Pruning Grape Vines In Cold Climates

This article will shed some light on how pruning your grape vine can help you to escape or prevent early frost from devastating your upcoming grape crop.

It is not question of IF you should prune your grape vine or not; it is a question of WHEN you will prune your grape vine.

As we all know by now (so I hope); pruning is one of the most important manipulation you as a grape grower needs to do.  Without pruning your grape vine the correct way, you simply cannot expect your grape vine to produce healthy, good-looking grapes; even any grapes at all!

One of the main reasons so many grape growers fail to have a proper grape crop, is their ability to prune the grape vine the correct way.  Now, the question I normally get is:  “What will happen if I don’t prune my grape vine.

Without pruning your grape vine, there will be a huge amount of buds that will sprout in spring – having up to 300 buds on such a grape vine is not impossible.  As you can imagine, for a grape vine to produce energy or carbohydrates to feed all of these buds, will put your grape vine under a huge amount of stress. 

This brings us to what I want to share with you in this article. 

It is a known fact that a grape vine under stress, is much more susceptible to cold damage than a well structured and previously pruned grape vine.

Your grape vine will come out of dormancy, once the average temperature outside rise to about 10 to 12 ºC or 50 to 53 ºF or if you prune your grape vine or use rest breaking agencies like Dormex (a chemical used by commercial grape growers to force the grape vine out of dormancy).

In the northern hemisphere, and where spring frost is a problem, cold damage after pruning your grape vine or after the first signs of new shoot development (bud break), can ruin your upcoming grape crop and therefore you need to protect these buds at all cost.

Bud break on grape vines

Except for having a cold hardy variety, one of the best ways to protect your grape vines from spring frost, is the timing of when you will prune your grape vine and how you will prune your grape vines. 

Pruning too early will result in your grape vine to come out of dormancy earlier, and therefore increasing the chances of spring frost damage.  On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, you don’t want your grape vine to go into bud break with too many buds! 

You must be thinking:  This guy must have gone nuts! How on earth is that possible?  I know, but give me a chance to show you a neat little trick you should be doing if you live in an area with spring frost problems.

It is called “brush cut” or “first prune”:

“Brush cut”, is the process of removing all unwanted canes from the grape vines, leaving only those canes that will be later on pruned to cane bearers or spurs.  This should be done before the buds on the grape vines show signs of swelling (normally about 3 weeks before spring, depending on your climate off course). 

During “brush cut”, the number of buds on the grape vine will be reduced significantly and more carbohydrates will be available to the buds on the fruiting canes of the grape vine.  In same cases, when your grape vines grew very vigorously the previous season, the length of fruiting canes can be pruned back as well, making the number of buds on the vine even less, but I suggest you leave the fruiting canes alone and do not prune them.

Now, once spring is on hand, buds on these fruiting canes will start to swell and drop their scale leaves from the end of the cane (bud break will start from the tip of the canes).  The buds on the base of the cane will remain dormant longer, and once the chances of spring frost is over, you simply prune the canes to the desired length (8 to 12 buds for canes bearers and 3 buds for spurs), even if you have to wait until the buds on the base of the cane opened as well.

Because there are only canes left of the vine that will be used to bear fruit, “brush cutting” will take much less time than normal pruning methods.  Just remember one thing; be careful not to damage the remaining buds once you do “brush cutting”, as the scale leaves that protected the buds will be soft and spongy.

This method of pruning will hugely improve your grape vines resistibility to cold damage and could save your complete grape crop! 

Thanks for reading and I sincerely hope that this article will help you in the future.

Take care,

Danie

 

P.S.:  Did you like this article?  For more expert advice like this,  join The Complete Grape Growing System today and start growing your grape vine like a seasoned PRO!

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Late Harvest Grapes

Hi friends, I hope everyone is settled in, after the holiday season and ready for 2009.  Here in South Africa, we started harvesting our grape crop a week or two ago (at last!).  It looks like a good, healthy crop and we are looking forward to another exceptional quality year.

Talking of grape quality, I want to share a little secret with you that will improve the quality of your next grape harvest – I suppose after this post, it won’t be a secret anymore:-)

Sam (a members of the Grape Growing System) from the USA send me an email a few weeks ago, asking about these small bunches that appeared late in the growing season in her vineyard.  Her concern was that they are well behind the actual crop (ripen much later) and back then, with the end of the growing season just around the corner, they will not fully ripen – (she managed to grew some awesome grapes I must ad.)

