Monday, September 23, 2013

Edmonton Grapes Nearly Ripe

2013 hasn't been a warm summer in Edmonton, and we've had more rain and hail than we've had in years.  The hail was particularly troublesome and caused extensive damage to the leaves and grape clusters.  The leaf damage has resulted in a bit of a delay in ripening and the cluster damage has meant we've been trimming damaged fruit as we see it so it doesn't rot and damage the whole cluster.

Here is some nice St. Croix clusters,

Having said that were getting there and a few more weeks and we'll have some nice grapes for a rose'.  This year were going to crush and press and go straight to a rose'.  The juice from the St. Croix is quite highly coloured as it is and will be a darker colour for rose. The St.Croix is at about 12-13 brix right now so if we're lucky we'll get it up to 16-17brix over the next 2 weeks

We've had other challenges recently aside from the hail and rain as the birds found our grapes and we've had to net them.  Despite the netting, a few seem to get in here and there and one can see the advantage of a higher cordon for training the vines and netting that is secured just under the higher cordon.  Our vines are close to the ground and the netting drapes to the ground and is anchored here and there with ties.  But the birds seem to find there way under the netting.

We didn't have enough netting to cover the Joffre so we actually picked it on September 21st at 18 brix and 3.0 ph.  Pretty amazing early grape.  We only got about 3 lbs from the vine but the birds must have already taken 2lbs. Have it frozen until we pick the St. Croix and will add it to that lot. Considering the die back for this variety in the -35c temperatures over the previous winter, this is great.  Joffre shouldn't withstand much colder than -30 but we did have some good snow cover and it was early to harden off last fall.

On the other hand the Acadie is looking good and is already at 14-15 brix.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New Grape Press from Musca Wines

At our test vineyard we have so many varieties but don't produce a huge amount of grapes from any one variety except Leon Millot.  Often we'll only produce 11 litres of wine from the small batches.  Problem is we have a #45 grape press and it is really too big for small batches of grapes.

This year we have purchased a new grape press from Musca Wines Ltd.  .  Musca is based in Ottawa, Ontario and offers a complete source of wine making supplies including wine presses. Their prices are the best I could find on the internet, their service fantastic, and they will deliver across Canada.  My new #25 press, cost only $286 (including delivery to Edmonton) and arrived in about 5 days.  if you need wine making supplies it is worth your while to contact them.

Wasps Destroying the Grapes

The early grapes, high sugars and heat are the perfect conditions for wasps to invade the vineyard.  Usually we don't have this issue as the grapes are just coming into ripeness and high sugar as the cold weather is approaching.

This year is an exception and the wasps were destroying the grapes.  Fortune would have it that i still had the old nets that i started with from Kootenay Covers.  They have small aperture openings that do not let the wasps or larger insects in.

Instead of putting out the bird netting I put out these nets instead and hopefully it will keep the wasps away. Thus far they had nearly taken all the Lucy Kuhlman grapes.  I swatted a few of them and they are all full of grape juice, and they are easy to hit as they are so full of juice as to be barely able to fly.

Unfortunately in this case the vineyard has grown and I did not have enough of the Kootenay Covers netting to cover all the vines.  What was interesting is that once I covered the all the grapes I could, the wasps then went on to locate other grapes in the vineyard that were still exposed and began to eat those ones - even those that normally would not have attracted them as they are not yet quite as high in sugars as the Lucy Kuhlman.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Grapes Looking Good Sept 2013

With excellent heat the vines are really far ahead in terms of ripening the grapes this year. 
Here is where we are at for Brix as of Sept 8, 2013
Grape              Brix     PH
Castel              15
Leon Millot     17        2.8
Evangeline       18       2.8
Ravat 34          12
Foch                 15
Lucy Kuhlm     15
Triompe            16
Acadie               14
Colmar              16
Petit Milo           16

Here is some pictures;
Ravat 34

Leon Millot

Evangeline (this was a smaller cluster, most are a lot bigger than this one)