Grapevine Flowers

Did you know that grapevines have flowers? Just like other types of fruit, grapes start as flowers.  All of our vines are currently in the flowering stage and it’s really exciting to see so many flowers out in the vineyard right now.

The picture is of a Niagara flower.  The flowers need to be pollinated to produce the grapes.  Pollination of grapevines is done by the wind, not by bees.  Most of the vines can pollinate within the varietal (varietals are they type of grape).  However, there are some that require other varieties for pollination.   St. Pepin is one variety that needs to be close to another variety for pollination.  Ours are between the St. Pepin and the St. Croix.  Some, like Brianna, can self pollinate, but can benefit from surrounding varietals.

It will be a week or two and we’ll see grapes in place of the flowers.  Can’t wait!!


Time to Remove the Suckers

We’re in the early stages of crafting our 2017 wines.  For wines prepared from grapes, it all starts in the vineyard.  An excellent harvest of grapes depends on good vineyard management.    In an earlier blog, I talked about pruning the vines while they are still dormant.  Well, once the vines start to grow in the spring, many of the grapevine varieties develop suckers. Suckers are new buds that produce shoots in the trunk of the vine.   If you look at Picture 1 below, you’ll see lots of shoots with leaves on the trunk that do not belong there.

Picture 1 – Vine with suckers.

First, these shoots (or suckers) take nutrients from the plant.  We want the nutrients to go to the upper vine where we want the fruit to grow and mature.

Secondly, in Ohio, we need to spray for mold and insects.   While we found we can’t grow grapes without spraying, we can do our best to limit the amount of spray and eliminating suckers is one way to accomplish that goal.  Otherwise, you’re using spray on shoots that will not be used in the production of grapes.

Today was a wonderful morning to be out in the vineyard working.   In just a few hours, we were able to remove the suckers from most of our vines.  Picture 2 shows the same vine as Picture 1 minus the suckers.

Picture 2 – Vine without suckers.

In addition to pulling the suckers, we have a great chance to inspect the vines.   We look for any winter injury or other damage.  They looked great today, so we are excited about our future 2017 vintage wines!