The purpose of this website is to give commercial wine growers in Pennsylvania and the non-western wine states access to current and relevant viticulture news, information, and events that will enable them to grow high quality wine grapes. It will be a source of locally produced materials but also a portal to the amazing wealth of viticulture information available on the internet. The resources that reside on this site are carefully selected by the viticulture educator. It is central to our extension mission to discover and transfer practical research-based knowledge to the grape growing industry, but we also seek the best new ideas and technologies from innovative grower/practitioners. We hope you will find it useful and we welcome your comments and feedback. Thank you for visiting and please return often for more news and information.
I welcome your comments and suggestions about this website. Please send your ideas for future topics and how cooperative extension can help you and your vineyard to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These organizations have generously funded the PA Wine Grape Network:
- The Pennsylvania State University College of Agricultural Sciences
- The Pennsylvania Wine Marketing and Research Program
Dominic Strohlein, Sarah Troxell, Alain Razungles, Denise Gardner and Mark Chien at the PQA wine making workshop
Cold: Surely you have noticed by now that we are in a cold winter pattern that places vines at risk, both for bud and trunk injury. Areas above the Mason-Dixon, but also in the Midwest, and of course, the Northeast, are likely to have some amount of cold injury. The experts for winter injury to grapevines are in Washington State, Ontario and other provinces, the Finger Lakes and New England. Dr. Jim Wilwerth (Brock Univ) and Dr. Kevin Ker (KCMS Consulting and Brock U) have released a series of three articles dealing with winter injury and its aftermath. I would encourage any grower who may be in a susceptible situation to review these articles, titled: Dealing with Cold Injury to Vines, Making Decisions after Winter Injury, and Strategies to Recover from Winter Damage. There is additional information on Kevin's KCMS website about winter injury research in Ontario. Click HERE for cold hardiness in grapevine research at Washington State University.
Grape Disease Information: Dr. Mizuho Nita, grape pathologist at Virginia Tech, recently gave two excellent presentations at a grower meeting in Chester County sponsored by Little Britain Ag Supply: Back to Basics - Phomopsis, Downy Mildew and Botrytis Bunch Rot, and Fungicide Trial Updates - Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew, Botrytis and Late Season Rots. Given the disease challenges of 2013, this would be a good time to review vineyard IPM programs, and consider new products and practices that are available. Viewing these two talks would be an excellent start to drafting an IPM plan for 2014.
Growing Fine Red Wine in the Eastern U.S. for those who have tried it know what a challenge it can be. Two great minds in viticulture, Dr. Alan Lakso at Cornell and Dr. Kees van Leeuwen at ISVV/Universitie Bordeaux engaged in a discussion about getting Cabernet Franc ripe in the Finger Lakes, which I tried to extrapolate to red wines across the region. The process requires some deconstruction of terroir in which two critical elements, soil moisture and nitrogen, affect vine behavior. It's a fascinating discussion for the curious and intellectual wine grower, and affects every vineyard for better or worse. Please read Is There a Formula for Fine Red Wine Production.
Articles about terroir explanation and analysis by Dr. Kees van Leeuwen: The Concept of Terroir in Viticulture, Journal of Wine Research, 2006; Influence of Climate, Soil and Cultivar on Terroir, Am J for Enol and Vitic, 55:3, 2004
E-Newsletter: Read about a new viticulture and terroir short course being offered in Bordeaux and upcoming meetings around the region in the most recent (1.9.14) viticulture e-newsletter Wine Grape Information for Pennsylvania and the Region.
- Penn State Viticulture Information Resources List: A-Z of books, web resources, consultants, education, associations and more for the serious wine grape grower.
- Information for beginner and prospective wine grape growers: 2013 new grape grower workshop presentations, commercial wine vineyard development guide and much more!
- 2013 NY-PA Pest Management Guidelines for Grapes: this is the bible for Eastern US grape integrated pest management (2014 guide will arrive in April)
- 2013 Wayne Wilcox Cornell Grape Diseases Update(3.4MB): the annual supplement to the pest management guide (the 2014 update will arrive in the spring)
- e-Viticulture (national online viticulture resources)
- Penn State Extension Enology: Denise Gardner offers resources for wine makers.
Mark L. Chien, Viticulture Educator, Penn State Cooperative Extension
Upcoming Events! Click on the EVENTS tab above to find a list of regional viticulture and enology events in 2014, then mark your calendars and watch for program and registration information.
