Vineyards – D Sharma http://dsharma.org/ Mon, 19 Sep 2022 01:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://dsharma.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-6-120x120.png Vineyards – D Sharma http://dsharma.org/ 32 32 Rain Leads to Early Harvest of Grapes at Schuylkill County Vineyards | Company https://dsharma.org/rain-leads-to-early-harvest-of-grapes-at-schuylkill-county-vineyards-company/ Mon, 19 Sep 2022 01:00:00 +0000 https://dsharma.org/rain-leads-to-early-harvest-of-grapes-at-schuylkill-county-vineyards-company/ HEGINS — The rain couldn’t have come at a worse time for the grapes. Certainly, like most plants, vines need sufficient water during the growing season. In late summer, however, rain just before harvest can dilute a grape’s juice, split it, or shrivel it. “We prefer it to be dry from mid-August until harvest time,” […]]]>

HEGINS — The rain couldn’t have come at a worse time for the grapes.

Certainly, like most plants, vines need sufficient water during the growing season.

In late summer, however, rain just before harvest can dilute a grape’s juice, split it, or shrivel it.

“We prefer it to be dry from mid-August until harvest time,” said Tom Stutzman, owner of Red Shale Ridge Vineyards in Hegins. “This is when the grapes build their sugars.”

As illustrated by the persistent rains from September 10-11, weather conditions this season have been pretty much the opposite of what winemakers need for a vibrant harvest.

While the vines could have used water in July and August, the area experienced some of the driest weather in years, prompting the state to institute drought watch for Schuylkill and 35 other counties.

But now, while a dry spell would be beneficial, recently it has been raining frequently.

Fearing that too much rain would ruin the harvest, some local winemakers started picking grapes earlier than usual.

A picking rush

At King Solomon’s Vineyard in North Manheim Township, vineyard manager Steven Agosti rushed to pull grapes from the vine for fear they would be damaged by too much rain.

Intense heat in July and early August, with frequent temperatures over 90 degrees, shortened the growing season, Agosti said.

“The heat made for longer growing days,” he said. “Due to the weather, we chose earlier than planned.”

Last year, Agosti said, the first grape variety was only picked on September 9.

By the same date this year, King Solomon’s had already harvested four grape varieties: Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

Founded in 2008 by Dr. Solomon and Wendy Luo of Orwigsburg, King Solomon’s Vineyard grows 10 varieties of grapes on approximately 5 acres. The first vines were planted in 2010.

Agosti said he expects to harvest around 32,000 pounds of grapes this year, about the same amount as in 2021.

King Solomon’s plans to offer the first retail offer of its wine online before the end of the year, Agosti said.

A waiting game

Dark clouds loomed over the lush valley between the Little and Hegins Mountains on Monday as Stutzman assessed the harvest of Muscat grapes at Red Shale Ridge Vineyards.

“They’re really nice; I’m very happy with them,” he said. “Hopefully they stay there until we can pick them on Thursday.”

Right now, says Stutzman, it will be a very good crop – if harvested before the rains stop.

Stutzman’s predicament underscores the critical role of weather and harvest timing in growing grapes.

The longer they are on the vine, the sweeter the grapes will be.

However, leaving them on the vine too long, especially in humid conditions, can cause the grapes to swell, burst and rot.

When Tom and Denine Stutzman named their vineyards after the red shale soil in which they planted their first vines 25 years ago. It drains well, Tom Stutzman said, making it ideal for growing grapes.

Red Shale grows five varieties on 2 acres, producing approximately 7 tons of grapes per year.

Different varieties ripen at different times. But typically white grapes are harvested first, Stutzman said.

Look closely

Given the weather, Kyle Heffner is keeping a close eye on the grapes from Stone Mountain Wine Cellars in Wayne Twp.

It measures the sugar levels on the Norton and Vidal blanc grape varieties daily.

“The sugar levels on some wines are not what they were last year,” said Heffner, the winery’s manager. “We had to choose early.”

Pickers have been working feverishly to remove muscat grapes from the vine in recent days. The La Crescent grapes, which produce a dry white wine, will then be harvested.

Heffner is confident that, despite worries about the weather, the harvested grapes will produce good wine.

“Overall it’s going to be a good season,” he predicted. “Because of the extra sunshine, it will be a good year for wine.”

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French vineyards suffer from low yield due to extreme heat https://dsharma.org/french-vineyards-suffer-from-low-yield-due-to-extreme-heat/ Fri, 16 Sep 2022 15:42:57 +0000 https://dsharma.org/french-vineyards-suffer-from-low-yield-due-to-extreme-heat/ The vineyards of southern France have been hard hit this year, a direct consequence of the scorching summer caused by climate change. The situation has left grape growers with a number of tough choices, with many having to harvest their crops weeks earlier than in previous years. READ MORE The Life and Times of Queen […]]]>

The vineyards of southern France have been hard hit this year, a direct consequence of the scorching summer caused by climate change.

The situation has left grape growers with a number of tough choices, with many having to harvest their crops weeks earlier than in previous years.

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“Farmers are forced to adapt not only to climate change, but also to fungi, high temperatures, drought and frost,” explained Julien Zuanet, who runs the Château de l’Hôpital vineyard in the prestigious Bordeaux wine region.

Zuanet is adamant he will not change the product.

“Our biggest enemy is the fungus”

Farmers across the region face the urgent challenge of maintaining these world famous vineyards in the face of climate change, as the roots of the vines struggle to find water, while the sun scorches the fruit.

“In bio-farming, our biggest enemy is fungus, especially when the humidity is high,” Zuanet said.

“Usually, we cut the leaves around the grapes to let them breathe, but when it’s dry, like this year, we keep the leaves to protect the grapes from the sun.

Further south, in Fitou, near the border with Spain, Jean-Marie Fabre, president of the Association of Independent Winegrowers of France, agreed that winemakers needed to make urgent changes to stay viable.

