Evaluating a 'soft pesticide' program for wine grapes in the Great Lakes region for 2024

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2024: $11,154.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2026
Grant Recipient: Shady Lane Cellars
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Andrew Fles
Shady Lane Cellars


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal summary:

As a farm that looks to use sustainably sourced and produced
materials, and also materials that are highly food-safe, we are
very interested in incorporating natural, organic, or reduced
risk pesticides in our program.  However, these products
must also prove to be effective.  We are growing grapes in a
much more humid and wet environment than where much of the
product efficacy trials have been conducted.  We have had
issues with sour rot and botrytis with several varieties in many
of our previous vintages and have had to leave fruit in the field
because of it.  At times, compromised fruit quality will
lower the grade and thus price of the fruit that is sold, or if
it is used in-house then additional treatments may be necessary
to rid the juice of contaminants before fermentation
occurs.   Mites have also affected yield.

We are interested in trialing several new products that claim
efficacy on three of our largest pathogens affecting fruit
quality, powdery mildew, botrytis, and sour rot.   We
will rate the efficacy of these new products on a farm scale,
alongside a 'conventional synthetic' program.  We will work
with MSU researchers to rate product efficacy.  

Project objectives from proposal:

A primary objective is to reduce the impacts of pesticides in the
vineyard ecosystem, the surrounding environment, and on the
vineyard workers.  Another objective is to investigate more
effective products for bunch rots, thus allowing for greater
yield and increased quality parameters.  We are also seeking
to grow grapes with less chemical residues at time of

This trial will compare a 'soft chemistry' spray program to that
of a 'conventional synthetic'.  The soft chemistry program
will contain many newly released products that Shady Lane has
limited or no experience with, while the conventional program
will be made up of products that we have used in the past. 
Please see below for the spray schedule with list of
products.  The newer organic and soft pesticide products,
such as ProBlad Verde, are touted to be approaching efficacy to
that of some older synthetic materials.  Some of the older
synthetics have also shown disease resistance to certain
diseases. Products such as Cinnerate, a cinnamon oil based
pesticide, is very soft on beneficial insects while suffocating

The varieties being evaluated are Riesling, Pinot noir, and
Vignole.  Each variety will have a 2 acre plot for soft
chemistry and a 2 acre plot for conventional, thus totaling 6
acres for each treatment.  This works well as I have a 300
gallon sprayer, and I will standardize all spray apps at 50
gal/acre, a common volume per acre.  I will be doing much of
the loading, mixing, and applications, and I have an experienced
vineyard crew member who can also perform applications as
needed.  The applications will follow standard vineyard
phenological timing. 

Upon completion of the respective spray programs, and just prior
to harvest each variety, we will be working with the labs of Dr.
Tim Miles, and plant pathology researcher at Michigan State
University, Dr. Rufus Isaacs, an Entomology researcher at MSU,
and Esmaeil Nasrollahiazar of MSU Extension to review disease
incidence per vine, and also per berry within a sample of 100
clusters per plot.  Their labs will compile a % disease
incidence report for each treatment within each variety.  In
addition, Esmaeil has lab equipment able to do residue testing,
and he will perform a series of residue tests on each treatment
to test for the amounts of chemical residues on the

Proposed ‘Soft’ pesticide Treatment Schedule, 2024


Dormant App- Dormant oil



1-2” shoot- Badge SC (copper)
(possibly late May)

6-12” shoot- Badge SC

(Possible 18-24” shoot app,
weather dependent)- Serenade Opti, Rose chafer chem?

Pre-bloom- ProBlad Verde



Postbloom- Cinnerate

Buckshot berry/pea size berry-
Cinnerate + Badge + Intrepid



Pea size berry/berry touch-
Serenade Opti

Veraison- ProBlad Verde



15 Brix- ProBlad Verde,

Preharvest- Jet Ag (x2)


Proposed ‘Conventional Synthetic’ Pesticide Treatment


Dormant App- Dormant oil



1-2” shoot- Badge SC

6-12” shoot- Badge SC

Possible 18-24” shoot- Sulfur DF+

Pre-bloom- Endura



Postbloom- Endura

Buckshot berry- Serenade Opti+



Buckshot berry- Rally+

Veraison- Inspire Super



15 Brix- Jet Ag+ Delegate

Preharvest- Elevate+ Jet

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.