What I'm Reading: I went to graduate school at UC-Davis and even then he was scary smart to the rest of us. Clark has made a name for himself as a technologist in the cellar, but it would be wrong and unfair to assign any simple label to him, especially given his vast experience and talent. At the moment, the romanticists (wine writers, sommeliers, retailers, etc) have captured popular opinion about the virtues of natural wines, be they organic, biodynamic or whatever the latest fad may be. Clark brings some balance and reality back to the world of wine, and that we are, after all, the wine "industry" and as growers and wine makers, should not be ashamed of what we do, or how we do it. I have found Postmodern Winemaking to be an fascinating and educational book, most of it is above my basic enological skill level, but I would highly recommend it to all commercial wine professionals, on both sides of the production and retail fence!
All wine regions have colorful histories and Eastern N. America is no different. Pioneers such as Philip Wagner and Konstantin Frank helped to build a wine industry from scratch after prohibition ended. For the past four decades Hudson Cattell has documented the growth of the wine industry, mainly through his Wine East magazine, which was essential reading for anyone growing and making wine. He is really the only person who could write Wines of Eastern North America: from Prohibition to the Present and a History and Desk Reference. This is the definitive guide to the evolution of the modern day wine industry and filled with interesting fact and stories that only Hudson would know. It is published by Cornell University Press and advance copies can be ordered at a discounted price.
If there is one book that can be called the foundation of a wine library it would be The World Atlas of Wine. The seventh edition by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson has just been released and is well worth adding to or update a library.
Featured Article(s): If you want to start a rumble among viticulture nerds, just mention the words vine density in their company, and debates of epic proportion will ensue, often quite passionate! This something we just can't seem to agree upon, though it has been studied and tested exhaustively. Some new wine growers seeking fine wines have opened this can of worms again, which led me back to a seminal research article by Cesare Intireri and Ilaria Filippetti called Planting Density and Physiological Balance: "Comparing Approaches to European Viticulture in the 21st Century" from the Proceedings of the American Society for Enology and Viticulutre 50th Anniversary Meeting in June, 2000. It will undoubtedly stir up conversation, but the science and rational is so sound, even the strongest proponent of 20,000 vines per hectare may develop some doubts. In the end, the authors seek vine balance, not at the expense of density dogma.
Featured Web Sites and Webinars: The Northern Grapes Project, a regional USDA Specialty Crop Research Iniative project directed by Dr. Tim Martinson at Cornell University has put together a series of practical grape growing and wine making webinars. Topics include grape ripening, managing healthy fermentations, and impact of crop load and trellis system.
The National Grape Registry is THE source of information about grape varieties, clones and rootstocks, and it tells growers which nurseries produce these materials. As a companion to Wine Grapes (Robinson, Harding, Vouillamoz) these are the definitive reference resources for the wine industry.
Previous featured websites: University of California Integrated Viticulture, Northern Grape Projects, Ontario Grape IPM, Virginia Vineyards Association Resources, Linden Vineyards (see vintage summaries and article archives), Texas Winegrape Network, Cornell Research, VinoVic.
Featured Extension Educator(s): Coming soon!
Previous articles (listed by topic):
Viticulture and Vineyards
- 2013 Vintage Summary
- Notes on Making Fine Red Wines in the Mid-Atlantic: visits to Black Ankle and RdV and notes from Eric Boissenot
- Growing Cold Hardy Hybrid Grapes: a visit with John Thull from Univ of MN
- Effects of rootstocks on vine balance: an amazing presentation by Dr. Jim Wolpert
- 12 Things Growers Hate to Do but Should Do (Chien, 7/13, .ppt, 1.5MB)
- Vineyard Site Selection in Vermont (Chien, 7/13, .ppt, 4MB)
- Growing Fine Wine in the East: more questions than answers (Chien, 7/13)
- Eichhorn-Lorenz phenological growth stages: the 47 steps from bud break to leaf drop
- Finding my Terroir: Jim Law of Linden Vineyards talks about 30 years of farming the same site
- Vine size, vigor,capacity, balance and crop level: a presention by Dr. Alan Lakso, Cornell Univ.