Like many others in the region, he has already seen a substantial drop in grape yields – down 10% this year and 25% last year.

“The future of prestige wines from this region remains unknown,” Fabre said.

“I don’t know if this variety can survive 5, 10 or 15 more years under these conditions with our current practices. What I do know is that by adapting our cultivation methods and improving our use of water, this vineyard can continue to produce quality grapes even if the temperatures rise further.”

Improved quality despite declining quantity

Although the hot summer has caused a drop in the quantity of harvested grapes, their quality is actually very good. But winemakers remain concerned that if summer temperatures continue to rise, not only will yield drop, but quality will as well.

“If the plant suffers, it will feed the grapes less, which will lead to lower quality and less flavorful grapes,” Fabre pointed out.

“We can counter this by controlling how we plant grass, which can retain water…using different types of soil…and creating more shade over the grapes at certain times of the year. year, so they can give water back to the plant when it needs it,” he added.

So, given the current challenges, could a solution to France’s wine problems be found abroad? Grapes grown in countries like Israel, Morocco, Algeria and Greece can survive extreme weather conditions.

“We have to research them to see how they can be planted in the south of France today,” says Fabre.

It seems certain that changes will have to be made to give this rich element of French culture a fighting chance in our ever-changing world.

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East Anglia vineyards on track for bumper year https://dsharma.org/east-anglia-vineyards-on-track-for-bumper-year/ Thu, 15 Sep 2022 09:23:00 +0000 https://dsharma.org/east-anglia-vineyards-on-track-for-bumper-year/ Published: 10:23 am September 15, 2022 East Anglia grape growers are looking forward to a bumper harvest as they prepare for harvest. They have been helped by a sweltering summer heatwave – which has withered many other UK crops – although some vineyard owners may now be considering installing irrigation as dealing with extreme weather […]]]>

Published:
10:23 am September 15, 2022



East Anglia grape growers are looking forward to a bumper harvest as they prepare for harvest.

They have been helped by a sweltering summer heatwave – which has withered many other UK crops – although some vineyard owners may now be considering installing irrigation as dealing with extreme weather becomes the norm.

Mark and Polly Baines of Thorrington Mill Vineyardnear Colchester, are gearing up for their third harvest after planting their first vines in 2018.


Grapes ripening at Thorrington Mill Vineyard
– Credit: Polly Baines

They grow a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Bacchus grapes on the 12-acre vineyard – named after the family farm, Mill Farm, which has one of only three working tide mills in the country.

“We start harvesting in about two weeks. This year’s harvest is going to be exceptional. This year’s growing conditions will produce incredible flavors and we can’t wait to see what the wines will taste like. wine this year because of the incredible heat we’ve had this year and the positive impact it’s having on the sugar levels in the grapes,” Polly said.


Grapes at Thorrington Mill vineyard

The bumper crop at Thorrington Mill Vineyard
– Credit: Polly Baines

“We had our first harvest in 2020, which was a good harvest and the quantities were higher than we expected. 2021 has been a difficult year, battling wet and lackluster conditions throughout the summer season. However, we still managed to create our first vintage which was incredibly popular.

“We are excited to see what this year’s harvest will bring. We have a lot of good clean fruit this year which we hope will allow us to further improve our 2021 wines.”

The couple – who started with a landscaping and fencing business in 2002 and a glamping business – decided to branch out into winemaking. The bet paid off as their first vintages won national silver medals and a regional gold medal for their Bacchus de WineGB.

“We opened the vineyard this year and hosted various events such as wood-fired pizza and wine in the vineyards, curry night in the vineyards, pork roast in the vineyards, wellness and wine experiences and an after- lunchtime painting and tasting. These along with our own tours and tastings have been very popular, attracting up to 250 people on some occasions,” said Polly.

“We are busy planning next year’s events and look forward to sharing our 2022 vintage and continuing to provide a unique and very special place for people to come and enjoy. This summer has been incredibly sweet for our events. and helped make them a huge success.”


Tuffon Hall Vineyard

Pinot Meunier grapes ready to harvest at Tuffon Hall Vineyard
– Credit: Tuffon Hall Vineyard

Linda Howardof Giffords Vineyard in Hartest, near Bury St Edmunds, predicts a very good year for sparkling wines as it prepares for harvest.

“An unusually dry and hot summer benefited most local vineyards with mild conditions and low disease pressure,” she said.

“Older vineyards are not water-stressed, although some new plantings, especially second-year sites, have had to irrigate.

“Fruit volumes are plentiful compared to last year as calm weather encouraged good flowering and fruit set, although bunch weights and extraction rates will be much lower and some varieties have slowed down. hard to reach the sugars, so the challenge will be to keep a clean crop while they have time to ripen in September.

“I predict intense flavors on the whites as the berries are small and the skin to juice ratio is high – and it will be a good year for the sparklings.

The vineyard is celebrating after picking up WineGB East’s coveted East Anglian Wine of the Year for its 2018 Classic Cuvée


Chardonnay grapes at Tuffon Hall Vineyard

Chardonnay grapes at Tuffon Hall Vineyard
– Credit: Tuffon Hall Vineyard

Angus Crowther, of Tuffon Hall Vineyard, Sible Hedingham, near Braintree, said they were excited about the upcoming harvest.

“We had a fairly mild winter with not too many frosts, a warm spring and that got the vines off to a good start,” he said.

“Going into the intense July-August heat and prolonged drought, we were first considering adding irrigation, but the much needed rain has arrived. Due to the way our climate seems to be changing , we can consider setting up a borehole to cope with future drier weather.


Bacchus grapes at Tuffon Hall Vineyard

Bacchus grapes at Tuffon Hall Vineyard
– Credit: Tuffon Hall Vineyard

“We are a few weeks away from harvesting the Bacchus – probably the end of September for this variety. The rest ; pinots and chardonnay normally follow a few weeks later.

