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2011 East Coast Weather and Vintage Thread


Jeff White
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Thought I'd start one for this year. This will be different than last year's. Hopefully, I won't be the only contributor and posts will be short but more often with whatever is interesting and happening as it relates to winegrowing.

Cold, down in the 20's last night but should reach 40 by mid afternoon. A wee bit of snow predicted for tomorrow. Almost finished pruning our 2009 Merlot plantings.

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Thought I'd start one for this year. This will be different than last year's. Hopefully, I won't be the only contributor and posts will be short but more often with whatever is interesting and happening as it relates to winegrowing.

Cold, down in the 20's last night but should reach 40 by mid afternoon. A wee bit of snow predicted for tomorrow. Almost finished pruning our 2009 Merlot plantings.

Can you explain how you decided on which grapes to grow in your region? I would be interested in your analysis. TIA.

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Can you explain how you decided on which grapes to grow in your region? I would be interested in your analysis. TIA.

Sure but it wasn't too analytical. Also, keep in mind that Virginia, as a viticultural region is in it's infancy and it will probably take a generation or two to figure out precisely what wine grape varieties are best suited to all of the varying soils and microclimates that make up this winegrowing region. It takes about ten years after planting to tell if you've correctly matched variety with soil/site and you must be willing to pull the planting back out and start over if you get it wrong.

When I entered this industry back in 1993, I knew absolutely nothing about winegrowing. I spoke with established growers to discover what was working for them and to winery owners to see what varieties they were interested in buying. Virginia Tech had established a variety trial vineyard in Winchester and made recommendations available. I also grow what I like to drink, Sauvignon Blanc and red Bordeaux varieties. I did once grow Chardonnay and still wish I could but was forced to pull out 2.5 acres due to a virus.

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I've just returned from a winter wonderland trip up into New England and am now back in the saddle and prunning again. Almost finished with our young plantings and I'm so glad as my old knees are sore. The fruiting wire is only two feet off the ground so we spend all day on our knees to head prune at about a foot and a half, leaving two canes to later wrap around this low wire. Just curious who out there cane versus spur prune and why. I've moved away from spur prunning to reduce mite habitat along the old knarred cordons, plus reduce the amount of permanent wood where carbohydrate reserves are stored for the vines use this season, thus reducing vigor in the plant. Also instead of making twenty cuts we now only make two, reducing the number of potential pathogen entry points.

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Driving home yesterday evening from Pennsylvania after attending Super Premium Wine Production Seminar featuring renowned California winegrowers Andy Erickson and Jeff Newton. Just as I came back into Virginia, saw large flocks of Canada geese heading north. They're about a month earlier than in 2010.

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After a very warm week with highs in the upper 60s, flirting with the low 70s, it's cooling off fast with terrifically high winds today which are fanning flames in an incredibly large forest fire just south our farm. Appears to have started on private property but now moving fast, way up the mountain and into the National Park. My hat is off to all those out there fighting this one. Be safe.

3:25 pm - Forest fire update. This thing has exploded and crossed to the east side of the mountain. Bright orange glowing smoke billowing up high into the otherwise blue sky. Property and lives are at stake all because some fool decided today was a good day to strike a match.

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