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
Results of OGEN
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,
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
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT OGEN SUBSCRIBERS:
- 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
- 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
- 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+
VALUE AND USEFULNESS OF OGEN:
- 82% of subscribers found the information in OGEN “Important” to “Very
- 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.
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF OGEN:
- 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
- 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
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
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
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
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.
Pruning Considerations Following Winter Injury
By: Imed Dami,
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
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
- 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
- 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.
for Pruning Grapevines
By: Imed Dami,
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
Advantages of cane pruning:
- Mid-cane buds (nodes 4-12) more fruitful in some varieties (Labrusca sp.
- 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
about the Ohio Grape and Wine Industry
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)?