“This year could be a bumper crop for us, concentrated sugars and slightly smaller berries – the grapes feel like they are in the south of France with the weather we have had.

“However, we don’t want any more rain – we need to prevent Botrytis and gray mold from taking hold, but if it stays dry now it will hopefully be one of the best crops we’ve ever had. had.


Angus Crowther picking Pinot Meunier grapes at Tuffon Hall in Sible Hedingham.

East Anglian grape growers expect bumper harvest this year
– Credit: Su Anderson

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Texas Vineyards Report Low Yields and High Quality Grapes | Land & Breeding post https://dsharma.org/texas-vineyards-report-low-yields-and-high-quality-grapes-land-breeding-post/ Mon, 12 Sep 2022 21:07:00 +0000 https://dsharma.org/texas-vineyards-report-low-yields-and-high-quality-grapes-land-breeding-post/ Adam Russell Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Texas wine grape vineyards were recording below-average yields and above-average quality after a tough 2022 growing season, according to experts at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Drought and extreme heat have impacted yields in all regions of Texas, but the arid conditions have brought benefits, especially in areas […]]]>

Adam Russell Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Texas wine grape vineyards were recording below-average yields and above-average quality after a tough 2022 growing season, according to experts at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Drought and extreme heat have impacted yields in all regions of Texas, but the arid conditions have brought benefits, especially in areas that historically experience greater fungal disease pressure due to rainfall and high humidity. AgriLife Extension grape growers Fran Pontasch, Bryan-College Station; Brianna Crowley, Fredericksburg; Michael Cook, Denton; and Daniel Hillin, Lubbock; provided a general overview of the season for their respective regions.

coastal elbow

Pontasch said the harvest was winding down along the Gulf Coast. The drought and heat led to below average yields, but also contributed to the exceptional quality of the grapes.

Disease pressure was much lower than usual because humidity levels were low. The dry conditions also contributed to the good sugar content of Blanc du Bois, the main grape grown in the region.

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“Wood White is an early variety and luckily it was ready for harvest about six weeks after drought conditions here,” she said. “So the grapes did not benefit from any disease and were of very good quality with some irrigation.”

The 2022 season has also been a year of expansion in Coastal Bend, Pontasch said. Growers were adding capacity with new acres, new vines and new varieties to serve the incredible number of vineyards.

Growers in the state’s Coastal Bend region are limited in the grape varieties they can grow due to hot and humid conditions. Most vineyards are small — 2 to 3 acres, Pontasch said. But they are coming together to bring in large yields of wood white to meet demand in and out of state.

New varieties emerging from California, Florida and Arkansas that may suit conditions in the region could further expand the opportunities for vineyards in the region, she said.

the landscape with hills

Crowley said vineyards began experiencing severe drought much earlier than many parts of the state. The rainfall total since October was around 4 to 5 inches for many growers this season.

The result was a low crop load despite irrigation, she said. Crowley estimated that grape yields would be 30-50% of the average growing season.

Fruit size, as with many fruit plants, on the vines was smaller than normal, she said. But the quality was good.

“It was very dry, and the heat came in early and was relentless,” she said. “Thus, it has been difficult to get the vine’s root systems the moisture they need to function effectively.”

Disease pressure was low this season, but heat and drought stress compounded the problems with recovering the vine from the Uri winter storm and isolated disease outbreaks. Crowley said cases of botrytis, a fruit-damaging fungus, could have occurred after several dewy mornings.

High Plains and West Texas

Hillin said the 2022 season started a few weeks late in the High Plains, but is expected to end a little earlier. The Hautes Plaines winegrowers are halfway through the harvest.

A lack of early season rainfall and cool spring temperatures slowed bud break, but high temperatures in May and June accelerated ripening and the ripening process to harvest. Hillin said it was too early to speculate on yield figures, but the quality seemed excellent so far.

“The story this season was early bud break, severe drought and several days above 100 degrees,” he said. “Producers have irrigated a lot this year to keep everything going, but overall, in terms of quality, it’s going to be good.

High Plains vineyards produce about 80 to 85 percent of Texas wine grapes, he said. The drier climate allows winemakers to produce around 30 different varieties of Vitis vinifera. The unique terroir of the American wine-growing area of ​​the Hautes Plaines is conducive to the cultivation of these high quality French, Italian and Spanish grape varieties.

Hillin said growers continue to install new acres in the High Plains and West Texas regions, while some are experiencing weather-related setbacks from extreme heat or frost.

Winter damage is always a concern in the High Plains and occurs every year, he said. However, the region did not experience the extreme number of injuries and crop losses that occurred in other regions due to the Uri winter storm, as the vines were still well into their dormant period at the time. ‘era.

“Winemakers will have a better idea of ​​how the overall quality of the grapes will translate into the 2022 vintage, but aside from the excess heat and water stress this year, the vines have held up pretty well,” he said. -he declares. “The quality of this region is always good.

north texas

Cook said growers in North Texas experienced similar weather conditions, including a late start and early end amid drought and high temperatures. Fruit set and size were slightly below normal, but he said high winds contributed to early losses.

The region saw many more days with winds of 40 miles per hour or more in April and May than normal, Cook said.

“There were no losses from a late spring frost, but high winds contributed to fruit set 10-30% lower than normal, depending on the variety,” he said. “Quality has been good, and we had some critical rain earlier in the season which helped.”

The dry conditions also helped the fruit avoid disease, Cook said. But there have been some issues with vines of Blanc du Bois and Tempranillo that were damaged by the Uri winter storm, particularly in vineyards where recycling vines was an issue.

Blanc du bois vines were recycled from the ground while Tempranillo grafted vines were pushed back a foot and recycled from the suckers that way, he said. The recycling process can take several seasons for fruit yields to recover.

The drought has exacerbated the stress on damaged plants, and that’s been seen this summer, Cook said.

