individual vine vigor. This is the gray area of viticulture where art meets science. I don’t think we ever know what that perfect cluster number is. Only through experience and knowledge of our individual cultivars and site can be narrow in what that perfect cluster number per vine might be. Last year we were dropping some crop in response to the severe drought. This year we may want to reduce our crop loads to help hasten the harvest dates for a season in which bloom dates were 10+ days behind schedule. Over cropped vines tend to ripen later in the season.
The science of Cluster Thinning involves: the removal of all clusters during the first two non-fruiting years and removal of excess clusters during fruiting years to keep from over-cropping. Over cropping of young vines will reduce the size of their root system. Unless vines are very vigorous, fruit should not be retained during the first and second growing season. It is recommended to remove flower clusters early when the shoots are 12" long. If the vines exhibit a lot of vigor, a small amount of fruit can be left during the second season, but it should be only a few clusters per plant.
An early cluster thinning can be done when the shoots are about 12" in length for table grapes and some wine grapes that exhibit poor fruit set. This early cluster removal should increase fruit set and increase berry size. Early cluster thinning is not recommended for cultivars that normally set tight clusters due to the increased chance of tighter clusters causing bunch rots.
For mature winegrapes thinning shortly after fruit set can also increase cluster size and compactness. Waiting until 4-6 weeks after fruit set will minimize this plant compensation factor. This practice works well for tight clustered cultivars like Seyval, Leon Millot and Vignoles.
The following rules of thumb for after bloom cluster thinning can be used :
- Remove all clusters from shoots less than 12" long.
- Leave one cluster per shoot for shoots 12-24" long.
- Leave two clusters per shoot for shoots more than 24" long.
- Remove small or poorly pollinated clusters
- Remove late emerging clusters that probably will not ripen
- Remove small clusters on the distill end of shoots
A late cluster removal (green harvest) can also be done around veraison for a final crop load adjustment and promote ripening. Leaving a heavy crop load on very vigorous plants and then adjusting the crop load at veraison can be used to slow the growth of very vigorous plants. Removing all or most of the clusters on low vigor vines before berry set will help to increase vine vigor for future crops.
Cluster Wt.
Clusters Needed / Plant For:
5 lbs.
10 lbs.
15 lbs.
20 lbs.
25 lbs.
The chart above can be used to help determine how many clusters you want to retain per vine. It is taken from my Vineyard Pruning Cheat Sheet. This Cheat Sheet will give you approximate cluster sizes that can be expected for the different winegrape cultivars grown in the upper Midwest. This Cheat Sheet and my Canopy Management Concepts document can be found here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/wine/viticulture  mlw
FREE Midwest Wide CLASSIFIEDS for vineyards and wineries at Midwest Wine Press here:

The Good, Bad & Ugly attracts people from 5 states

The GoodThe BadThe Ugly
The Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute’s workshop, Introduction to Wine Microorganisms: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly took place at Iowa State University on June 11th. Kenneth Fugelsang, retired professor of Enology from California State University-Fresno, was the distinguished guest presenter. Twenty participants representing five Midwestern states gained hands on experience using microscopic examination and learned other classical techniques to identify common wine and spoilage microorganisms. Most importantly, those who attended returned home with plans of how to implement what they had learned.
focusing microsopesKen Fugelsang
(Above, left) John Larson, center, of Snus Hill Winery, focuses on a yeast culture.
(Above, right) Ken Fugelsang lectures on the importance of proper sanitation techniques.

Honeybees & Vineyards - Not a good idea!