It took some effort to convince Sam to remove these “late harvest” bunches, as they are so lovely to look at.

 

The reason you should remove these “late harvest” bunches is quite obvious, if you look at it from viticultural perspective.

From what you have learned this far and from what I teach in the Complete Grape Growing System; there is limit to how many grapes a specific grape vine will fully ripen and still produce top quality grapes – off course this depends on your climate, soil, variety and trellis system.

Say for example your grape vine will fully ripen 20 bunches of grapes that will ensure a good berry size and quality grapes, then early in the season, these little “late harvest” bunches normally isn’t counted as they were very small and were “hiding” behind the leaves in the canopy.

Once they get bigger, they will start to compete for food and this will negatively influence the main crop on your grape vine.  I know, the temptation will be there to leave these “late harvest” bunches on the vines, but if you are looking for top quality grapes (as you should), then removing these bunches will for ensure much better quality (size and sugar) grapes.

I found that after harvesting their crop, most grape growers never even bother to remove these bunches from the vines.  What will eventually happen is that these bunches will rot and remain on the vines until late in fall and then fall off.  The question is: “Where do all the fungus spores go to?”  Off course they will remain in the soil and when the temperatures rise in spring and the conditions favour the development of fungus spores, they WILL infect your next crop.

Vineyard sanitation is an unknown and one of the most underestimated practices for most new grape growers.  Infected soil, canes and leaves on the ground are the main sources for problems with gray and black rot in the future – remember this.

If didn’t have enough grapes on your vines, then having a “late harvest” crop will sooth the soul, but it is important to always remove ALL of the left-over grapes from the previous season.

I hope this tip will improve the quality of your next crop!

Take care, and talk to you soon.

Danie

P.S.:  Did you like this tip?  There is much more to growing grapes!  Come, let me take you by the hand and show you that YOU too can be a successful grape grower.  Join our elite group of grape growers by signing up for the Complete Grape Growing System.

For a once-off payment of only $29 you get everything you will ever need to know about growing grapes, plus get two pruning videos absolutely free.

Buying Grape Cuttings

What does it take to grow excellent quality grapes (wine or table grapes) in your backyard?  Having excellent quality grapes don’t just fall from the sky; there are a few key things you as a new or seasoned home grape grower must always keep in mind and one of the most important is having proper planting material.

I know this is problem for many grape growers.  In some countries, getting your hands on good planting material, is very hard and sometimes impossible.  Being able to grow buy grapes from a nursery makes it much easier, but you still need to ensure that the planting material you are about to buy is of good quality.

First of all; get the name of the variety you are buying because this will most of the time determine how you will prune and manipulate your.  Choosing the right variety for your climate is very important.

Now, what to look for when buying grafted cuttings:

1.      Make sure the graft union has healed properly and that there are no openings between the rootstock and the carrier.

2.      Make sure the union is strong by slightly bending the grafted vine – don’t over bend it, it will break. If the union didn’t attach well, it will brake easily.

3.      The rootstock must have well developed, strong roots, with no signs of defects.

4.      Take a look at the bark of vine, it should be undamaged with a dark brown color – not black as this can be an indication of some fungus spores (from the previous year)

5.      The canes of your vine should have grown at least 8 inches the previous year and preferable there should be more than on cane.

6.      No visible roots should come from the graft union – if there are roots, remember to remove them before planting, otherwise your vine loose its resistance to diseases inside your soil.

 

Grape Vine Cuttings

 

 

When buying grape vines in a planting bag:

1.      Because you cannot see the root development of the cuttings inside the bag, you must ensure that the canes that developed the previous year well developed.

2.      Never take the cuttings from soil in the planting bag; keep the root-ball intact and do not remove any soil around the roots of the cutting.

3.      Make sure make a large enough planting hole to accommodate the entire root-ball.

When buying two year or older grape vines:

1.      All of the above is just as important for buying older grape vines.

2.      Prune back the vine to ensure proper root development.  The roots will most probably go into a state of shock, just after planting the new vine and will not take up any water or minerals for a week or two.  Therefore, the lost of moisture through leaves and shoots should be minimized.

