[nafex] Re: grapes

Christopher Mauchline mauch1 at aol.com
Tue Dec 19 15:28:16 EST 2000


Mike,
    I've been growing grapes in "almost SE PA" (SW Berks county) for 
almost 15 years and have ~1 acre on my father's property that has 
been planted for ~10 years.  

    I should preface my comments by the fact that personally, I am 
somewhat "burned-out" on grapes.

    If you consider copper/lime (Bordeaux) and sulfur 
sprays "organic" (I don't feel they are) the answer is "probably", 
knowing that in the worst years you will possibly lose a significant 
portion of your crop.

    Note there are 4 main diseases (fungal) of grapes: Black rot 
(BR), Powdery Mildew (PM), Downy Mildew (DM), and Boytritis (also 
known as bunch rot (and in certain climates as "noble rot").

Anyways, there seems to be among the currently avaiable varieties a 
fairly direct relationship between quality and disease resistance.  
I.e. the best wine grapes (Vitis vinifera) are the most disease 
resistance.  Lambrusca grapes are fairly disease resistance, but 
don't make good wine unless you like it very sweet.  Hybrid grapes 
(hybrids of V. vinifera and other Vitis species (usually not V. 
lambrusca)) are usually more disease resistant that vinifera, but 
don't have quite the wine quality of vinifera.  My personal belief is 
this could be overcome by further breeding work, but the wine 
industry and wine consumers are extremely conservative when it comes 
to new varieties, so it seems not much work is being done on new 
varieties.

My short list of fairly disease resistant wine grapes:

Marchel Foch
J.S. 23-416
Vidal blanc

If you want to contact me, we can get together sometime.  I could 
probably also arrange for you to see the vineyard at my parents.  I 
currently have no grapes at my current location.

Chris Mauchline
SE PA, zone 6

--- In nafex at egroups.com, "mike tomlinson" <tugger at n...> wrote:
> I plan to put in a small vinyard next spring on a south facing 
slope 
> in zone 6 in SE PA. Temperature extremes go from minus 5 degrees or
> so to 100 degrees with adequate rain fall and lots of humidity. 
Total 
> space may be 1/4 acre.
> 
> I grow apples, keep an organic garden, make hard cider and now 
would 
> like to branch out into small scale wine making.  
> 
> What varieties should I consider?  Can it be done organically? Any 
> suggestions and comments will be greatly appreciated.
> 
> Happy holidays to all.
> 
> Mike


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