honeybee on grapeDo honey bees help in the pollination of grapes? Not really. The French, American and hybrid grapes we are growing here in the Midwest are hermaphroditic. Hermaphroditic plants have flowers containing both male
and female working parts. The grapes we are growing here are self-fertile and gravity helps the flowers pollinate themselves. Some cross fertilization can occur with the help of wind. A very small amount may be pollinated by honey bees. There are exceptions to this rule. St. Pepin flowers are male sterile and require other pollen producing cultivars for pollination. Wild grape (Vitis riparia) plants are dioecious, meaning their male and female reproductive organs are carried on separate individual plants of the same species. The American Muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundifolia) of the southern and southeast U.S. have hermaphroditic flowers that can self-pollinate themselves, but cross pollination will produce a larger crop. All three of these exceptions require wind and/or insects for cross pollination and grape production..
Two other VERY good reasons for not having honey bees around vineyards would be:
1. Insecticide applications in the vineyard can be very detrimental to bees foraging for pollen and nectar in the vineyard.
2. Honey bees can become a serious nuisance when the grapes ripen at harvest.
Further Resources:
1. Pollination Biology of the Muscadine Grape, Hort Science 36(1):120–124. 2001:
2. Pollination Dynamics of Cabernet Sauvignon, 6-5-12 – The Academic Wino:

Wet Year – More Arial Roots

I have had a few people contact me within the last week or so about roots hanging down from the cordon on their vines. They are curious as to what they are and why they are showing up. This is my typical answer:
aerial roots on vine"Aerial roots typically show up when the grapes are growing under very wet conditions. Some of the literature indicates that cold damage may also be involved. I have only seen them under wet conditions. These aerial roots normally pop out at the base of green canes, on spurs or from dormant latent buds along the trunk. They really do not have any apparent function when hanging in the air and do not hurt the plant. There is no need to remove them. They often will end up just drying up over time."
(Above, right) Aerial roots on Leon Millot. David Klodd, Annelise Vineyard - Indianola, IA 6-26-13
Iowa has seen historic record rainfall amounts this year. This continued wet weather has taken a toll in many vineyards. Marginal poorly drained vineyard sites really stand out in wet years. Aerial roots forming on the trunk and cordon is one way the grape plant will respond to water saturated soils. The formation of aerial roots should be considered a notice to evaluate and/or improve the drainage profile of your vineyard.

2013 Intl. Cold Climate Wine Competition

International Cold Climate Wine CompetitionOpen to: Commercial wineries only, 31 different categories
Cost: $40 per entry
Online Registration: Starts Friday, May 17, and closes at 11:00 p.m. CST on Thursday, August 1. Pre-registered entries must arrive by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, August 5.
Competition to be held August 16, 2013
Sponsored by: University of Minnesota & the Minnesota Grape Growers Association (MGGA)
Ampelography: The botanical field in which grapevine varieties are identified, generally by using characteristics such as leaf morphology and berry color.

7-1 Deadline – Iowa State Fair Commercial & Amateur Wine Competition

Iowa State FairJuly 1st is the early entry deadline for the Iowa State Fair amateur and commercial wine competition. Late entries can be made from July 2nd to 8th for twice the regular entry fee. Amateur fees are $5 / $10 and the commercial fees are $25 / $50. Amateur entries need to be delivered to the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 22nd. The commercial entries need to the Iowa State Fairgrounds from July 15th -19th. Both competitions are open to only Iowa winemakers.

7th Annual Mid-American Wine Competition

Mid-American Wine Competition
Entry Deadline: June 28, 2013
Competition Dates: July 12, 13, 14, 2013
Cost: $25.00 Food/Wine Pairing Competition per entry
$40.00 Traditional Competition per entry
You may also be interested in knowing about the Food/Wine Pairing portion of the MAWCthat was featured last year in the Iowa Ingredient television series from Iowa Public TV. You can check out the 4:13 min. video here: http://www.midamericanwine.org/Pages/videos.aspx
Blind buds: Nodes on spurs or canes from which there is no bud development in spring.