When taking cuttings from another vine:

First, during the winter (just before spring), when it is time for pruning the vine, cut eight to ten shoots of the previous years’ growth from the vine. If possible, take cuttings after there has been enough cold weather to kill any diseases there might have been and to give the canes time to ripen (mature).

The best cuttings are from the base of the cane, near the older stem. Each cutting should have 6 to 8 buds and should be approximately 12 to 16 inches long (figure A), with several nodes (places where buds are located). Avoid cuttings where the wood is soft and spongy and has large piths. Do not use too thick or too thing cuttings; I would say not thinner than a normal pen and not thicker than say one and a half times the diameter of a pen. 

REMEMBER the vine knows the top from the bottom, so make a square cut at the top, about an inch above the bud and a skew or slanted cut at the bottom, right beneath the bud, so you know which way is up.

No matter what type of propagation material you will use, just make sure, it is virus and fungus free planting material and that the roots and canes are in good health.

Starting a grape vine with proper planting material is the key to having a great looking young vine that will reach the trellis wires in no time.  There is no use in preparing your soil the right way, constructing a canopy support or trellis, laying out irrigation system, if you don’t have good quality cuttings.

 

Get all the info you need to grow your grape vines like a seasoned pro by joining the Complete Grape Growing System Membership Site.  For only $29, you get free instant access to all the information PLUS 2 videos to show you how to prune a spur and how to cane prune your grape vine.

Merry Christmas Grape Growers

Can you believe that 2008 is almost something of the past?  With Christmas just around the corner, I want to take this opportunity to wish every reader of my blog and every member of My Grape Vine, a festive holiday season and a prosperous 2009.

Thanks for being part of My Grape Vine and for help building one of the best Grape Growing Communities on the entire Internet.  Without you guys reading my newsletters and blog posts, there is no use in writing here is there?

I really hope that each and every one of your dreams may come true in 2009 (and that you will grow the best looking grape vines there is :-) )

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Growing seedless grapes

I often receive questions about growing seedless grapes.  With this article, I will try to clear up some of the mysteries of growing seedless grapes.

Where do seedless grapes come from?

No one really knows for sure where seedless grapes first came from, or when it was first grown, but it is believed to be from a mutation that happened several thousands of years ago, in what is known today as Afghanistan.  The grape vine that mutated, produced grapes without any seeds.

Now the question is, how did they reproduce this grape vine?  The most obvious answer would be that cuttings or shoots from this grape vine, where planted in several different locations in this area.  These new grape vines also produced seedless grapes and from there the whole seedless grape industry has its origin.

How to grow seedless grapes?

The only way you can grow seedless grapes is if you can get some buds, canes or cuttings from another grower or nursery, who has seedless grapes.  Because seedless grapes have no seeds, they cannot be reproduced with seeds (obvious, isn’t it? J).

The variety, Thompson Seedless or better known as Sultana or Green Sultana, has been around for years and is probably the most well known variety in the world.  The problem with most seedless grapes, like Thompson Seedless, is that they naturally produce very small berries.

The export market or fresh fruit market the past few years, became such a competitive environment, that growers needed to up their game in producing better looking, sweeter grapes with larger berries.

Allot of research, and off course money, was spend on finding ways to grow better quality grapes without loosing the natural characteristics and taste of the grapes.  Cultivation practices, the introduction of natural growing hormones like Gibberellic Acid  (GIB) and CPPU and reducing crop load to optimize berry size, all contributed to producing the best quality Thompson Seedless and many other seedless varieties, that has ever introduced to the market.

For any grape grower or grape lover to “really” understand and know what effort and how much money goes into producing seedless grapes, with a berry size of +- 21mm or 13/16 inches, isn’t that easy.  Growing seedless grapes of this quality takes time, allot of risk and some really good viticultural knowledge.

These are Thompson Seedless grapes on my farm

How seedless are seedless grapes?

In the early years, and even with some varieties today, it was found that many of the so called seedless varieties, actually have vestigial seed traces.  Normally these seeds have a soft seed coat and most of the times you wouldn’t even notice it, while eating the berries – this will differ from variety to variety.

Can I grow seedless grapes?

