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 email@example.com.
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
Oregon: Leading By Example. I think that is a good description of the way the Oregon wine industry has evolved in the past 30 years, from a fledgling wine region struggling to figure out how to produce fine wine from Pinot Noir, one of the most finicky of all grapes, to recently receiving a full-on endorsement from the Wine Spectator as a great wine wine region. It's an example well worth following for other emerging wine areas. A recent visit took me to Oregon State University, the center for viticulture and enology research, and the annual Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) meeting, plus a few vineyard visits. It's still an amazing place! Click HERE to read my notes on Oregon.
The Finger Lakes Grape Program and Lake Erie Regional Grape Program have redesigned websites with more information than ever available to grape growers in the northeast region. Information categories include business management, cultural practices, integrated pest management and vine nutrition and soils, and also detailed events calendars for their regular tailgate and coffee pot field meetings. I could not help but be especially impressed by the Eichhorn-Lorenz phenological growth stages and a seasonal primer for grape production done by Edith Byrne for the FLGP.
Here We Go Again is a forward look at the grape growing season, and a practical guide to preparing for the new vintage. It's a laundry list of things you should have done recently or do soon in the vineyard.
A viticulture e-newsletter Wine Grape Information for Pennsylvania and the Region is available (5/4/13). Read about current grape IPM recommendations, the viticulture and enology research meeting (5/22) and social media workshop (6/18-19) at Penn State, regional viticulture extension newsletters, an irrigation webinar (5/8), wine in southwest Pennsylvania, and a steep terrain workshop in Virginia.
Bibiana Guerra has two research abstracts available and they are very pertinent to Eastern wine growing: Evaluation of chemical and natural resistance inducers against downy mildew explains how some natural substances may help thwart downy mildew infections; and Foliar application of abscisic acid increases freeze tolerance demonstrates how this plant hormone may help to improve grapevine cold hardiness.
- Penn State Viticulture Information Resources List
- e-Viticulture (national online viticulture resources)
- 2013 NY-PA Pest Management Guidelines for Grapes
- Ohio Grape Production Guide (all chapters)
- Lake Erie Regional Grape Program Viticulture 101
- Information for beginner and prospective wine grape growers
Mark L. Chien
Penn State Cooperative Extension
What I'm Reading: I have 3 favorite sources for viticulture, wine and wine making books, The Wine Appreciation Guild, University of California Press and Winetitles. I recently met Elliott McKay from WAG at a trade show and found 2 new books that I can highly recommend. A standard text for all wine lovers is Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson's World Atlas of Wine, famous for its maps and comprehensive coverage of the wine world. Now, Ms. Robinson and her American associate Linda Murphy have compiled what they call "the ultimate companion to the wines and wineries of the United States." This is quite a bold claim but American Wine provides a good review of the wine regions - half is devoted to California, Oregon and Washington, and the rest to other wine states to the east. Like WAW, it has excellent photos and maps, and insets for each region that include: acreage, primary varieties, AVA and sub-AVAs, trailblazers, steady hands, superstars and ones to watch. It's about as good a snapshot of US wine as you can find. The other book I picked up is The Grapevine: from the science to the practice of growing vines for wine, by two very well known Australians, Iland and Dry (also Proffitt and Tyerman). So far I can't tell which I like better, this compehensive guide to grapevine physiology or Dr. Markus Keller's Science of Grapevines, one of my all-time favorite viticulture books. Both are written in largely non-technical language with an emphasis on the practical application of knowledge. The diagrams and photos in The Grapevine are outstanding. There is outstanding coverage of grapevine physiology and biology - photosynthesis, flowering, dormancy, berry composition, etc. but I most enjoyed the chapters about water, soil and the vine, climate and the vine, and the vine and its environment. This is an amazingly interesting book!
Featured Article(s): It may be in poor taste to feature one of my own articles but I often muse about matters that I believe may improve wine quality. What could be more simple that drinking from the right kind of glass? Or, from a special glass that is designed to show off the quality (or lack of) of a wine? A recent tasting episode caused me to consider the impact of the glass. Perhaps the vessel in between bottle and mouth is more important than we think. I also consider the importance of tasting benchmark wines to calibrating the quality of our own wines. Click HERE to read more...
Featured Web Sites and Webinars: The Grape Red Blotch Disease has been filling the pages of trade journals recently. It is a newly identified grape malady that shares some visual symptoms with leaf roll virus. All growers who have recently or will soon plant vinifera vines should be aware of red blotch. It is still being carefully studied by grape pathologists and methods are being developed to prevent its further spread from nurseries. The National Clean Plant Network recently hosted a red blotch webinar with some of the best experts, Dr. March Fuchs (Cornell), Dr. Deborah Golino (FPS), and Rhonda Smith (UC Extension-Sonoma). Click HERE to view the webinar.
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): Having recently returned from Oregon (see Spotlight) I was very impressed by the work of Dr. Patty Skinkis, the research and extension viticulturist at Oregon State University. Patty earned her PhD from Purdue with Dr. Bruce Bordelon and has been at OSU for almost seven years, during this time she has developed an very effective working relationship with the wine industry and done outstanding research in early leaf removal, cover crops and crop yields, she also teaches traditional and on-line viticulture classes, trains grad students, and has numerous extension publications. Patty is a member of the Oregon Wine Research Institute, a collaboration of all of the research and extension resources that serve the Oregon wine industy. You can read about her research and access her publications on the OWRI and her personal websites.
Previous articles (listed by topic):
Viticulture and Vineyards
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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