“There were challenges, but the quality has been phenomenal, and I think many producers and wineries seem to have bounced back from the pandemic issues and many are currently in the process of fermentation,” he said. . “So 2022 should be a great vintage for North Texas.”

Crowley agreed that Texas vineyards were likely producing a good vintage despite recent challenges.

Demand for Texas wine grapes remains strong, and quality will determine prices for growers, Crowley said. Any price increases consumers might see will likely be related to processing and logistics costs, including labor, bottles, and shipping.

“Texas growers are tenacious because they’re growing in a very hostile environment,” she said. “The vines face constant stress in a normal year, but this year was particularly difficult due to compound stressors. But even after all the challenges, I think the 2022 season should produce a great vintage.

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Low Yields, High Quality Grapes for Texas Vineyards https://dsharma.org/low-yields-high-quality-grapes-for-texas-vineyards/ Wed, 07 Sep 2022 14:21:15 +0000 https://dsharma.org/low-yields-high-quality-grapes-for-texas-vineyards/ By Emmy PowellCommunications Specialist The 2022 growing season for Texas wine grape vineyards has been a challenge. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts said the grapes had below-average yield but above-average quality. Triple-digit temperatures and drought have impacted yields across the state of Texas. But the dry conditions resulted in better quality wine grapes. Along […]]]>

By Emmy Powell
Communications Specialist

The 2022 growing season for Texas wine grape vineyards has been a challenge. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts said the grapes had below-average yield but above-average quality.

Triple-digit temperatures and drought have impacted yields across the state of Texas. But the dry conditions resulted in better quality wine grapes.

Along the Gulf Coast, drought resulted in below average yields but led to exceptional grape quality.

The main grape variety of the region is Blanc du Bois. The dryness also contributes to the good sugar content of these grapes.

“Blanc du Bois is an early variety and luckily it was ready to harvest about six weeks after the onset of drought conditions here,” said Fran Pontasch, AgriLife Extension winemaker at Bryan-College Station. “So the grapes did not benefit from any disease and were of very good quality with some irrigation.”

The Gulf Coast and Hill Country are generally at high risk for fungal disease due to humidity, but the drought has reduced the risk.

Yields in the Hill Country are estimated to be down 30-50%.

“It was very dry, and the heat came in early and was relentless,” said Brianna Crowley, AgriLife Extension grape grower in Fredericksburg. “Thus, it has been difficult to get the vine’s root systems the moisture they need to function effectively.”

The size of the grapes on the vines was smaller than normal but was of good quality.

The High Plains season started late but should end early.

“The story this season has been early bud break, severe drought and several days above 100 degrees,” said Daniel Hillin, AgriLife Extension grape grower in Lubbock. “Producers have irrigated a lot this year to keep everything going, but overall, in terms of quality, it’s going to be good.

It’s too early to estimate yields from the High Plans and West Texas region, which typically produces 80-85% of Texas wine grapes.

North Texas experienced similar conditions, but the main difference was the wind.

“There were no losses from a late spring frost, but high winds contributed to fruit set 10-30% lower than normal, depending on the variety,” said Michael Cook, AgriLife grape grower. Extension to Denton. “Quality has been good, and we had some critical rain earlier in the season which helped.”

AgriLife Extension growers say this year’s harvest will produce a fine vintage.

“Texas growers are tenacious because they’re growing in a very hostile environment,” she said. “The vines face constant stress in a normal year, but this year was particularly difficult due to compound stressors. But even after all the challenges, I think the 2022 season should produce a great vintage.

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The best wineries to visit in Argentina https://dsharma.org/the-best-wineries-to-visit-in-argentina/ Sun, 04 Sep 2022 21:09:18 +0000 https://dsharma.org/the-best-wineries-to-visit-in-argentina/ Argentina’s wines are among the most highly regarded in the world and tours of the various wineries that produce them are a big attraction not only because visitors learn about the process of making the award-winning wines, but also because they have the opportunity to enjoy the extraordinary countryside of this wonderful South American destination. […]]]>

Argentina’s wines are among the most highly regarded in the world and tours of the various wineries that produce them are a big attraction not only because visitors learn about the process of making the award-winning wines, but also because they have the opportunity to enjoy the extraordinary countryside of this wonderful South American destination.

The regions that produce the best wines are Mendoza, Salta and Catamarca, La Rioja, San Juan and Sur Argentino. Here are five prominent wineries that offer tours to their visitors:

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Zuccardi Uco Valley

This house produces internationally awarded wines. Its cellar is the largest in South America and was awarded as the best in the world in 2021. The Zuccardi family, owners of the factory, produce wines of the highest quality standards with the help of experts agriculture and wine. They have a research and development space dedicated to the study of terroir and the variables that affect wine quality. According to the owner of the factory, the important thing is not to look for perfect wines, but those that express the region where they are made.

Visitors can visit the different spaces of the winery and enjoy the experience of visiting the vineyards to discover the characteristics and particularities of the different soils that give identity to these award-winning Argentine wines. Visitors must book to get a place on the tour and also for the product tastings.

Catena Zapata

Founded in 1902 in the province of Mendoza, the Bodega Catena Zapata is at the origin of the resurgence of the Malbec grape variety and the discovery of the terroirs of extreme altitude at the foot of the Andes. Its Adrianna vineyard, located nearly 5,000 feet above sea level, is considered the Grand Cru of South America for its wines of exceptional quality.

When visiting this extraordinary winery, tourists can taste three types of wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay. The visits are carried out by specialized guides in small groups. It is recommended to reserve a date and time in advance, which can be done via the Internet.

coloma

Colome has been producing wines since 1831 and is located in the Calchaquíes Valleys (Salta-Catamarca). It is the oldest in Argentina and is characterized by the conservation of natural resources through environmentally friendly practices in its production processes. Its wines, of the emblematic Malbec and Torrontés grape varieties, have unique characteristics that make them a favorite of connoisseurs.