In the past, most of the seedless varieties wasn’t cold hardy enough to withstand harsh winters conditions, but with excellent breeding programs and allot of scientific experimentation, new seedless varieties where specially bred for these condition.  Varieties like Canadice, Einset Seedless, Reliance, and Vanessa are just some of these varieties.

As far as viticultural practises, most small vineyard owners and new grape growers find it very hard to produce really good quality seedless grapes.  This off course will change as you learn more about growing grapes and how your grape vines adapt in your climate.

While learning to grow top quality seedless grapes, you could make mistakes that will cost you your crop.  As said earlier; it takes time, it pose some risk and takes knowledge, believe me.

Let me give you an example.  We use GA (Gibberellic Acid remember?) to help on the natural thinning out of Thompson Seedless on my farm.  The rule of thumb where we live, is to spray 3 thinning out sprays of a 10, 10, and a 20 ppm (particles per million) GIB.  This year however, the weather was so bad (the fluid remember?), during flowering that we knew for certain that the Thompson Seedless will abort much harder.  I changed the recipe to 10, 20, 10 ppm and had great results.  This off course comes with years of experience and some good faith!

With extremely dry and hot conditions during flowering, the grape vine tends to abort berries much quicker.  You therefore kneed to know how your grape vine would react to certain weather conditions.

Growing seedless grapes can be a rewarding experience, as this is the most sought-after grapes in the world, but it’s not the easiest grapes to grow.

Good luck and if you haven’t tried growing seedless grapes, you will never know if you will succeed, would you?

Take care

Danie

Get all the info you need to grow your grape vines like a seasoned pro by joining the Complete Grape Growing System Membership Site. 

For only $29, you get free instant access to all the information PLUS 2 videos to show you how to prune a spur and how to cane prune your grape vine.

Please note, that the Complete Grape Growing System is an online product that you need to download to your PC. 
There is no physical product that will be posted to you.  The great thing is you get instant access, no matter where you live or what time it is;  even if it is 2am in the morning!

When To Stop Watering Your Grape Vine

Before you read any further, I want you to understand that this blog post is a guideline only.  What I will do, is to recommend what you should do with post harvest irrigation, and since the messo and macro climate of each region differs, you must adapt what you learn here, to suit your own needs.

I will start by saying that many grape growers stop watering their grape vines, once the crop was harvested – BIG MISTAKE!.  Ask yourself this question; “Why would you stop watering your grape vine?”  Because there are no fruit on the vine anymore?  Is it only the fruit that use water?  Certainly not …

If you think back at how you watered the grape vines in spring, with the fist signs of bud break, you probably started watering the grapes because you know the vine will start to use some water.  Back then, there were no visible grapes on the vine, and the roots of the grape vine just came out of dormancy.

Without digging too deep into the subject, it’s just logical that you will that your grape vines will become more stressed and the need for water will increase as the average temperatures rise, the shoots from the vines grow longer and the canopy area increase in size.  The increased temperature and canopy size will result in higher transpiration figures and the vines itself will use more water as the grapes start to develop and gain in size.

Now, after you have removed the grapes, the vines will have much less stress and at the same time the need for water will slowly decrease.  The important thing to remember is that the grape vine don’t stop using water after you harvested the crop – it only needs less water.

As fall approach, the days will be getting shorter and the average temperature will start to drop.  The grape vine will get ready for winter and starts going dormant, but still the vine is active!

The key thing to remember here is; that the longer you can keep the green leaves on the vine, the longer carbohydrates will be assimilated.  And for this to take place, the grape vine needs a source of energy – water.  The longer the assimilation of carbohydrates take place, the better the shoots of the grape vine will ripen, making the grape vines more cold hardy.  I’ve heard of people in cold climates who strip the leaves from the vines to prepare it for winter – this is NOT recommended.  In fact, your grape vines will be less cold hardy if you do so.

This however is not true in tropical climates.  Remember, that in the tropics, the daily average temperature will not drop low enough for the vines to go dormant and it is a well known practice that in these climates, grape growers remove the leaves from the vines to “force” the grape vines to go dormant.

To sum up what I’ve just said, have a look at the following graph.  This shows a pattern or curve of when the grape vine needs most of it’s water.

This shows a drastic increase in the water usage and a decrease once the grape crop has been picked.

