Integrated and Sustainable Wine Grape Production in Southern New England
The principal goal of the project is research and demonstration of a suite of crop and pest management tactics that will, when adopted, improve economic viability, maintain and enhance environmental quality, and protect worker and consumer health. The intent is to change the wine grape production system, not just to demonstrate one particular production practice or another.
The project will have a 4-year total duration and consist of the following general components: an initial three-state survey to precisely document the crop and pest management practices and inputs now in use by commercial wine grape growers in the three Southern New England (SNE) states; on-farm demonstration and applied research of several sustainable management tactics; training of field personnel by University-based faculty and professionals; frequent assessment of participating sites by trained field personnel; regular provision of useful crop and pest information to all SNE wine grape growers through a newsletter and other means; implementation of educational meetings and tours during the growing and dormant seasons; and a post-project evaluation survey of all SNE wine grape growers to determine specific practices changed and extent of change by comparisons between baseline practices/problems to those after project implementation. We believe that by demonstrating a number of system components, growers will have available the core of an integrated and sustainable production system for Southern New England wine grapes.
Performance targets will be accomplished through research and outreach on two farms each in MA, RI and CT over 3 growing seasons. The program shall include seasonal on-farm meetings at demonstration/research sites, dormant season workshops and conferences, newsletters, hard copy reports, fact sheets and information on Extension web sites.
1. At least 50 southern New England wine grape growers/vineyard managers managing over 600 acres will participate in on-farm and other educational opportunities, research studies or tactic demonstrations and at least 25 will adopt 2 or more integrated and sustainable tactics on the majority of their acreage.
2. Six college-level individuals will receive training in grape production and scouting, and will participate in collecting, summarizing and evaluating data from the demonstration/research sites. At least one individual trained during the project will continue to offer fee-based vineyard monitoring and consulting services after the project ends.
Use of Reflective Mulches and Fruit Ripening in Southern New England Grapes.
This study was continued in 2006 using external (Hatch funds) allocated to Dr. Vanden Heuvel and hence is not reported on here.
Canopy Balance Study
Vine balance (the ratio of brush weight and crop load) is a significant goal for all viticulturists and winemakers. A balanced vine helps to ripen fruit to full maturity for optimum wine quality and ripens wood to maximum maturity for cold hardiness. Depending on the growing region and the variety, the parameters for vine balance may vary. However, in general for the Northeast, Dr. Andrew Reynolds (Brock University) recommends a range of yield:cane pruning weight of 5-12:1 or a cane pruning weight of 20-30 g/cane. It has been our observation that many southern New England grape growers are producing with vines in the range of 2-3:1. Their vines are probably, but not necessarily, out of balance. It is likely that growers should be able to crop in the range of 5-6:1 and still produce good fruit. The purpose of this study was to gather data, in a demonstration-style experiment, to determine the vine balance range in one well-managed southern New England vineyard.
A randomized complete block design study with 6 replicates was established in May 2006 in a Cabernet France block of Sakonnet Vineyards, Little Compton, RI. Three treatments were implemented: High (30-34-38 buds per small, medium, and large vines, respectively), medium (26-30-34 buds), and low (22-26-30 buds) bud numbers. Bud counts were done in late May and shoot counts were done June 9 (only secondary shoots and suckers were removed). In late August (just after veraison), all vines were cluster-thinned (removed 12 clusters/vine) based on position in canopy or poor color. Yield was collected October 31. Clusters were counted and weighed on a “per vine” basis. Fruit were sub-sampled: a portion was frozen in liquid nitrogen and taken to University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth for total anthocyanin, flavonol, and phenol analysis and the remainder was stored in a freezer at the UMass Cranberry Station for future quality analysis (pH, Brix, and total acidity).
Although treatments differences are apparent for shoot number, yield per vine and clusters per vine (see Tables), these values are not true results. These data need to be combined with pruning weight data (to be collected in Spring 2007) in order to properly assess vine balance and determine the influence of our pre-selection of bud number. The fruit composition analysis will also give important information to the vine balance equation. These analyses are scheduled for completion in Spring 2007. The entire study will be repeated at the same site in the same fashion in 2007.
SKYBIT Project/Spectrum weather stations
During the 2005 growing season we provided free SkyBit service to regional grape growers so they could help us evaluate its usefulness for general applications throughout New England. The monthly fee for subscribing to SkyBit as an individual vineyard is about $50/month, depending on which type of report is chosen. Ten vineyard sites around New England received daily weather reports, forecasts, and disease model summaries from early spring through the end of November.