The Argentine soil makes it a privileged place for the cultivation of the grapes with which the best wines in the world are produced.  (Photo via Rostislav_Sedlacek/iStock/Getty Images Plus).
The Argentine soil makes it a privileged place for the cultivation of the grapes with which the best wines in the world are produced. (Photo via Rostislav_Sedlacek/iStock/Getty Images Plus).

The tour, by prior reservation, includes visits to the vineyards, private or group tastings, as well as a visit to the art collection of the James Turrell Museum. Tastings include high altitude wines which can be paired with a restaurant lunch to create a complete experience. In addition, visitors can stay at Estancia Colomé, a boutique hotel located between lavender gardens and vineyards. This place has nine rooms with private balconies to enjoy the beautiful landscape.

Salento in the Uro Valley

This wine producer is located in the heart of the province of Mendoza, a sandy region with a dry climate, hot days and cool nights. Its production is based on European artisanal techniques combined with cutting-edge technology.

It has stone-floored underground cellars where its wines are aged in French oak barrels of 225 liters each. It has three tasting rooms located on the same level as the cellars, with stone tables and rubble. Its impressive Sala Primus is unique in Argentina and contains 12 French oak barrels equipped with controlled refrigeration systems where it is made, only with harvests where the fruit is of exceptional quality.

Tourists can book to enjoy their wine experience with guided group tours that include vineyards, production areas, underground cava and a tasting of four wines from the cellar. Visitors can also make reservations at the Espacio Salentein restaurant and enjoy its various menus.


Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay are some of the great wines produced by Argentina.  (Photo via Brunomsbarreto).
Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay are some of the great wines produced by Argentina. (Photo via Brunomsbarreto).

The Enemigo

This winery, located in Maipú, Mendoza, was created to rescue some of the forgotten traditional techniques of Argentine viticulture. The visitor can visit the underground cellars where the barrels are housed, and in addition to tasting the wines, he has the opportunity to enjoy a unique gastronomy, with family recipes based on organic products from their garden. All this in an environment surrounded by original paintings and sculptures.

Visitors can visit vineyards and rooms that make up the front yard of the winery created based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, so tourists can visit Infierno, which is the barrel cellar with its different levels until they reach paradise, which is the Restaurant at Casa Vigil which offers an excellent four-stop lunch paired with award-winning wines.

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The vineyards of SA need to be protected from the climate https://dsharma.org/the-vineyards-of-sa-need-to-be-protected-from-the-climate/ Fri, 02 Sep 2022 12:58:46 +0000 https://dsharma.org/the-vineyards-of-sa-need-to-be-protected-from-the-climate/ To combat the effects of climate change, South African winemakers will need to plan more carefully when establishing new vineyards, especially if they want them to achieve heritage status. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that climate change could wipe out more than half of the world’s vineyards by 2050. At an Old […]]]>

To combat the effects of climate change, South African winemakers will need to plan more carefully when establishing new vineyards, especially if they want them to achieve heritage status.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that climate change could wipe out more than half of the world’s vineyards by 2050.

At an Old Vine Project (OVP) workshop recently held near Stellenbosch, OVP co-founder Rosa Kruger said winemakers need to be much more strategic and consider many other variable when planting new vineyards. This was all the more relevant if they wanted their vines to last more than 35 years to be classified as heritage vines.

According to Kruger, the selection of rootstocks and varieties should be based on their ability to withstand climatic shocks, such as floods and droughts, as well as their resistance to disease. One of his suggestions was to choose varieties that ripened earlier in the season, before heat waves affected the acidity of the wines.

Also, much more attention needed to be paid to the design of vineyards to improve their water use efficiency and drainage.

For example, planting rows of vines in a northwest/southeast orientation could prevent sunburn caused by direct sunlight. If the slope dictated a north-south orientation of the rows, a spreading system would allow dappled rather than direct sunlight.

Kruger explained that if the grapes were exposed to direct sunlight, the temperature in the berries would rise during a heat wave and adversely affect the juice.

“As temperatures rise, we need to ensure that the grapes ripen naturally and are not ‘cooked’ ripe, as this will negatively impact the quality of the wine. Wine grapes need dappled, not direct sun,” she said.

To ensure good drainage and prevent erosion and landslides, farmers either had to invest in expensive, expertly constructed drains or plant along the natural contours of the land.

“Using outlines is actually an old concept; Professor WJ Talbot published a book about it called Swartland and Sandveld in the late 1940s. He listed water conservation, reduced erosion and slower movement of water at through the ground as only some of the benefits of [contour farming]”said Kruger.

However, she opposes the use of terraces, as these leave the vineyards doubly exposed to sun, heat and drought, and disturb the natural layers of the soil.

The vines should be leaner and less vigorous, since vines with large leaves, long shoots and larger berries needed more water and were more susceptible to heat waves.

Vineyards could be planted at a higher elevation, as temperatures could be up to 1°C cooler for every 100m elevation gain.

Kruger said opportunities for this existed in mountainous areas such as Piketberg and Ceres in the Western Cape, but those areas were better known for fruit production, which was more lucrative than wine grapes. Fruit would therefore take priority over establishing vineyards, unless the farm does not have enough water to plant more fruit.

She added that slopes facing west and north were warmer than those facing south or east because they received more direct sunlight. Wind, however, was a primary factor, and if farmers planted vines near the sea, they had to consider the direction of cooling ocean breezes.

Biodiversity
Kruger feared farmers would move to new, previously unplanted areas that could be conservation areas or planted with natural fynbos.

“If we move away from warmer regions into new areas, the lands we leave behind should be reclaimed with native plants and trees,” she said.

She added that soil biodiversity should be increased. “As the weather warms, it will become increasingly important to create refuge areas for animals, insects and other organisms, where they can find food, water and shelter. We also need to make sure our wetlands are healthy and not filled with strangers,” Kruger said.