Don’t stop watering the grape vine after harvesting the grapes, slowly cut back the water until the vine is fully dormant (normally the end of fall).  When the vine is fully dormant, it needs very little water and 90% of the time, you don’t need to water the grape vines during dormancy – except if you have very dry winters.

I hope this article makes sence and you now understand why post harvest irrigation is VERY important.

Take care,

Danie

Get all the info you need to grow your grape vines like a seasoned pro by joining the Complete Grape Growing System Membership Site. 

For only $29, you get free instant access to all the information PLUS 2 videos to show you how to prune a spur and how to cane prune your grape vine.

Please note, that the Complete Grape Growing System is an online product that you need to download to your PC.  There is no physical product that will be posted to you.  The great thing is you get instant access, no matter where you live or what time it is;  even if it is 2am in the morning!

Sunburn Scald On Grapes

Those of you who are members of the Complete Grape Growing System will know, I often speak of sunlight penetration into the grape vine.  Most new grape growers I met don’t really understand or take note of the importance of having enough sunlight inside the vine.

Now when I speak of sunlight, I don’t necessarily speak of direct sunlight but more about the UV rays of the sun, as direct sunlight can damage grapes.  Not all grape varieties are susceptible to sunburn, but there are a few varieties that really can’t take any direct sunlight, especially if you live in an area where the summer temperatures reach the high nineties (ºF) or high thirties (ºC).

To protect these grapes from sunburn, you need to have a well-planned vineyard, a well-developed canopy, a practical but effective trellis system, proper canopy management and also some knowledge of when and what grapes are most vulnerable to sunburn.

The layout of the vineyard:

Properly laying out the vineyard will ensure that during the hottest time of the day, the leaves on the canopy will protect the grapes from hanging directly in the sun.  Many factors will determine the “perfect” layout of the vineyard; things like the path of the sun in your area, the topography, slope, over shading trees, prevailing winds, altitude and even the variety.

The trellis system:

Having a trellis system that expose as many leaves possible, to direct sunlight is ideal, but at the same time, that trellis system should allow you to train the grape vine so the canopy will also protect the grapes from direct sunlight.

The canopy:

As said so many times before; managing the grape vine’s canopy is one of the most underestimated cultivation practices when you grow grapes.  You MUST do canopy management, no matter what variety you grow, if it is for wine or table grapes, or where you live.

You must know when to tie down the shoots, when to pull leaves, when to open up the canopy to allow direct sunlight to penetrate the row and how to manage a too vigorous grape vine.

Grapes are most susceptible to sunburn from pea-size to just before veraison (colouring).  During this stage you must ensure your grapes are protected.  Handling or touching the grapes of susceptible varieties during this stage should be minimized.  Naturally, the grape berries have a was layer to protect them from sunlight and diseases, but will rub off when you touch the berries, making it more susceptible to sunburn.  Please note, that is only true for really sensitive varieties, the less sensitive varieties can be handled during this time of the growing season.

Here you can see the sunburn on the grapes because of a poor canopy on this vine

Opening up the canopy for direct sunlight to penetrate the vine is well known practice throughout the world and will do wonders for the colouring and ripening of your grapes, BUT it needs to be done at exactly the right time.

When your grapes start to turn colour, the sugar content within the berries will increase and the acid levels will start to drop.  During this stage, the grapes become less susceptible to sunburn but is not sacred from sunburn, so you must still keep the grapes protected.  Opening up the canopy at this stage is done by pulling more leaves or on the gable trellis system I use on my farm, it can easily be done by removing (pruning) overlapping shoots from the top of the structure like in the picture below.  This will create a 5 to 8 inch tunnel where the sun can shine through. 

Variety:

It’s a known fact that most of the white grape varieties are more susceptible to sunburn than the black or purple varieties are.  Whether it is because you can more easily see the sunburn damage or if it is a genetic thing, doesn’t matter.  I found that white grapes that hang in direct sunlight can suffer what I call sugar stains (like in the picture below).  The fact is; if you grow a white grape variety, you need to take special notice of this article.

Right, I hope you’ve learned something from this article.

Enjoy the day and happy grape growing!

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Get all the info you need to grow your grape vines like a seasoned pro by joining the Complete Grape Growing System Membership Site. 