However, for a number of reasons, principally cost and (ironically) the extensive volume of information provided, growers felt that they were unlikely to use the service in the future, so we discontinued our use of the satellite weather, focusing instead on relatively inexpensive weather stations located in grower blocks.
For 2006, we set up Spectrum Model 450 WatchDog™ data loggers at sites in Belchertown and Westport, MA, Little Compton, RI and Pomfret, CT. In addition, in cooperation with Dr. Kiyomoto (UCONN), we also accessed data from the same type of loggers at sites he maintains at Pomfret and Stonington, CT (See Appendix A). Each data logger collected temperature, rainfall, leaf wetness and relative humidity.
In looking over the weather summaries, there are gaps that relate either to times that the weather station was down (lightning or other event) or when temp and precipitation data wasn’t recording for some other reason. Fortunately, in spite of such gaps, the weather models run anyway. General conclusions we would draw are that 1) weather stations work best when maintained by the vineyard owner since trouble shooting is more timely, and 2) that, similar to what we learned for Skybit® in 2005, conditions leading to disease infection periods are rather constant so vigilance and material selection are important rather than relying on models to reduce the amount of fungicide applied.
Mating Disruption (MD) for the Grape Berry Moth (GBM)
In 2005, we established trials of GBM mating disruption in 3 commercial vineyards in various parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. In addition, a sentinel monitoring trap was deployed in 3 other commercial sites that were not disrupted. Two of the sites had previously experimented with mating disruption but the other had not. Our first task in this initial year was to conduct the GBM Risk Assessment Protocol developed at Cornell Univiversity.
This protocol is used to determine the extent of GBM pressure on the vineyard, and is driven by proximity to woody borders containing wild hosts of GBM (wild grape vines). For the 2006 season, we had previous berry sampling data to help assess GBM risk. In addition, all vineyards or portions of the vineyards are adjacent to wooded areas, and hence should be considered High Risk. A portion could be 1 panel length if the rows are perpendicular to the woods or about 2 rows if parallel to the woods. For 2007 all participating vineyards will be considered High Risk due to the unusually mild winter temperatures to date and since it appears that no sites will have prolonged snow cover this winter.
Our original plan was to place Isomate GBM and one sentinel pheromone trap in one block at each vineyard, and a sentinel trap in another block of the same cultivar without the pheromone ties. However, because most individual vineyard blocks are smaller than the desired minimum 10 acres, and because participating growers wanted to use the tactic on their entire vineyard acreage, we were forced to scrap the control blocks.
For 2006, we deployed ties and sentinel pheromone traps earlier (early to mid-May) than previously to maximally disrupt the first generation. We also placed ties outside of the vineyard proper at the Colchester, CT site in hopes of preventing immigration of males into the vineyards themselves. Mating disruption pheromone ties for Grape Berry Moth (GBM) were deployed at three Massachusetts or Rhode Island vineyards (Westport and Dartmouth, MA and Middletown, RI), and one in Connecticut (Colchester). Rates of 400 ties/A were used at Colchester, Westport and Dartmouth; due to the 2-wire system at Middletown, 800 ties per acre were deployed. The ties were put out into the MA/RI vineyards May 17-18, 2006, and the CT site on May 3. Once again, we deployed sentinel pheromone traps in blocks at other vineyards that were not disrupted. Although these were not true ‘control’ blocks in the usual sense, they did give us additional information of timing of GBM generational emergence and some sense of GBM pest pressure on those blocks.
Sentinel traps at the disruption site in Colchester captured no moths from deployment (May 3) through the July 12 scouting date, after which captures remained low (0-4 per trap) for the remainder of the season. Traps at Pomfret caught no moths until July 19, probably because the grower used carbaryl sprays regularly in May and June, but experienced a large flight of males weekly from July 27 through Aug. 22, with numbers declining thereafter. The Stonington and N. Stonington sites had low trap captures until an evident peak at both sites (21 per trap and 64 per trap respectively) on June 21. At Stonington, captures averaged 6 per trap (range 2-8) and declined thereafter. This site used no insecticides at all during the season, so we believe this represents a good picture of GBM moth flight. N. Stonington experienced a large (average 24 per trap, range 21-28) and sustained flight from during the July 27-Aug. 16 period with captures dropping thereafter to single digits. This is interesting because the site received carbaryl applications on 6/16, 7610, 7/24 and 7/31. We can not explain the high trap captures in the face of these apparently well-timed sprays.