To achieve this, farmers could create biodiversity hotspots or corridors in their planted areas. This would help create a healthy population of diverse species which, in turn, would help control problematic species.

“Climate change will lead to changes in pest and disease cycles. Instead of making blanket pesticide applications, we should use our ecosystem services, as well as predatory and parasitic insects to our advantage,” she advised.

At the same time, she recommended that farmers improve soil health and structure through the use of cover crops and mulches, for example.

“Nowadays, soil experts think bare soil is dead soil. Dead soil erodes more easily and cannot sufficiently support the vines during heat waves,” she said.

Kruger added that a mix of annual cover crops, each providing their own benefits, was much better than a perennial monoculture. Nonetheless, she was not in favor of using cover crops year-round, as they competed with the vine for water and nutrients and could seriously affect vine growth and grape ripening. in summer.

In the spring, cover crops could be rolled flat to create a cover of plant material that served as a habitat for soil organisms and improved soil carbon content. This would improve the water holding capacity of the soil and control weeds.

Tools and Technology

Kruger also advised farmers to familiarize themselves with the latest technologies to determine which of them would help improve the climate resilience of their vineyards.

She said Cape Farm Mapper, a free online mapping application launched by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture in 2011, was a great tool for farm planning.

The solution provided information that covered everything from land topography, including contours, slopes and aspect; soil and geological information; and long-term climate data, such as evaporation, precipitation, cooling, and temperature.

While Kruger was largely against mechanization, she said it could help. “If it allows you to harvest very early in the morning to ensure that the grapes arrive at the cellar in cool temperatures, rather than doing so during the midday heat, then harvesting machines could be the answer.”

Management

When it comes to managing old vines, the priority would be to maintain a good root system.

“The goal is not necessarily to have a deeper root system, but rather a more rooty root system in order to broaden the search for water and nutrients.

“Roots will thrive and function best in healthy soil with a high level of biodiversity,” she said.
With pruning, the first step would be to “use your good wood”. Kruger explained that the strongest canes had to be used to rebuild the vine. The next step would be to prune one or two buds, depending on the strength of the wearer, and never cut into old wood or arms (more than two years old) as this will cause deep wounds which could increase the risk of illness. .

In the case of bush vines, suckering or thinning must be carried out on three shoots per spur instead of two, provided that the vine is sufficiently vigorous. This would allow the vine to focus more energy on grape production.

Sucking should also be done to increase airflow through the canopy, which would later help reduce disease pressure.

Kruger pointed out that changes in vine management and improvements in fertilization programs have increased yields in many very old vineyards in South Africa. An example was the Jakkalsfontein wine farm in Malmesbury, where production at one of the old vineyards had improved significantly through correct pruning and other OVP management practices.

Finally, Kruger said old blocks of vines can also be planted with young ones, but this practice is capped at 15% at any time to qualify for heritage wine certification.

Email the Old Vine Project at [email protected].

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A good glass of arctic wine? How the climate crisis is pushing vineyards further north https://dsharma.org/a-good-glass-of-arctic-wine-how-the-climate-crisis-is-pushing-vineyards-further-north/ Thu, 01 Sep 2022 17:16:02 +0000 https://dsharma.org/a-good-glass-of-arctic-wine-how-the-climate-crisis-is-pushing-vineyards-further-north/ Global warming has been “a driving factor” in the expansion of vineyards in one of the coldest places in the world. As the climate crisis drives up global average temperatures, it is already well understood that winegrowers in countries like England could benefit from growing seasons that replicate conditions once seen in regions like Champagne […]]]>

Global warming has been “a driving factor” in the expansion of vineyards in one of the coldest places in the world.

As the climate crisis drives up global average temperatures, it is already well understood that winegrowers in countries like England could benefit from growing seasons that replicate conditions once seen in regions like Champagne in northern France. .

But what is perhaps less well recognized is the scale of the march north, and how not only the weather but also new varieties of grapes are helping to bring viticulture to regions better known for their snowy and icy winters, as stable conditions usually preferred for vineyards.

Sweden, Norway and Finland – which each have Arctic provinces – and Denmark have all witnessed the establishment of thriving wineries in recent years, and experts say the sector is growing rapidly.

Last month, scientists from the Finnish Meteorological Institute said the Arctic was now warming four times faster than the rest of the world. This process is due to a phenomenon known as “Arctic amplification”, in which melting sea ice allows more sunlight to be absorbed by darker water, resulting in less ice sea ​​level and further warming of the ocean. It also interacts with changing atmospheric moisture content and airflows, which together rapidly alter weather patterns in the Arctic and other northern regions.

Meanwhile, Spanish winemakers have been hit hard by drought and scorching heat waves, which have led to an early harvest and forced workers to pick grapes at night when it’s cool enough to work.

In Northern Europe, Sweden is the first Scandinavian country to push the limits of what is possible in viticulture.

Henrik Edval, co-founder of Nordic Vineyards, a marketplace for wines produced in Scandinavia, and in particular those grown in Sweden, said The Independent the past two decades had seen a boom in production, particularly of the hardy Solaris grape, used for white wines.

He said: “Sweden has been, despite its very cool climate in this context, an official wine country since 1999. Twenty years later things have started to move significantly, several different grape varieties are grown and Sweden has, with Solaris, got its own ‘grape.

“The Swedish vineyard covers a total of 100 to 150 hectares and [the sector] growing by 10 to 20% per year.

He added: “Many grapes adapted to the climate of the Nordic countries ripen early and new grapes are constantly being introduced.

Global warming has been “a driving factor” in opening more vineyards, Edval said, with warmer temperatures helping grapes ripen and produce better wines.

But also the increased availability of grapes that ripen earlier in the year has been a crucial part of how it is increasingly possible to grow vines in Scandinavia.

Talking about the size of the market, Mr. Edval said: “As of autumn 2020, there were around 30 established wine producers in Sweden, of which just under ten are slightly larger.