For only $29, you get free instant access to all the information PLUS 2 videos to show you how to prune a spur and how to cane prune your grape vine.

Please note, that the Complete Grape Growing System is an online product that you need to download to your PC. 
There is no physical product that will be posted to you.  The great thing is you get instant access, no matter where you live or what time it is;  even if it is 2am in the morning!

Grape Growing – The Climate

It seems like I’ve touched a nerve with yesterday’s post about Global Warming.  Got some really aggressive replies!  Anyway, let’s look at what the ideal climate for growing grapes is – with or without global warming  😉 ….he he

The ideal climate for growing grapes can be devided into three components:

  • The messo climate
  • The micro climate
  • The macro climate

In this article I will mostly focus on the macro climate; the one that will determine if your climate is suitable for growing grapes or not.

The messo climate:

The mesoclimate describes the climate within smaller areas such as a region or valley. The climate conditions of a mesoclimate is normally calculated over shorter periods of time (using hourly data) and is influenced by the topographic factors of elevation or altitude, slope inclination and aspect, and proximity to bodies of water.  Within a grape-producing region, the mesoclimate of a specific vineyard site has a profound influence on susceptibility to spring freezes and the ripening of your grapes.

The micro climate:

In short,  the ideal microclimate is the climate immediately within or surrounding your grape vine canopy and differences occur within a few meters / centimeters and minutes or seconds.  It is influenced by the vigor of the grapevine, irrigation, soil management, how you manage the canopy of your grape vine, the row orientation you use, the row spacing etc. 

The ideal micro climate influence how successful you will grow grapes, as this will determine the vine’s health and productivity, but will also improve grape quality.  Unlike the messo and macro climate, the micro climate is something we have 95% control of and this is where the importance of using the correct viticultural practices comes in (the one’s I teach in the Complete Grape Growing System).

 

The macro climate:

The macro climate describes the climate of a region, extending over hundreds of kilometers (e.g. the South Western Cape where I live) and is studied over a long time-period (usually 30 years or more), using annual, seasonal or monthly data. The macro climate is influenced by the geographic location (latitude) and proximity to large, climate-moderating bodies of water. The weather may differ from year to year, but the climatic situation over a long period of time is relatively stable in terms of temperature and rainfall patterns.

Various factors, combining various climatic components like minimum temperature, maximum temperature, rainfall, humidity, sunshine duration etc., may be used to describe the viticultural potential of a macro-region. Some use monthly data or daily data only, while others are a combination of different scales (daily with monthly data). They are usually summed for different periods of time (growth season or whole year), but can also use a single month. They are established for a specific country or region, and then may be adapted to other regions or used for a systematic global classification of the climate.

The length of the growing season of grapes differ from variety to variety and studies shows that at least 170 days of active, frost-free, growing is needed for grape vines to ripen a crop (remember, this figure will not be same for all varieties). But not only the length of the growing season is important; the heat accumulated during the growing season will determine if your grape vine will successfully ripen the grapes or not.

You will have to find out how many days of full sunlight with a temperate above 10°C or 50°F is measured where you live. This is called the GDD or “growing degree days”. Studies made on the physiology of the grape vine, determined that the grape vine is not very active below these temperatures.

The GDD is measured by using the following formula:

(HT + LT) / 2 – 50°F or -10°C=GDD *

HT = highest temp; LT= lowest temp

By adding up all the GDD points, you can measure your regions suitability for growing grapes and should be more than 2000 GDD (Fahrenheit) or 1200 GDD (Celsius) points. The closer your macro climate is to these numbers, the more suitable it will be for growing grapes.

As said earlier, the macro and messo climate cannot be changed, but the micro climate is the one you have control of.  Use this advantage to grow your own grape vines more succesfully, even if your messo and macro climate isn’t 100% ideal.

For help with creating the perfect micro climate, get the Complete Grape Growing System for only $29!

Global Warming And Growing Grapes

This is a question I often ask myself: “How will global warming effect my grape business in the future?” I know there are some of you that think this whole “global warming” thing gets way to much attention and there is nothing to worry about.

Whether you believe in or worry about global warming or not, the facts are that earth’s temperature is rising!

