News Archive

Northern Grapes Webinar Series

Register NOW for the Northern Grapes Project Webinar Series final webinar to be held on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017. Matthew Clark, John Thull and Jennifer Thull from the University of Minnesota will present Introducing Itasca – Minnesota’s new cold-hardy white wine grape. Webinar information is at http://northerngrapesproject.org/northern-grapes-webinar-series.

20th Nebraska Grape and Wine Conference: A Smashing Success

Attendees at the 20th Annual Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Forum and Trade Show held March 2-4, 2017 found that the program was beyond their expectations, noting that it:

  • Was highly educational
  • Had great and knowledgeable speakers
  • Provided lots of take-home messages
  • Was full of valuable information, and
  •  “Useful to enhancing my enterprise”

Read the entire article in the March 2017 Nebraska VineLines.
Conference presentation PDF files

Recipe to Reality

“Recipe to Reality” seminar at the University of Nebraska Food Processing Center will be on April 1, 2017. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. Registration deadline is March 15, 2017. Contact Jill Gifford at 402-472-2819 or jgifford1@unl.edu for an information packet.

Northern Grapes Webinar Series

The Northern Grapes Project provides monthly, one-hour webinars covering topics on growing, producing and marketing wines made from cold-hardy Northern winegrape cultivars. The final webinar for this academic year will be April 11, 2017. Webinar information is at http://northerngrapesproject.org/northern-grapes-webinar-series.

Fall Workshop to focus on herbicide drift

November 2016

The Fall Workshop was held on Nov. 5, 2016 at the Southern Heights Presbyterian Church, corner of Old Cheney Road and S. 40th Streets, Lincoln, Nebraska. Problems associated with herbicide drift and volatilization and the impact on Nebraska and Midwest vineyards was the primary focus of this workshop. 

Sponsored jointly by the University of Nebraska Viticulture Program and the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association, topics included discussions on whatsteps to take if a drift event has impacted your vines, possible remedial measures and the roll of the Department of Ag and what they can do for you. 

This was an especially timely event—be sure to review the presentations!

Presentations

July 16 Viticulture Field Day Wrap-up

July 2016

Mechanization and More Viticulture Field Day a big success

It's harvest time!

The time of the year that we’ve all been waiting for and working toward is either rapidly approaching or now upon us. Many Nebraska vineyard managers are looking at a good-to-great crop. Unfortunately, a few have vineyards that have been decimated or destroyed by hail or wayward herbicide drift, and to those we offer condolences with hopes for a better year in 2017. Read more.

Grape Insurance

This is the link to the 2015 Presentation by Patrick Laird. To provide clarification about cultivars (“varieties”), we list several under each category.

Grape Insurance

List of potential grape cultivars for Nebraska

Grape Cultivars for Nebraska

Foliar Fertilization of Grapevines

August 2015

By Peter Christensen, Extension Viticulturist, The University of California Kearney Agricultural Center
Applying nutrients to the foliage is widely practiced in fruit crop production. In many instances it may not be providing any benefit except to the manufacturer and dealer. So, when is it effective and economical? The literature is full of reports on foliar fertilization studies. This article brings some of the information to light in hopes that it will lessen the confusion, mysteries, and expense of this practice.
Viticulture Summer Field Day well attended despite hot temperatures

June 2015

Nebraska VineyardEven with a heat index of 105 plus degrees on July 11, 40 people attended the Eastern Nebraska Viticulture Field Day at Eric Nelson's Oak Creek Vineyard near Raymond, Neb. Vineyard Manager Scott Dvorak and University of Nebraska Viticulture Program Professor Paul Read, Research Technician Steve Gamet, and Doctoral Student Ben Loseke hosted the event. Read more. 


Northern Grapes Project Newsletter

June 2015
Check out the latest Northern Grapes Project Newsletter! Highlights include articles on wine tannins, impact of spring frost damage in Michigan, and results from the Northern Grapes Project Baseline Survey.

19th Annual Winery and Grape Growers Forum and Trade Show 

March 2015

Plans are going forward to negotiate returning to the Omaha Marriott for our 19th Annual Winery and Grape Growers Forum and Trade Show March 3-5, 2016. Although plans are not totally firmed up as of yet, we recommend that you save the date: MARCH 3-5, 2016.

