Better Wine Grape Quality using Combined Vine Training and Canopy Management

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2009: $7,965.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Richard Lamoy
Hid-In-Pines Vineyard


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Crop Production: windbreaks
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration, display, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, wildlife
  • Pest Management: field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, physical control, cultivation, weather monitoring
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: soil chemistry, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, public participation, urban/rural integration, sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    Current issue

    Up until recent years there were few wine grape varieties available to withstand our cold Northeast climate that were capable of making good wine. With the development of cold hardy hybrid wine grape varieties, that has changed. The Northeast has been seeing increasing interest in growing these hybrid wine grapes, but the quality of the grapes grown has typically been low. The wine made from the low quality grapes along with low yields has discouraged growers from expanding and stalled development of a viable wine industry.

    In 2005 the Willsboro Cold Hardy Grape Trial of NY was established with the goal of helping growers from the Northeast determine which varieties were better suited to survive this environment.

    Improved quality and yield of select cold hardy hybrid grapes could help spur further development of the wine grape industry in the Northeast. Conferring with other members of the Lake Champlain Grape Growers’ Association, many who have tried growing grapes are of the belief that yields and quantity are too low for making a good wine.

    Through selecting a properly matched vine training method and canopy management system, the quality may be improved and help dispel the notion that you can’t make good wine from the grapes grown in the region.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The purpose of my project is to study the feasibility of increasing yield and quality of cold hardy hybrid wine grapes through a system of training methods and canopy management for the varieties grown. This will utilize hybrid wine grape varieties well suited to the Northeast. The project will use the existing vineyard on the farm for the study. Two training methods will be used and the existing trellising adjusted to accommodate these methods for three varieties (Frontenac, Leon Millot and Chardonel). Each variety will be trained to both a Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP) and a 4-Arm Kniffen system.

    All grapes will be monitored for proper growth and development during the growing season and cultural methods (sprays and weed control) will be as held the same for each treatment as possible.

    I will be measuring differences between systems for quality, quantity and labor involved so that a profitable crop of wine grapes may be harvested and turned into more valuable product in the form of quality wine.

    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.