7-13, Iowa Northern Grapes Project Viticulture Field Day

Northern Grapes ProjectWhen: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, July 13, 2013
Time:           Location and studies being conducted
8:30 am      Registration at Penoach Vineyard & Winery, 26759 N Ave (US Hwy 169), Adel, IA
9:00 am      Penoach Vineyard tour (Stan and Joanie Olson owners)
Frontenac and Marquette canopy management
Marquette crop load management
(Dylan Rolfes, graduate student)
10:00 am    Hickory Creek Vineyard, 23517 260th Street, Adel (one mile north and ¼ mile east of Penoach, Bill James owner)
La Crescent training systems & Crop Load Management
11:00 am      Travel to Snus Hill Winery, 2183 320th St., Madrid, IA (John & Diane Larson, owners)
12:00 noon Snus Hill Winery:La Crescent canopy management (Dylan Rolfes)
12:30 pm    Lunch at the winery catered by Hickory Park
1:15 pm      Frontenac training systems & crop load management
2:00 pm      Taste wines made from Minnesota selections in the NE-1020 cultivar trial (Paul Tabor, Tabor Home Vineyards & Winery)
3:00 pm      Adjourn
Comments: A rapid rise in juice pH during maturation coupled with the retaining of high levels of acids, high juice potassium, a different profile of tartaric to malic acid, and "herbaceous" characters have been issues in making wines from cold hardy northern grape cultivars with Vitis riparia parentage. These same characteristics have also been attributed to grapes from overly shaded canopies. The Northern Grapes viticulture team has undertaken studies to determine if cultural practices can improve fruit quality and winemaking potential of Marquette, Frontenac, and La Crescent grapes. Studies being conducted in Iowa include the evaluation of different training systems, canopy management practices to improve light distribution, and crop load management. The field day will tour these trials and you will have the opportunity to taste wine made by Paul Tabor from some Minnesota selections in the NE-1020 cold hardy grape cultivar trial. One of the selections is MN-1220 that the University of Minnesota is considering to name and release.
Registration: Contact Mike White mlwhite@iastate.edu or Ph: 515-681-7286 to register before July 8th.
Cost: $15 each if registered before July 8th, $20 for late registration.
Pay at the door.
USDA Note: The Updated Northern Grapes Project Iowa Research Report summaries can be found here: http://viticulture.hort.iastate.edu/research/research.html#northerngrapes

7-24, Wine Making Boot Camp – Aviston, IL

Where: Hidden Lake Winery – 10580 Wellen Road, Aviston, IL 62216 ph: 618-228-9111
Who:    Bradley Beam – Enology Specialist for the Illinois Grape Growers& Vintners Assn.
Chris Gerling, Enology Extension Specialist – Cornell University
John McClain of McClain Ozone
Topics to include:
Winery Tour with discussion of layout and processing equipment
Review of Cleaning and Sanitation
Ozone Demonstration and Discussion
Planning for harvest from a winemaker’s perspective
Harvest analysis and SO2 demo
Cellar movements – racking, pumping, effective inert gas application
Lunch will be provided.
Cost: IGGVA members $10/person, non-members $50 (includes non-voting IGGVA membership enrollment) 9
Please RSVP: no later than July 19 to bradleybeam@gmail.com . Cash and checks may be brought the day of the event. Make all checks out to IGGVA.

Notable Quotables

The first Minnesota winery opened up in 1977. Today there are 43 wineries statewide and it just keeps growing, according to data from the Minnesota Grape Growers Association.
From: MN: Wine Country Growing in Minnesota, 6-20-13 – KARE11 TV
"The results of this study were promising in that it appears as though the implementation of an Integrated Pest Management system in Sardinia, Italy has resulted in a marked reduction of pesticide residues in grapes and finished wines."

Neeto-Keeno WWW Stuff

1. Practical Farmers of Iowa 2013 Field Day Guide: http://www.practicalfarmers.org/assets/files/2013_PFI_Field_Day_Guide.pdf

Comments from Readers

We are considering purchasing a bladder press like the NIKO brand sold by St Patricks of TX. We would like to ask your readers for any feedback regarding this type of press, problems they may have encountered, best brands they may have found, best prices, best performance, etc. Would it be possible to pass our request along? They may reply to Darrell Morse at Breezy Hills Winery - our email is hillsideacres@msn.com .
Darrell Morse, Breezy Hills Winery - Minden, IA

Marketing Tidbits

1. Cool Tips on Warm Weather Shipping, 6-19-13 – WineDirect:
3. 18–29-Year-Olds Use Their Phones Totally Different From Older People, 6-26-13 – Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/survey-how-young-people-use-phones-2013-6?op=1#ixzz2XQVpOOr