Famed enologist, Dr. Murli Dharmadhikari, headlined the wine and winemaking part of the 18th Annual Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Forum and Trade Show held at the Omaha Marriott, March 5–7. Jerry Lohr, South Dakota native and owner of J Lohr winery in California, was the Awards Banquet speaker. Doniella Winchell, Executive Director of the Ohio Wine Association, spoke in the marketing and promotion arena and Andy Allen, Chair of the Viticulture and Enology Program at Arkansas Tech University, was the featured viticulture speaker. Each of these speakers are well known to the Midwest grape and wine industry. Alternative, Marketing, Viticulture and Winemaking presentation files are now available. 

November 2014

Disease and Pest Management Workshop Presentations

Brazilian Fruit Production
Disease Identification on Nebraska's Major Cultivars
Fungicides Pre-Harvest-Entry
Grape Lecture
Issues and Concerns About Diseases

March 2014

17th Annual Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Forum and Trade Show presentations

National Clean Plant Network for Grapes: What it is Doing for You? PDF
Mechanization in the Vineyard PDF
Canopy Management for Promising Hybrid Grapes PDF
Delay Of Bud Break on ‘Edelweiss' Grapevines with Multiple Applications of Amigo Oil and NAA PDF
Leading The Way an update on Sustainable Viticulture in Nebraska PDF
What's new in the grape and wine program at the University of Minnesota PDF
Safety Consultation PDF
Mulches & Groundcovers for Sustainable Vineyard Floor Management PDF
Vineyard Site Selection PDF

November 2013

2013 Fall Viticulture Workshop

CSU Wine Faults 1 of 3
CSU Wine Faults 2 of 3
CSU Wine Faults 3 of 3
NE CO QA Program Update
Quadrilateral VSP 2013

August 2013

The 2013 Harvest Field Day at Kimmel Orchard in Nebraska City was a great success. The 30 attendees enjoyed great weather, lunch and conversation. Dr. Read did informative presentations on "Crop Estimation and Adjustment", "How To Use A Refractometer to Measure° Brix", and "Canopy Management." There was also a lot of discussion on Herbicide Drift, how to recognize it and what to if you observe it in your vineyard. The success of the workshop has to be the participation in discussions with all the attendees, their great questions and input made it one of our best Field Days.

Brix Testing
Canopy Management for Hybrid Grapes
Cluster Weights
Crop Estimation & Adjustment
Water Management for Grapevines
Grape Fertilization & Nutrition

Read

Dr. Paul Read, UNL Professor of Viticulture, addresses the Harvest Field Day attendees at Kimmel Orchard in Nebraska City on August 10.

Read

Dr. Paul Read explains the history, layout and research of the Kimmel Research Vineyard at the 2013 Harvest Field Day.

April 2013

As the vineyards are becoming a new addition to the beautiful Nebraska landscape, Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association started a resourceful newsletter for our new "vineyard neighbors". They are giving us a written tour of the new landscape, and providing a lot of tips for the growing season. Our readers can enjoy this delightful newsletter by clicking on the link: Living Near A Vineyard 1.

Happy Spring!

February 2013

The U.S. National Wine Competition is open for entries!  This competition focuses on all U.S. grape varieties (native, hybrid, vinifera) and regions.  The deadline to enter has been extended to March 28, 2013, with judging on April 9-10, 2013.  For details, visit the website at: http://www.winecompetitions.com/ and click on the red, white and blue US Wine Competition logo.

January 2013

The 16th Annual Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Forum and Trade Show was held at the Kearney Holiday Inn from Feb. 28-March 2, 2013.

Below are PowerPoint presentations from the event:

Canopy Management for Promising Hybrid Grapes
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Fundamental of Viticulture Handout
Future of Midwest Wine Industry
GGD Nebraska
Growth of the Iowa Wine Industry
Northern Great Plains Variety Selection (zip file)
UNLV Research 

Sept. 19, 2012

Examine Site Conditions Before Embarking in Viticulture by Dr. Paul E. Read.

June 22, 2012

Foliar Fertization of Grapevines by Peter Christensen, University of California, Kearney Agricultural Center.

April 12, 2012

Comments on Frost and Vineyard Management when Cold Temperatures are Expected

I am posting comments that Mark Hart and Peter Hemstad made to the Minnesota Grape Growers listserv. I feel that they are right on target, so rather than paraphrase their comments, I am putting them on our web site as they have sent them (with their permission). Peter asked that I include a caveat that his comments are not aimed at the bud break delay work that Seth McFarland and our grad students (Issam Qrunfleh and Ben Loseke) have been doing, which he considers good work.