“Most commercial vineyards are growing rapidly and for 2022 a forecast of another 40 to 50 hectares is being planted.

“Most of the wine is still consumed in the countries of origin,” he said, but the market has seen a “sharp increase” in demand from mainland Europe, Asia and especially the United States. Japan.

“As production and winemaking increase, we expect growing demand from outside Sweden over the next few years.

In addition to red wines and dry white wines, the climate lends itself to the production of “ice wine” – an expensive type of desert wine that is largely made in Canada and Germany, and in which the grapes can be frozen while still on the vine.

In this method of production, the grape must is pressed while the fruit is still frozen, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated and very sweet juice. With icewines, freezing occurs before fermentation, not after, as in other sweet wines like Sauternes or Tokaj.

Professor Anna Mårtensson, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, said The Independent that viticulture was developing rapidly in Sweden.

“Sweden has an EU permit to cultivate 100 hectares, but I guess the area is now doubled, to 200 hectares.

She said that while many “producers try to emulate German/French wine”, many “have not also realized the potential of icewine culture”.

“It’s not very often nowadays that you have icewine conditions in Germany for example. This market is small but icewine is very expensive, so it doesn’t matter if you have a small production.”

Asked how long it will take until our climate-ravaged world means we’re sipping wine made in the Arctic Circle, Mr Edval said: “Chances are that as the climate changes and new grapes are introduced, as well as [more] hectares being cultivated, we will see greater production.

“There is also a difficult situation in southern Europe with the drought which has led to poor harvests. There will be no shortage of European wine in the years to come, but there will certainly be new growing wine regions.

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Pamplin Media Group – Grapes of math: New technology for vineyards https://dsharma.org/pamplin-media-group-grapes-of-math-new-technology-for-vineyards/ Wed, 31 Aug 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://dsharma.org/pamplin-media-group-grapes-of-math-new-technology-for-vineyards/ GFU students are developing an autonomous robot that could radically change the way vineyard owners predict their harvest. They call it the “Vitibot”. The name isn’t official, but a student designed a sticker with the name on it and it stuck – a clever combination of ‘viticulture’ (the science of grapes) and ‘robot’. One of […]]]>

GFU students are developing an autonomous robot that could radically change the way vineyard owners predict their harvest.

They call it the “Vitibot”. The name isn’t official, but a student designed a sticker with the name on it and it stuck – a clever combination of ‘viticulture’ (the science of grapes) and ‘robot’.

One of George Fox’s longest running high-level design projects for computer science and engineering students, the Vitibot is getting closer to the goal and a product the wine industry surrounding the university expects every year. looking forward: a rover that can autonomously traverse a vineyard, gathering image data, to accurately predict grape yield months before harvest.

A margin of error of 10-15% is considered a good estimate by most winemakers. Last year, the Vitibot predicted a return with a margin of error of 2-3%.

A Roomba for grapes

Each year, winemakers closely monitor their vines to predict the yield of grapes. Weather, soil, vine diseases and pests like birds and deer affect this yield – but regardless of these elements, vineyard owners need to know if they can meet their commitments to buyers and s they will end up with excess grapes. In the risky business of growing crops, their success depends on accurate prediction.

Iterations of the Vitibot have been around longer than most senior design projects, which typically start in the fall semester and end in the spring.

“I started here in 2015, and it was already a thing,” said computer science professor Brian Snider.

Bob Harder, dean of the College of Engineering, had brainstormed with local entrepreneurs and vineyard and winery owners, developing the technology for a few years before Snider came to the university.

“From the beginning, this was primarily a mechanical engineering project,” Snider said. “But Bob knew there was a need for machine learning and that’s where I got involved.”PHOTO COURTESY: CHRIS LOW - The Vitibot is self-contained and early testing shows it has a very low margin of error when predicting wine grape yields.

Two teams of seniors – new teams each year – worked in parallel with the Vitibot.

The hardware, or data collection, team of mechanical and electrical engineering students designed and built the rover.

The team of computer science and information systems, or data analytics, students worked on machine learning and autonomous navigation – artificial intelligence.

Finally, this year, the two teams merged into one, assembling mechanics and sensor data.

“And that’s when we had the thing to drive itself,” Snider said.

Snider and other College of Engineering professors envision a rover they can sell that has an array of sensors and can be maneuvered by remote control or piloted autonomously (currently the Vitibot uses LiDAR sensors for navigation and GoPro cameras for data collection).

“It’s like a Roomba, almost, but for your crops,” Snider said. “You let it roam the rows of vines on its own and collect data as you go.”

A community effort

To create a rover that could take digital images, feed those images into a machine learning model, and use the trained model to predict performance, the teams needed a proving ground. David and Jeanne Beck, owners of Crawford Beck Vineyard, voluntarily donated their vineyard. Scientists, researchers and educators themselves, they are also interested and invested in technology that can help their vineyard and the process of enabling students to learn.

The Vitibot’s accuracy in predicting grape yield depends on two things: weekly photos of the vines and machine learning built into the rover’s “brain.”

For the past three summers, a student or faculty advisor has walked the rows of Crawford Beck Vineyard, carrying an eight-foot hiking stick with three GoPro cameras attached. Every week, from July until the harvest in mid-September, they took a photo of each vine stock. Eighty-three plants per row, 21 rows, 10,000 pictures every week.

“We have an algorithm, a piece of code, that accepts images as input,” Snider said. “And we have code that learns the relevant numerical features from the images. That information comes in – we call it training data. Then, because we’re doing supervised learning, we tell it, ‘Given these images, here is the correct answer you should predict.'”

The “correct answer” given to the algorithm is the weight of the grapes at harvest. After uploading images all summer, the actual weight is added to the algorithm at the end of the season. This is where the Becks’ contribution figures prominently.