Show n Tell

(Right) A new wine consumer organization has been formed in the U.S. Read all about it here in "Wine Consumers Want a Say in the U.S"., 6-21-13 – the drinks business:
NCREC vineyard
(Left) picture shared by Dr.Harlene Hatterman-Valenti of North Dakota State University after getting research vineyard established at the North Central Research Education Center (NCREC) at South Minot, ND. 6-19-13

Videos of Interest

1. MN: Wine Country Growing in Minnesota, 6-20-13 – KARE11 TV, 1:30 min.:
2. MO: Missouri Wines Celebrates Vidal Blanc, 2:16 min.
3. VSP Wire Lifting – Shoot Tucking, 5-4-11 – Terrapin Station Winery:

Articles of Interest

1. Updated: Top Wine Movies Worth Watching, 6-19-13 – Wine Folly:
2. IA: Japanese Beetles Begin Emergence, 6-20-13 – ISU Extension & Outreach:
3. MO: New Wine From Lost Vine in Missouri (Missouri Riesling) 6-20-13 – Wines & Vines:
4. Online lessons teach Spanish for the wine industry, 6-20-13 – Napa Valley Register:
5. CA: UC Davis investigates using helicopter drones for crop dusting, 6-23-13 – gizmag:
6. {Excellent Article! } MN: A serious local wine industry is taking root, 6-24-13 Twin Cities Business:
7. ‘American Wine’: A Much Needed Overview of what is going on in American wine right now, 6-24-13 – Los Angeles Times:
9. CA: Electronic nose detects pathogens and pesticides, 6-25-13 – Western Farm Press:
10. France: Worlds First Cola Flavored Wine Launched, 6-26-13 – the Drinks Business:

Calendar of Events

6-28, Deadline to enter Mid-American Wine Competition to be held, July 12 – 14th: http://www.midamericanwine.org
7-(1-8), Deadline for Iowa State Fair Amateur / Commercial Wine competition. 7-1 deadline is $5 / $25 and 7-(2-8) deadline is $10/$50 per entry. Two bottles per entry. In-state only. http://www.iowastatefair.org/competition/categories/
7-13, ISU Extension Northern Grape Project Vineyard Field Day – Adel & Madrid, Iowa. Contact Mike White to register: 515-681-7286 or mlwhite@iastate.edu
7-28, Minnesota Grape Growers Association Annual Picnic – Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery at Spring Valley, MN. http://mngrapegrowers.com/
7-31 to 8-2, 37th Society of Wine Educators Annual Conference, Renaissance Hotel at Sea World in Orlando, FL: http://www.societyofwineeducators.org/conference
8-12, 2 -7:30 p.m. Fruit and Vegetable Field Day, Horticulture Research Station - Ames. Sponsored in part by PFI and IFVGA. Registration is now open here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/article/2013-aug-12-fruit-and-vegetable-field-day
8-16, 5th Annual International Cold Climate Wine Competition. Details here: http://mngrapegrowers.com/competition
8-(8-18), Iowa State Fair Wine Experience Exhibit. Volunteer announcement will be sent out in July. http://www.iowastatefair.org/
8-26, Growing Great Fruits at Berry Patch Farm, Nevada, IA. Topics include strawberries, raspberries, apples, and blueberries. Details in PFI Field Day Guide.
9-(7-15), Clay County Fair will have a commercial vine/wine exhibit starting this year. Details later: http://claycountyfair.com/
9-10, U.S. Drinks Conference, Jacob Javits Center – NY, NY. Details: http://www.usdrinksconference.com/
1-(23 & 24), Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers Assn. annual conference – Ankeny, IA. Details later here: http://www.ifvga.org/
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Michael L. White - CCA, CPAg, CSW
ISU Extension Viticulture Specialist
909 East 2nd Ave. Suite E, Indianola, IA 50125-2892
ph: 515-961-6237, fax: 6017, cell: 515-681-7286
link to FaceBooklink to Twitter
NOAA precipitation map
(Above) 6-27-13 Year to date total precipitation – NOAA National Weather Service: http://water.weather.gov/precip/
NOAA departure from normal prdcipitation map
(Above) 6-27-13 Year to date departure from normal precipitation – NOAA National Weather Service: http://water.weather.gov/precip/
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