I suggest reading Mark's and Peter's comments and take them to heart. Happy Frost Dodging and best wishes for a bountiful crop!

Dr. Paul Read, Professor of Horticulture/Viticulture, University of Nebraska
(402) 472-5136

Mark Hart's letter:

I had a couple inquiries in private about frost protection that I think stemmed from things I and others have said in the group.

The first item would be frost protection using cryoprotectants, or products you spray on a vine prior to a frost event that are supposed give the vine extra protection during a freeze event.

The short answer is that there is little evidence from scientific trials that these work.

The way a scientific trial works is that the products of interest are compared side by side during a real freeze event and compared to control vines in the same location that have had no treatment. As you might imagine, these studies are a little hard to do, the research has to be set up and waiting for a somewhat rare event to occur. Since each freeze event is different in its nuances (duration, rate of cooling, humidity, etc.); the results seen in one set of circumstances might not be the same in a different freeze event. The field studies that have been done mostly show little positive benefit from these products. There are very few recommendations to use these products from the research/extension community.

How can this be? If you go to any vendor/mfg website they are full of charts and graphs and testimonials about the positive benefits of their product(s). Because real world freeze events are rare, most vendors test their product on potted plants in freeze chambers. Those conditions do not mimic what is seen in the real world, and products that have performed well in these controlled conditions have rarely had similar performance in the field. Humidity in control chambers (and California) is generally much lower than what we see in the Midwest during freeze events. Every time I track down the details behind the testimonials, very few of the growers left a control area in their planting that was untreated, so the comparison the grower uses to evaluate the performance is to prior freeze events or to other growers in the general area. Again the variability between events and locations makes evaluating success on these bases pretty tenuous. If you Google search these products you will often find many examples of growers reporting failures - those don't show up in the marketing material.

If a grower applies one of these products, I strongly encourage them to leave a few representative vines (same variety, same frost exposure) untreated so that they can compare apples to apples when evaluating effectiveness.

There is some science that shows that plant tissue has different freeze tolerance based on its condition, and that those conditions might be able to be changed by adding something from the outside - so there is science that fosters hope for effective products, but field trials suggest that does not translate well to growing situations.

Another aspect is spraying vines with cryoprotectants prior to bud break. This really is moving further from reality. IF these products worked, the basis is usually that the spray gets absorbed into or onto the green tissue to protect it in some way. Prior to bud break, there is not direct access to the green tissue, a product would have to be absorbed in some way to even have a chance of success. Dead bark and bud scales are very effective at NOT allowing that kind of absorption. That is why they are effective at protecting the plant tissue. We spray systemic herbicides (like Roundup) on our vines at this time of year. If those herbicides were absorbed through the bark, the vines would die. Those sprays use all types of surfactants which would enhance absorption, but the vines survive. Any cryoprotectant you spray on a vine before there is green growth is going to have the same degree of absorption.

Use your money wisely.

The other issue I want to discuss is site selection. If you go to an area like Europe where they have grown grapes for 100's of years, you will notice that vineyards are primarily in places that minimize the frost potential. Success and failure (selection) have worked over time to produce that pattern. In the North American Midwest our industry is young, and I don't think the site selection lesson has sunk in in our industry yet.

As I look at the temperature reports come in I see some vineyards report temperatures that are 5-8 degrees above or below the temps recorded at the nearby airport station. Airport stations are usually flat locations that are neither in deep valleys or ridgetops and have an average temperature for the surrounding area, so that suggests that within a fairly small geographic region there is about 5-10 degree variance in the overnight lows that are encountered. Growers need to exploit these mesoclimate variances and locate vineyards where the frost risk is low. Site selection is the number one tool in frost avoidance.

Once you have a vineyard in place, planted at a cost of $10-15K/acre, it is very difficult to decide to move, so site selection really needs to be impressed on potential growers at the start of the process.

Hope everyone gets through the cold.


Mark Hart
Mt. Ashwabay Vineyard & Orchard
Bayfield, WI USA


Peter Hemstad's letter:

I would just like to encourage everyone to take Mark's comments to heart because I think he is absolutely correct with his analysis of the situation. Cryoprotectants are unproven and are unlikely to work. Growers who swear by them have very seldom left any untreated vines as a control. Without a control you have no idea if your buds survived because you sprayed them with a particular product or if they would have survived anyway.

