Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Edmonton Grapes Sept 17, 2014

We had a hard frost last week and lost alot of leaves even though the vines were covered.  We recorded -3c overnight for several hours and hence the damage.  That cold weather has passed and we have had a week of warm weather and looks like two or three more weeks of nice weather on the way.  The Joffre is 18 brix with brown seeds and Evangeline is 19 brix with brown seeds.

The St. Croix and Acadie are currently at 14 brix and 15 brix respectively and could use the next few weeks of warm weather to ripen a bit more. St Croix and Acadie pictured below;
We may even get 3 weeks before the next hard frost that will end the season so we are on track to get to the ripeness we are seeking. We try for 17-18 brix for the St. Croix for our Rose' and 18-19 Brix for the Acadie white.  We usually get about 1.5-2 brix per week increase at this stage of ripeness so those levels should be attainable.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Edmonton Grapes Sept 8 ,2014

We had snow today.  Yes that is crazy and this early cold snap is continuing for the next few days.  We will probably have over night lows in the -2 to -3c so I have  covered the grapes with hopes of getting a few more weeks of ripening.  Not unusual to have a cold snap first or second week of September (see September 2010 link). I usually have to cover the grapes every year to try to extend the season a few weeks.

With short seasons and low heat like we have in Edmonton short season varieties are a must.  In Edmonton we grow Baltica, Joffre, Evangeline, St.Croix and Acadie.  The St.Croix and Acadie are later ripening as we need them to continue ripening until the end of September.  If we get to the end of September then we can get 18-19 brix and acceptable ph and acids for wine making of various styles.
Joffre - Pictured below at 16-17 brix September 8th, 2014

 Evangeline pictured below at 17-18 brix September 8, 2014
On the other hand, the Baltica, Joffre and Evangeline are ready to pick now with sugar and acids in parameters acceptable for wine making.  The Joffre is at 16-17 Brix and the Evangeline is at 17 Brix.  The Baltica is at 15-16 brix (its in a shady spot and i'd expect it to be a bit higher brix in a sunny spot). 

The Joffre is excellent, the only drawback is that it needs to be trellised very close to the ground or taken off the trellis and layed  down and pinned to the ground so that the winter cold doesn't kill damage the trunk and canes.  The Evangeline and Baltica is more hardy and can withstand some of the cold but will experience dieback on the cane to the snow line.  Pretty much everything else under the snow survives well.  Same goes for the Acadie and the St. Croix.

I've covered the Evangeline, Joffre and Baltica as I want to extend the season and get the sugars up to around 20 brix and drop the acid on the Joffree.  There is the difference on the Evangeline in that while both Joffre and Evangeline have similar brix at this point, the Evangeline acid has already dropped and is pretty much perfect for a fruity while muscat style wine.  The Joffre is good now for a rose' but the acid is too high for traditional red wine so if I get two more weeks of ripening - fantastic, if not its going to be a rose' this year.