Trap catches were generally low throughout the season at the Middletown, RI site until a peak of 25 moths were counted in the trap on the July 25 scouting date. At Dartmouth we also saw a peak of 9 moths during the same period. At Westport, after the initial week’s catch of 5 moths, the trap counts never exceeded 2 moths.
Unfortunately, for different reasons (i.e., weather and miscommunications), end-of-season cluster evaluation data were not obtained from Middletown and Dartmouth vineyards. The interior clusters were evaluated at Westport, but the grower harvested the rest of the block before the exterior clusters could be evaluated. No GBM damage was noted during weekly scouting visits at Westport, and cluster damage was quite low (1.4%) in interior rows at Westport. We would expect that more damage would have been found at block edges at this site, however, the level of damage found in block interiors was comparable to that found at other sites which relied on insecticide sprays rather than mating disruption. Infestation levels of 3-9% were already evident at Middletown and Dartmouth by late August, giving indication that the ties were not as effective as had been hoped there. At Colchester, GBM damage averaged 9% on interior rows, and 17% on exterior rows, levels that the grower, who had experienced almost 100% injury before trying disruption, was very happy with, especially since damage in most cases was confined to 1 or 2 berries per cluster. This level of damage compares quite favorably to the no-insecticide block at Stonington, where interior clusters averaged 5% damage but exterior clusters averaged 43%. Even the N. Stonington site, which received 4 insecticide sprays during the season, still had 2% and 9% GBM damage in interior or exterior clusters respectively. Further, the Pomfret site, which received 5 carbaryl sprays, still sustained between 2% (interior) and 14% (exterior) damage.
Based on these results, we continue to feel that mating disruption for GBM still has potential as a means to reduce insecticide use.
Leaf Petiole Analysis
At present, relatively few growers are conducting regular soil or tissue testing to determine grapevine nutritional needs. While soil sampling has value, especially to determine soil pH, use of leaf petiole analysis is considered a superior way to determine if plans have adequate (or excessive) levels of key macro-and micro-nutrients. To demonstrate the value of petiole testing, we collected and had analyzed petiole samples at all participating grower sites, as well as at the UMass Cold Spring Orchard Research and Extension Center (CSOREC). All samples were analyzed by the University of Mass. Soil and Tissue Testing Lab.
Results reinforced our perspective that plant nutrition was not being addressed as well as it could be. A total of six blocks had excessively high levels of Phosphorous and Potassium, and three others had overly high Potassium only. Three had excessive Nitrogen levels, and one (with high P and K) also had high levels of Calcium and magnesium. Three sites had low Nitrogen, one had low P and another low K. Overall, vines were substantially out of balance nutritionally, and it appears that most participating growers were spending unnecessary money on nutrients that were already in surplus.
Our intent is to work with individual growers to adjust their fertility programs as needed so as to reduce excess levels or bring deficiencies up to suggested ranges, and to conduct these analyses again in 2007.
C2. Twilight Meetings
Three meetings were organized in 2006: March 15, July 13, and August 29. Topics covered in these educational meetings were based on priorities established through the baseline survey done in 2004 and with additional input from the grower advisory group. These were:
• Review of 2005 disease problems (Dr. Frank Caruso, UMass)
• Ripe Rot and the Harvest Rot complex (Dr. Turner Sutton, NC State Univ.)
• Grower panel on 2005 harvest rots
• Update on 2006 grape research (Dr. Justine Vanden Heuvel, UMass)
• Update on 2006 scouting activities (Dr. Hilary Sandler, UMass)
• Canopy Management for Quality Fruit (Dr. Andy Reynolds, Brock Univ.)
• Veraison Disease Management Review (Dr. Turner Sutton, NC State Univ.)
• Vineyard Sprayer Technology Workshop (Dr. Andrew Landers, Cornell Univ.)
Attendance was excellent, with 30, 32, and 30 (total 92) growers/managers in attendance at the March, July and August meetings respectively.
In addition, a fourth meeting was presented specifically for new or potential new grape growers featuring presentations by Dr. Mark Chien (Penn State Univ.), Dr. Fritz Westover (VA. Tech. Univ.), Drs. Cooley, Sandler and vanden Heuvel and Ms. Sonia Schloemann (UMass). A total of 13 diverse topics were covered, all of which were of importance to new growers or those considering becoming growers. Sixty-two individuals attended.
