Ohio Grape-Wine Electronic Newsletter

Editor: Imed Dami, PhD
Assistant Professor and Extension Viticulture Specialist
Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center
1680 Madison Avenue
Wooster, OH 44691-4096
Phone: (330)-263-3882
Fax: (330)-263-3887
E-mail: dami.1@osu.edu

22 March 2007

Results of OGEN Survey
2007 Ohio Wine Competition
Pruning Considerations Following Winter Injury
Tips for Pruning Grapevines
Ohio Grape & Wine Industry Facts

Results of the OGEN Survey
By: Imed Dami, HCS-OARDC
In January, I conducted an on-line questionnaire to evaluate OGEN and its usefulness to subscribers. There were approximately 130 subscribers and sixty eight (68) responded to the questionnaire. I’d like to thank all who took time out of their busy schedule to respond. Here are the results of the questionnaire.
- 60% of OGEN subscribers are existing grape and wine producers; 25% are researchers and Extension educators; and the remainders are potential producers contemplating to establish a vineyard and/or winery in the near future.
-  75% of subscribed producers grow wine grapes, 15% grow juice grapes and 10% grow table grapes.
-  86% of subscribed producers have their vineyard and/or winery located in Ohio.
-  Vineyard operations of subscribed grape growers range from small- to large-size with the majority (58%) in the small size range (1 to 5 acres); 30% in the medium range (6 to 50 acres); and 12% in the large to very large range (51 to 100+ acres).
-  Wineries follow similar pattern with the majority (76%) in the small to medium scale range (< 3,000 to 12,000 gal.); 10% in the medium range (12,001 to 30,000 gal.); and 14% in the large to very large scale (30,001 to 60,000+ gal.).
- 82% of subscribers found the information in OGEN “Important” to “Very important”.
- 45% (majority of responses) like to see OGEN “Monthly”.
- 82 % indicated that the content of OGEN is a “Good mix”.
- Articles they like to read and see more in OGEN listed in order of highest to lowest preference: Viticulture, Grape diseases and management, Grape insects and management, Grape weeds and management, Enology, Weather data, and Calendar of events.
-  96% of subscribed producers indicated they apply the information provided in OGEN to their operations.
-  83% of responses showed that producers who applied the information from OGEN helped their operations by changing and/or improving management practices; 10% by increasing production; and 8% by decreasing cost.
-  67% of subscribed producers indicated that information in OGEN saved them money and/or increased profit in their vineyards as follows: 80% estimated savings between <$100 to $500/acre; and 20% estimated savings between $1001 and $5000/acre.
-  In the winery, 55% reported a saving of <$100 to $500; and 45% estimated savings between $500 and $5,000.
-  When asked how the information in OGEN saved them money or increased their profit, subscribed producers reported the following: 62% of responses by “improved vineyard practices”; 42% by “improved fruit quality and crop value”, 35% by “improved wine quality and value”, 31% by “improved winery practices”, 35% by “improved pest control”, and 35% by “avoiding costly mistakes”.


The 2007 Ohio Wine Competition – Mark Your Calendars!