I certainly noticed climate changes since I’ve started farming way back in ’92 (wow, scary to think I’ve been growing grapes for 16 years 😐

When I spoke to my dad about his early days on our farm, he said that they packed Barlinka grapes (an old black seeded variety) until week 24 to week 26! I still grow a patch (about 0.8 hectares) of Barlinka, but the latest I pack them in recent years are +- week 18! That is quite a difference!  It is a known fact that grapes mature quicker in hotter climates, so could this be an indication how much global warming is affecting our business?

Read this article I found on the Daily Green website:

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What scientists believe will happen at the end of this century

Thanks to global warming, well established wine-producing regions such as California’s Napa and Sonoma Valley as well as Northern France’s Burgundy region may be facing tough times ahead. The frequency of extremely hot days across the globe is beginning to redefine wine production as we know it and could prove disastrous for many famed wine grape growers.

Too hot days are wreaking havoc on grapes and growing conditions. Grapes used in premium wines need a consistent climate; even the smallest changes in temperature can mean the difference in taste and quality between an expensive wine produced by century old vines and those used for some ubiquitous cooking wine. Findings in a paper published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year state that within the U.S., regions that are suitable for growing premium wine grapes may be reduced by 50% and quite possibly by over 80% by the end of the century if warming trends continue on as expected.

No where has this been felt more than by winemakers in California’s Napa Valley. According to an article in USA Today, “In Napa, the minimum temperature has gone up nearly 5 degrees over the past 75 years, while growing season has increased by more than 50 days.” Because of increased temperatures, a grape’s necessary natural fermentation is advanced thus making them harvest-ready all the sooner.

Crush season is happening earlier for many as a result. Once seen as a September ritual, grapes are now ripening at a faster rate and a month earlier than normal and require harvesting during the night when temperatures are cooler. Those vineyards set in climates more conducive to wine grape growing in the U.S. are faring well and may usurp some of Northern California’s claim to the multi-million dollar wine industry. Upstate New York’s Finger Lake region, Long Island’s North Fork as well as Washington State’s Puget Sound and both Michigan’s coastal zone and Virginia wine-making regions aren’t as affected by the warming trends just yet.

Article from the Daily Green Website http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/6296

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Is global warming all bad for growing grapes?

Nope, some areas are actually benefiting from this.  If we look at countries like Canada, some wine growers there now plant grape varieties that would previously never survive their cold winters!

In the northern province of Champagne in France, the annual average daily temperature changed from 10.3 ºC to almost 12ºC over the last couple of years and this temperature changes, actually improved the quality of the champagne made there.

In the end, the rising temperatures may force growers to manage vines differently to produce similar wine styles or quality, or to plant different varieties better suited to the changing climate.

What should we do?  I really don’t know, but one thing is for sure; we grape growers need to adapt to these climate changes to keep us in the game!  We need to constantly look at things like canopy management, disease control and vine vigour, to keep our grape vine in the best shape ever.

Enjoy the weekend.

Danie

Facing the changes in the climate alone isn’t fair!

Get your copy of the Complete Grape Growing System Today and I will help you be a more succesful grape grower for only $29!

Thanksgiving Message To All Grape Growers

For those not from the USA:  Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the USA, and this year, the 27th of November.  On Thanksgiving day all our friends from the USA express their thanks for their material and spiritual well being.  It symbols the start of the holiday season and is an annual American Federal holiday.  Most people celebrate by gathering at home with family or friends for a holiday feast, with a turkey or two, roasted to perfection!  :-)

Although we here in South Africa and many other countries, do not celebrate Thanksgiving like the people from the USA, I think we all have so much to be thankful for.  Therefore, I’ll be thinking of each and every one of you during this season of Thanksgiving, even though we may be separated by thousands of miles. 

I’ll pray for every loyal member of My Grape Vine; for your well being, safety and prosperity.  That you will be close to me, in my heart. 

I give thanks for you all, customers, friends and close loved ones.  You have touched my life in so many ways; you brought me closer to my inner-self;  I have grown in so many ways, that would have never been possible, if it wasn’t for you.  I’ve met so many wonderful new “grape growing friends”, some even came to visit me on my farm!  It’s great to have friends and “e-palls”, who share the same passion!

This is my message to you on this Thanksgiving Day and thank you ALL for being part My Grape Vine.

Take care and God Bless…

Danie

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