Mark's comments about site selection are also right on the mark. Site selection is by far the biggest factor in whether you are going to have frost issues year in and year out. If you are planting a few vines as a hobby then plant them wherever you want. But if you are planting a commercial vineyard then you really need to optimize your site selection. Basically that means plant them on high ground or don't even plant them. It's as simple as that. Here at the HRC we are on high ground and we have had very little frost damage over the past 25 years. I can thank whoever picked this site back in 1908 for that! The only frost damage we ever really run into is on the very lowest parts of our vineyards, areas I was reluctant to plant into to begin with because of their potential for frost problems. This past week we had a low temp of about 24 degrees on both Monday and Tuesday nights and fortunately almost all our buds seem to have survived. If you have a good site you can rest a lot easier when these frost episodes arise.

Peter Hemstad
Research Viticulturist
University of Minnesota

March 16, 2012

The mild winter and unseasonably warm weather may bode ill for the Nebraska grape and wine industry. Early bud break can produce shoots from primary buds that are extremely vulnerable to damage if a cold temperature (frost or freeze) event occurs. Of course we all know that we can't alter Mother Nature/weather characteristics, but I thought repeating some information that has been presented at various workshops, conferences and elsewhere might be helpful.

The potentially serious problem noted is not just worrisome to Nebraska growers, but the possible problem of early bud break followed by a cold weather event is of great concern in most of the East and Midwest, since similar weather patterns are being experienced throughout the region.

Some of our growers are familiar with the work of Dr. Imed Dami (now at Ohio State University) and his colleagues where they have used sprays of a vegetable oil product (Amigo Oil) to delay bud break. In their work, 'Concord' was the most responsive, while the response of other cultivars to Amigo Oil applications varied greatly depending upon cultivar. Research work done at UNL by recent PhD student, Issam Qrunfleh has demonstrated bud break delay in 'Edelweiss' of from 5 to 7 days resulting from sprays of 10% Amigo Oil or 1,000ppm NAA (naphthaleneacetic acid). Likewise, Seth McFarland at Mac's Creek Vineyards has achieved good bud break delay by use of sprays of Amigo Oil on the Mac's Creek Vineyard grapevines.

A synopsis of Dr. Dami's work and that of others, along with some additional observations has been sent to New York growers by Hans Walter-Peterson, Cornell University viticulture extension specialist, in which he addresses these concerns. I am attaching his write-up in hopes that it will be of interest to Nebraska growers and others accessing the University of Nebraska Viticulture web site. Additionally, the proceedings of a conference held in Missouri following the disastrous Easter Freeze of 2007 can be accessed here.

Perhaps we will be lucky and not experience extremes of damaging cold following an early bud break, but I'm not holding my breath. If such problems occur, some of the information noted in the Missouri proceedings will be helpful. Please feel free to call or send emails to further discuss this potential problem facing our grape and wine industry. Good luck!

Dr. Paul Read, Professor of Horticulture/Viticulture, University of Nebraska
(402) 472-5136

2012 Conference Information

Presentations

Craig Romary:

Grape Forum

Horst Caspari:

Cold Hardiness

Evaluating Bud Damage

Quadrilateral VSP

Re-Training & Winter Pruning Options

Colorado Grape Industry: Lessons for Nebraska 1/2

Colorado Grape Industry: Lessons for Nebraska 2/2

Paul Read:

Western Nebraska Grape Project '01-'10

Beginning Viticulture

Steve Menke:

Blending as a Process

Quality Control Points

Sample Theory and Fruit Analysis

SO2 Acid Sorbate Considerations

Wine Laboratory Manual

Regional Style Definitions

Col.–Neb. Wine Quality Assurance Initiative

September 22, 2011

Machine Harvest Field Day Impresses Growers

Attendees at the Machine Harvest Field Day at Ida's Vitas Vineyards on September 19th were heard to say "you need to see this machine in action to really appreciate how effective it is, how it actually works!" The South Platte Grape Growers demonstrated the Korvan 3216 grape harvester to an appreciative audience that learned about the advantages (and challenges) of machine harvesting, including labor saving and timeliness of harvest.

Machine Harvester