By: Todd Steiner, Competition Coordinator, HCS-OARDC
It’s once again time for the annual 2007 Ohio Wine Competition. With the 2006 Ohio Wine Competition breaking numerous records, we are looking forward to evaluating the quality wines that the Ohio commercial wine industry is capable of producing and adding to these record-breaking statistics for this year’s competition.
The 2007 Ohio Wine Competition will mark a new era in history by including wines to be evaluated under the Ohio Quality Assurance Program. A separate mailing from the Ohio Grape Industries Committee has been sent to all commercial wineries in Ohio indicating further guidelines and stipulations of this program. It is important to realize that including wines for the Ohio Quality Wine Assurance Program has not changed the importance or validity of the Ohio Wine Competition. All wines entering the Ohio Wine Competition scoring high enough as rated by our panel of seven experienced judges will continue to experience both marketing and educational benefits as in the past through medals awarded in addition to chemical analysis and judges comments. All wines entered into the Ohio Wine Competition regardless of being submitted for only the Ohio Wine Competition or the Ohio Quality Wine Seal are randomly coded, presented in the proper category and flight order and evaluated on a standard twenty-point scale used in most competitions throughout the United States. Many of the wines to be designated for the Ohio Quality Wine Seal have been entered in past Ohio Wine Competitions and will not change the format greatly in the future. In regards to the Ohio Quality Assurance Program, there will be additional submittal times under the same judging format to answer bottling of specific releases at different dates in addition to resubmitted entries.
The Ohio Wine Competition will take place May 14-16, 2007 at Fisher Auditorium on the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) campus located in Wooster Ohio. The competition is open to all Federally (TTB) bonded, Ohio A-2 permit holders operating in the state of Ohio. A panel of seven highly trained experienced judges will evaluate the wines submitted on a standard twenty-point scale. The high and low scores are dropped for each wine forming an average score from five out of the seven judges. The panel of seven experienced judges has been contacted and expecting to participate pending their schedules.
Once again, The Ohio Grape Industries Committee will help in subsidizing a portion of the 2007 Ohio Wine Competition enabling lower entry fees for the Ohio commercial wine industry. The purpose of lowering the entry fees is to help the new and/or smaller wineries in submitting their wines for evaluation.
A mailing will be sent within the next week to all commercial wineries in Ohio explaining further details including an entry form for submission of wines into the 2007 Ohio Wine Competition and Ohio Quality Wine Assurance Program.
If you are a manufacturing A-2 permit holder and do not receive an entry form packet in the mail or have specific questions regarding The Ohio Wine Competition format and procedure, please feel free to contact Todd Steiner at (330) 263-3881.
Good Luck!

Pruning Considerations Following Winter Injury
By: Imed Dami, HCS-OARDC
Freezing Events in February and Impact:
Many vineyards in Ohio experienced below 0F temperatures in February. Concerned growers contacted me and reported temperatures in the range of -1F to -8F. Our research vineyard at OARDC in Wooster experienced -6F and at AARS in Kingsville temperature dropped to -2F on February 6th. Freezing test results conducted at OARDC indicated that grapevines were at maximum hardiness when extreme low temperatures occurred. This means, thankfully, that a small percent of bud damage may have taken place. It is important to realize, however, that site, cultural practices, and freeze resistance of grape varieties affect cold hardiness of vine parts. For example, overcropped vines will experience severe damage even with milder temperatures. Low-lying sites with poor drainage will also experience increased cold damage. And finally, most tender varieties (such as Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot noir) will experience more damage than other vinifera or hybrids. 
Assessing Bud Damage Prior to Pruning?
When temperatures below 0F take place, it is prudent for growers to collect canes and assess bud damage prior to pruning. Many have already pruned hardy varieties and are in the process to move to vinifera. Here are guidelines for bud damage assessment and pruning adjustment. 
- Collect enough canes to yield 100 “representative” nodes per variety. By representative, I mean evaluate nodes that you would otherwise retain as spurs or canes when pruning.
- Place canes indoor to thaw for 48-72 hours.
- Using a sharp razor blade, cut across the bud tip at a third or half of its height.    
- Visually assess if the primary bud (largest size) is alive (green color) or dead (brown). You may also evaluate the status of secondary buds if many primary buds are dead.
- A data sheet could be used to record and compute bud mortality as a percent.
- Conduct bud damage assessment for each variety separately and sometimes for each block of same variety separately (for example one block of Chardonnay on top of the hill will likely have different bud damage than a block of same variety at the bottom of the hill).
- If primary bud damage = 0 to 14% then no adjustment of pruning is needed.
- If primary bud damage = 15 to 34% then leave about 35% extra buds. For example if you prune to leave 30 buds/vine, and bud damage = 20% then leave an extra 35% or 40 buds/vine. 
- If primary bud damage = 35 to 50% then double the number of buds retained.
- If primary bud damage >50% then it is best to minimally prune vines by hedging. The likelihood of cordon and trunk damage increases at the 50% damage or higher. You need to watch those vines closely in mid spring to assess the extent of trunk damage.

Tips for Pruning Grapevines
By: Imed Dami, HCS-OARDC
The Viticulture program at OSU conducted two pruning workshops in January and February and nearly 45 growers attended these events. In case you missed these workshops, here are tips that I presented during the workshops. If you would like handouts on pruning, please contact me or Dave Scurlock and we will be glad to send you a copy.