In most vineyards at harvest, workers crisscross the rows, cut the bunches of grapes and drop them into buckets, empty the buckets into bins, earning credit for each bucket they pick. It’s competitive and it’s fast. This saves labor costs.

But to validate the software of the rover, the premium is no longer on time; it’s about the accuracy of the weight of the harvest, not only by the vineyard, but also by the winery – in this case, Winderlea.

How the Vitibot goes from images to final weight of grapes, Snider can’t explain: “You don’t necessarily know what features it’s latching onto. Is he counting the grapes? How does he know? don’t need to know. We will let this algorithm learn what is relevant. ”

The numbers prove it works

“They’re ready to weigh all of these bins of harvested grapes and give us the data,” Snider said. “That’s what ties it all together and validates the success of the software.”

The process is time consuming but absolutely necessary to develop an accurate model. The Becks and Winderlea are ready.

“Their software is better than our actual measurements,” said David Beck. “We count the bunches and we weigh them, and we mark that up by the total number of vines. We make an informed calculation, but we make assumptions about the even distribution of fruit.

Like most winegrowers, Jeanne Beck takes care of forecasting the yield of the grapes herself. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and not as accurate as she would like.

“As for the margin of error that winegrowers want, the answer is zero!” she says. “That not being possible, we strive to both retain the work and achieve maximum precision. Given this inherent inaccuracy, some producers opt for optical assessments, going through the ranks and estimating with the naked eye. This is unsatisfactory, so we are constantly looking for better methods.

“And that’s the beauty of the work that George Fox’s students did. Their estimate was less than 98% of the harvest amount. Mine was only 72% of the harvest amount. Add to that labor savings and you can see how impressive this is.”

The Vitibot is not yet ready for the market, but the software has always produced accurate yield predictions and this year it was able to drive autonomously. “Now that we’ve broken through that wall, the next step is to take him to the vineyard every week and train him to drive in a real, real environment,” Snider said. “And we’re pretty optimistic that next year we’ll get there.”


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Local vineyards preparing for the invasion of the Dappled Lanterns https://dsharma.org/local-vineyards-preparing-for-the-invasion-of-the-dappled-lanterns/ Tue, 30 Aug 2022 10:07:23 +0000 https://dsharma.org/local-vineyards-preparing-for-the-invasion-of-the-dappled-lanterns/ ALBANY – Some Capital Region vineyard owners view the existence of the Mottled Lantern as a war in a foreign land: a distant threat, but one that could invade home soil within a year. Right now, they can’t do much against an enemy that hasn’t shown up for battle. In recent years, the spotted lanternfly […]]]>

ALBANY – Some Capital Region vineyard owners view the existence of the Mottled Lantern as a war in a foreign land: a distant threat, but one that could invade home soil within a year.

Right now, they can’t do much against an enemy that hasn’t shown up for battle.

In recent years, the spotted lanternfly has become a pretty but pesky thorn in the side of farmers across the country. The invasive pest has also earned itself local kill-on-sight orders, as major metropolitan areas, including New York, attempt to contain the spread of the invasive species.

Now experts are warning that the pest – native to Asia that first appeared in Pennsylvania in 2014 – could make inroads into upstate New York within two years, potentially causing millions of dollars of losses to major agricultural industries.

Vineyard owners interviewed by The Times Union offered varying views on what the pest could do to their crops. Local producer Gerry Barnhart said he was on the “very worried” end of the spectrum. Barnhart owns Victory View Vineyard in Washington County and all the grapes he uses to make his wine – one of the main prey of the spotted lanternfly – are grown on his seven-acre farm.

“If and when they get here, they could have a devastating impact on our vineyard,” Barnhart said. “At the moment, there aren’t a lot of good options on how to handle this.”

Other owners said they were too preoccupied with the day-to-day hassles of running a small business to prepare for such a distant enemy.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a priority,” said Jim Besha, owner of Clover Pond Vineyard in Altamont. “The everyday is in the foreground and the spotted lanternfly is somewhere out there. … Famous last words.”

The lantern was first detected in New York on Staten Island two years ago. It has since spread to the other four boroughs of New York and has also been found on Long Island and Syracuse and has started to move up towards the Hudson Valley.

From there, it’s only a matter of time, experts said.

“Wait for the next year or two and we’ll start to see the impact on vineyards across the state,” said Alejandro Calixto, director of New York’s Integrated Pest Management Program, which operates out of New York. ‘Cornell University.

The lantern feeds on several field crops, posing a risk to apples, grapes, maple and others, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

But “the biggest threat we see so far is the grape industry,” Calixto said, pointing to economic estimates from Pennsylvania grape growers showing losses of $50 million to $400 million a year. “It’s going to cost them money.”

New York produces more than 30 million bushels of apples each year, while grapes in New York are valued at an annual harvest of $52.8 million, according to the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Some estimates have even cited over $6 billion in total economic impact from grapes and wineries in the state.

The good news is that experts can make fairly accurate predictions about where the pest is likely to appear in the next few years, using a mapping program monitored by Cornell researchers, Calixto said.

The way forward will rely heavily on prevention and monitoring, Calixto said. Program specialists conduct weekly observations at vineyards across the state and coordinate efforts with local communities and county offices to get the message out: if you see a spotted lanternfly, kill it, then report it. the state.

“Just being ahead of the game with early detection and eradication is what we want to do at this point to slow the spread,” Calixto said.

Some owners even recruit their customers to help them. John Sheehan, owner of Meadowdale Winery in Altamont, said he was handing out cards with photos of the lantern and instructions on how to handle finding the insect.

And while homeowners resign themselves to the impending threat, some also live by the adage “forewarned is forewarned.”

In winter and off-season at the vineyard, Don Dunbar of Middleburgh Winery in Schoharie County said he plans to build up his knowledge of the pest and how best to fight it so he can prepare for it.

“It’s not good…not if you like wine,” Dunbar said. “We’re just going to have to learn to deal with that, I guess.”

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