Thursday, September 26, 2019

Vandal Cliche Grape

We have been experimenting with Vandal Cliche for several years and it has proven itself at our vineyard time and again.
This grape was created in Quebec by Joseph Vandal and Mario Cliche to match the harsh winter climate and relatively short growing season there. It definately has winter hardiness and does well even to -30 to -35 celcius. Like the cold Quebec climate I have seen it proven to be grown in climates such as Edmonton, Alberta as well. It is also pretty good at with standing fungal pressure and we have never experience fungus on this grape. Its a pretty big producer at about 100 grams/clusters and 2 per shoot. We crop this one at 5-6 shoots per trellis foot.

It can ripen to 20-21 brix and easily does so at our site at 1000+ degree days celcius and 150 frost free days and it has high malic acid so ML fermentation is usually needed.  Those who have produced this grape for years and make wine from it commercially suggest it is best harvested early, around 16-17 brix. Apparently this grape accumulates more labruska notes as it matures.

So if one were to harvest this grape at 16-17 brix, for our location, this is at about 130 frost free days and about 900 degree days growing. On September 14, 2019 at the vineyard it was already showing 16 brix. In 2018, it was 17 brix by September 10th.  It may be a really good white grape for shorter season locations with harsher winter climates. 

Ive tasted a few of these wines made from Vandal Cliche and they are very nice, crisp, citrus and neutral, but again - nice. Thank you Mr. Vandal and Mr. Cliche.  See link for more info on this variety.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Grape Splitting

One of the things that can happen with some grape varieties is that they are prone to splitting. For those varieties that experience this it happens during the ripening stage and often after a big rain.

As the grapes ripen there are a number of things that happen that collectively can converge in disaster for grapes prone to splitting. First off as the grapes ripen they swell with juice and the skin softens. This is also the same time of sugar accumulation and acids drop in the juice.

The biggest issue is the on-set of bunch rot or sour rot from fungal pressure that a avails itself from the split in the grape skin. This often occurs after a big rain as the vine takes up the moisture and transfers it to already swollen grapes...the result is some of the grapes on the bunch can split open.

Ravat 34 with split grape in centre of the bunch

So this is where the problems start as the same conditions that contribute to the grapes splitting..that is the rain and associated high humidity and cooler weather are the same conditions that spur on the growth of bunch rot and sour rot.

Once the grape splits open, the opening invites the mold spores to grow in the low acid high sugar environment in the ripening grape.

Hard to stop without fungal spray but some cultural practices like shoot thining and bunch area leaf removal are known to help by allowing better air flow and sunlight around the bunches.

Ravat 34 is prone to this, and Colmar a bit as well but less so. So we pull the leaves ftom around the clusters when they start to ripen.

Ravat 34 with leaf removal around clusters

Sunday, September 15, 2019

September 2019 Grape Ripeness

So far so good, as of September 13 the grapes are ripening well and on par with most years. As usual we could just about be harvesting the Evangeline and Seyval Blanc as both are looking good. The Marquette is not far behind followed by Triompe D'Alsace, Leon Millot and Marechal Foch. Here is what the sugar numbers look like so far...with z few photos as well

Leon Millot - 17 brix
Marechal Foch - 17 brix
Ravat 34 - 14 brix
L'Acadie Blanc - 17 brix
Marquette - 19 brix
Petite Milo - 18 brix
Evangeline - 20 brix
Colmar - 18 brix
Triompe D'Alsace - 17 brix
Lucy Kuhlman - 19 brix
Cayuga - 14 brix
Pinot Noir - 15 brix
Castel - 18 brix
Sovereign Ruby - 16 brix
St. Croix - 16 brix
Vandal Cliche - 16 brix
Seyval Blanc - 19 brix

L'Acadie Blanc

Leon Millot

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

New Grape Vines From Grape Seeds

Every so often I see that some of the grapes that have dropped from the vine end up growing into vines. This is often how new varieties of grapes have emerged over the years.

Grape vines are of course the offspring of two different grapes types and the offspring carries genetic components from both parents. When breeding grape vines the breeders will have hundreds if not thousands of seedlings that emerge from crossing two grape vines. The grapes that result from the cross are then planted and those that grow are raised for a few years to see what genetic components they carry. 

Each seed represents a different potential grape vine and often grapes from the same cluster on a vine will produce entirely different grape vines when the seeds grow into vines.

We often see small vines starting to grow under the established grape vines in a row. They usually dont amount to much as they are over taken by weeds or if they get too big we pull them out.

However, have a look at the small grape vines growing in the picture below, you can clearly see the difference in leaf colour for the seedlings growing side by side that have emerged.  These seedling came from grapes that fell off of the Marechal Jofffre vines - probably from the same cluster.

Marechal Joffre is a cross between 101-14 MGt and Goldriesling.  The genetic traits that these  sibling vines are showing already are very different. It would be interesting to see what type of grape they produce. Marechal Joffree is a blue grape but perhaps the grapes from one of these seedlings could be green. The Goldriesling is an old vinifera and if you could see the leaf tips of the light green vine it does have more of a vinifera appearance, however the leaves are less of a vinifera appearence.

We may keep a few of these around just to see what happens with them.