What to Prune and Retain? Since the fruit is borne on buds of one-year-old wood (called cane), canes with fruitful buds should be retained during pruning. These canes are selected based on the following criteria: good sun exposure during the previous growing season. These canes are located outside of the vine canopy and thus called “sun canes”.  “Shade canes” which do not have good sun exposure should be removed. The canes should be healthy and free from diseases. The best canes have a good periderm (bark) coloring with relatively short internodes (4”-6”) and have a cane diameter of ¼” to ½”. Large-sized canes, called “bull canes” should be removed because they are more susceptible to cold injury.
Spur or Cane Pruning? Spur pruning consists of pruning canes to a length of 1 to 5 buds or nodes. Cane pruning consists of pruning canes to a length of 10 to 15 buds or nodes. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of cane pruning:
-  Mid-cane buds (nodes 4-12) more fruitful in some varieties (Labrusca sp. ‘Concord’)
-  Less shoot crowding
Disadvantages of cane pruning:
-  Labor intensive (50 hr/A) thus more costly
-  Low % bud break and not uniform
-  Used only with vine spacing < 6 feet
-  Not easily mechanized
Advantages of spur pruning:
-   High % bud break and uniform
-   Less labor and fast (30 hr/A)
-   Use of wider vine spacing
-   Ease of mechanization
-   Better recovery system after winter injury
-   Basal nodes are hardier than apical nodes
Disadvantages of spur pruning:
-    Varieties with low fruitful buds at base (node 1-4)
-    Not recommended in areas with frequent cold injury 
How Much to Prune? Unpruned vines can have 400-600 buds. If not pruned, grapevines will produce a large crop with poor fruit quality. Besides, the vines will have poor cane maturation, thus poor winter hardiness, and yields and vigor will decline the following season.  To avoid this situation, it is a common practice to prune 90% of canes each year. The concept of “balanced pruning” was developed to assist growers in determining the appropriate number of buds to retain. Balanced pruning consists of adjusting the number of buds retained in order to produce maximum yields with high fruit quality and without sacrificing vine health. The number of buds retained depends on vine size, which is measured by weighing pruned canes and using a “pruning formula” for a given variety. Pruning formulas are listed in the “Midwest Grape Production Guide”. A pruning formula of 20 + 20 means 20 buds are retained for the first pound of canes removed and 20 more buds for each additional pound of prunings removed. For example, Chardonnay trained on a low bilateral cordon training system with 6 foot vine spacing, has a pruning weight of 2 pounds. According to the pruning formula of 20 + 20 = 40 buds should be retained. In general, the pruning formulas work well for American and vinifera varieties. However, some French Hybrids tend to overcrop (fruitful count and non-count buds) and using the pruning formula alone to control yield is not adequate.  In this case, balance pruning should be followed by cluster thinning. Examples of varieties which require cluster thinning include Chambourcin, Chancellor, Seyval and Vidal.

Are your Vines Balanced? The following table lists guidelines for growers to assess whether their mature vines are balanced. This balance is gauged by “vine size”, “crop size”, and the ratio between the two called “crop load”.  Vine size is measured by weighing cane pruning per vine (in pounds) during the dormant season. Crop size is the yield per vine (in pounds) measured at harvest. Crop load is the ratio of crop size / vine size.

Facts about the Ohio Grape and Wine Industry
Imed Dami, HCS-OARDC
Following my presentation at the Ohio Grape and Wine Conference on Feb 12-13, many requested the slides about the statistics of the Ohio grape and wine industry. I think it is also important for O-GEN subscribers to know our industry by the numbers. So, I have attached a PDF file of those slides. As the adage says “Knowledge is Power!” Here is an excerpt:
- Did you know that Ohio is ranked 8th in the country in grape acreage and production?
- Did you know that 80% of grapes produced in Ohio are processed into juice and just under 20% into wine?
- Did you know that there are more than 90 wineries in Ohio?
- Did you know that Ohioans consume 18 million gallons of wine each year and our wineries produce about 600,000 gallons (less than 4% of market share)?