Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bud Break 2012

The winter was mild this year but with less snow cover than usual. Bud break was between May 17th and May 25th with Petite Milo and Colmar comming first and Evangeline and Triompe d'Alsace the latest. Overall the vines survived quite well with the exceptions of Regent, Cabernet Foch, Cabernet Libre, and Ortega.  Again these died back significantly and while they are pushing buds they are starting out from canes close to the ground.  I believe that these varieties are all excellent grapes vines but for our climate, soil and conditions they have not proven suitable for our site.

This is exactly why we are experimenting with over 20 varieties and we are starting to see some that are proving well at our location.  The Ravat 34 consistently does well, is disease resistant and produces and ripens grapes every year - providing I don't over crop it as in 2011.  As the Rvaat 34 comes into bud break, I see that over cropped Ravat 34 last year has reduced some of the vines hardiness in bud and cane survival.  Overall it did fine but I notice the bud and cane survival is a bit less than in other years and again I'm attributing this to having over cropped the fruit and canes on this variety in 2011.  see bud break on the Ravat 34 below.

The Leon Millot does alright but it is not as consistent as the Ravat in bud/cane survival and this is very important with this variety.  The clusters are so small that you need alot of producing buds to produce a decent and balanced crop load.  I'm not getting this consistency but some of the other Kulhman varieties are showing well and show both good bud and cane survival including Lucy Kuhlman, Marechal Foch, and Colmar Precoce Noir.  Colmar Precoce and Lucy Kuhlman bud out quite early.  See Colmar Precoce Noir below;

Castel and Evangeline are doing quite well with great cane and bud survival. We're hoping for some good clusters on both these this year to assess the juice chemestry. The Acadie is comming along pretty good also and we will be adding Acadie where we pull out some of the Cab libre and Cab Foch vines this year.  We still have the Zweigelt and Pinot Noir but they struggle at our site.  Another vine that is doing well is the Petite Milo.  It has good disease resistance and bud/cane survival.  It buds out early but like the Castel, Lucy Kuhlman and Colmar Precoce Noir, our latest frosts don't seem to be enough to damage them.  See Petite Milo below.  Perhaps in years to come a late hard cold frost might cause problems.

We're going to be adding a new variety this year to replace the Ortega.  It is Vandal Cliche and was created in Quebec, Canada.  It is cold hardy, disease resitant and produces huge crops of white wine grapes that produce a neutral wine.  I've had Cliche before and it is a very nice wine.