- Galen Glen Defies the Odds: a review of Galen Glen Winery in the Lehigh Valley
- Xavier Chone and Jim Law Terroir Workshop at Blair Vineyard (Lancaster Farming article)
- Predicting Harvest Yield in Juice and Wine Grape Vineyards (5.2MB). Sabbatini and Howell
- Viticulture Notes by Tony Wolf: a summary of vine density and balance (see pg 7 vineyard design)
- James Stamp Seminar Notes: starting a vineyard with healthy plant materials
- Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, a definitive guide to over 3000 varieties
excerpted key portions from John Gladstone's Wine, Terroir and Climate Change
- Vine Size and Balance: this relationship may be the key to fine wines
- John Gladstones Wine Terroir and Climate Change Review: viticulture and the environment
- What's in Your Soil: vineyard soil and nutrition from Jodi Creasap-Gee at Cornell
- Vineyard labor: Amish workers in the vineyard
- Here We Go Again 2012: tips for the new vintage
- Early Bud Break: a summary of bud break and using oil to delay it
- Crop Estimation: how to properly estimate and manage the grape crop
- Post Harvest Checklist: what to do after harvest is over
- Bon Courage: 2011 vintage review by Jim Law at Linden Vineyards (call Mark Chien for a copy)
- Short Season Viticulture in Cool to Cold Climates: how to grow grapes in a cool to cold place
- Tents and Tunnels: protecting the grapes from frost, rain, freeze and getting them ripe
- Plastic Viticulture: a novel ideal to protect vines from the elements
- Daniel Roberts: one of California's premier viticulture and soil consultants
- Rhone Rangers in NYC: a look and tasting of Rhone wines
- Grape Diversity is the Spice of Life: there's a grape for every taste
- Cabernet Franc: a collection of articles about Cabernet Franc
- The Problem with Pinot: why is Pinot Noir so hard to grow well
- Pinot Noir in Eastern N. America: a regional view of the grape and wines
Diseases, Insects and Pests
- 2013 Grape IPM Workshop Presentations
- Insects and mites 2012: update from Greg Loeb, Cornell entomology
- Spotted Wing Drosophila: What we Learned in 2011: an update from Kathy Demchak
- Bird Management
- Vineyard Problems: Grapevine Yellows and Crown Gall-problems in eastern vineyards
Reports from the Field
- Cold Climate Hybrid Viticulture and Wines in Vermont (Chien, 7/13)
- Steep Terrain Workshop in Virginia (Chien, 7/13)
- Erie: a viticulture tour of the Lake Erie region (Chien, 7/13)
- Update from Oregon: vineyard visits and Oregon Low Input Viticulture and Enology (4/13)
- Virginia Governor's Wine Summit: the state of Virginia wine
- Napa Notes: a visit to Napa in August, 2012
- A Viticultural Tour to the Santa Cruz Mtns and Santa Rita Hills (2012)
- The Long Road to an Identity: Blair Vineyard in the Lehigh Valley
- The Vineyard at Grandview: A Developing Success Story: starting a new vineyard just right
- The Wines of Southwest Pennsylvania: a viticulture and wine making tour of SW PA
- Finger Lakes Notes: great white wines, and some fine reds in a cool region
- Notes from Long Island: great wines and people on the north and south forks
- A Long Island Odyssey: viticulture and wine notes from a visit to Long Island
- Ontario vines and wines: notes about the wine industry in Ontario
- Notes from Canada: viticulture notes from Atlantic Canada
- Notes from British Columbia: wine growing on Vancouver Island and the inland desert
- A Morning with Daren Miller: wine growing and making in Bordeaux
- American Society for Enology and Viticulture Eastern Section 2013 conference summary
- Fifteen Years of Vine Growth Studies in Concords: Lakso and Eissenstat
- Bibiana Guerra Viticulture Research Abstracts: current viticulture research translated for easy use
- Wolpert and Yuste Viticulture Seminar: Jim Wolpert from UC Davis and Jesus Yuste from Spain
- Selection of 2011 ASEV-ES Abstracts: eastern viticulture research for growers
- Collateral Damage: the loss of USDA Viticulture Consortium is a major blow to regional research
- Wine Glasses and Benchmark Wines: the importance of using a good glass
- A Wine Recovered: Brad Knapp saves a wine at Pinnacle Ridge Vineyard
- Biodynamic wines: notes from the Return to Terroir tasting in NYC
- Remington Norman Notes: Viticulture notes from his new book about Burgundy
- The Making of a Chef: learing to cook and much more at the CIA
- How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto: NY Times wine writer Eric Asimov talks and reminisces about wine
- Beginning of Viniculture in France: Pat McGovern explains how wine arrived in France