C3. Field Scouting in Wine Grape Vineyards in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Five vineyards were scouted in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and four were scouted in Connecticut during the 2006 growing season. The vineyards were typically scouted by two, sometimes three persons, but occasionally one person performed the scouting. Each vineyard was visited on a weekly basis between 12 and 15 times depending on the site, starting in late May/early June and continuing through late August/early September. Interior and exterior areas of Chardonnay blocks were scouted during each visit and 50 vines from each area were examined for insect and disease damage (Tables). Growth stages were also noted during each visit. The scouting protocol for southern New England wine grapes developed previously by other land grant universities (see 2005 report) was used.
The most prevalent insect in Massachusetts and Rhode Island was Japanese beetle, occurring in each vineyard to various degrees. Westport, Newport, and Greenvale Vineyards had numbers in excess of 50 adults at multiple visits. Although high numbers of beetles were present, significant damage was not observed. Grape berry moth (GBM) damage was noted in late August at Apponagansett, Greenvale, and Sakonnet Vineyards (only one occurrence here). Other noted insects included banded grape bug, flea beetle, leafminer, leafhopper, mealy bugs, grape rootworm, rose chafer, European red mite, cane girdler, and shield bugs.
Injury from Phomopsis was the most common disease symptom noted in all vineyards during scouting visits. Symptoms were primarily on the leaves rather than on the clusters, which may account for the low injury of Phomopsis noted in the harvest evaluations (see Table x?). Injury was noted almost every week in most vineyards, with more than 80% of the examined vines having injury at Greenvale Vineyards on at least two occasions. Please note that a vine would need to have only a single leaf with symptoms to be noted on the scouting report. A scored vine does not mean the vine was devastated by the disease, only that at least one leaf had symptoms. Botrytis was the next most common disease injury noted, followed by Black rot. Powdery and/or Downy mildew occurred towards the end of the season (veraison) in all vineyards. Anthracnose was noted in August at Sakonnet Vineyards.
Scouts also downloaded data on a weekly basis from weather stations (WatchDog data loggers) located at Sakonnet and Westport Vineyards. Temperature, rainfall, and leaf wetness data were collected. Disease forecast models were used, when available, to advise growers of high-risk periods. All data (scouting and weather) were communicated in the weekly newsletter prepared by Sonia Schloemann, which was distributed to a list-serve of wine grape growers throughout the southern New England region.
Weekly reports were given to the vineyard manager, either personally or by leaving them at a pre-arranged location. At that time, any concerns or other considerations were also discussed. Pesticide application decisions were left to the discretion of the grower. Several growers verbally expressed appreciation for the presence of Extension personnel in their vineyards to assist with identifying seasonal pest problems.
Unlike in 2005, very little evidence was found of the ripe rot pathogen found extensively in 2005 right before harvest. Based on this 2005 outbreak, our team organized a speaker on very short notice for the Wine grape Session at the New England Vegetable and Fruit Meetings (Dec. 13-15, 2005, Manchester, NH) and held an additional meeting in 2006 to which we invited Dr. Turner Sutton, a well recognized expert in this and related pathogens. Although we can not document this, it is possible that the talks, which focused on the epidemiology and control of the pest, provided some benefit, as growers used specific fungicides and fungicide timing suggested by the speakers. Most likely, however, different environmental conditions during the 2006 harvest seasons (less rain) was the primary reason why the rot was not a problem.
Formation of a wine grape grower association
We periodically asked for and received input on the project from grower advisors. As a follow up to a meeting held last year (February 11, 2005, at Nashoba Valley Winery, Bolton, MA) whose purpose was to discuss formation of New England Wine Grape Growers Association we again solicited growers to participate in further this discussion of this topic as well as the topic of forming a Massachusetts grape grower association. Many growers we have spoken with agree that there is value in having multiple state-based organizations that could ultimately link to a re-constituted regional organization (e.g., the former Southern New England Grape Growers Association-SNEGGA). Growers in Connecticut have led the way, forming a CT Wine council initiated by legislative statute. The CT statute, in addition to creating the council, also includes a significant amount ($50,000) of annual funding that has enabled the industry to develop valuable marketing materials.
We met recently with twelve Massachusetts-based growers to discuss the issue further. We have learned that there previously existed a Massachusetts Wine and Grape Association that has bylaws and continues to maintain non-profit status although it has been functionally defunct in all other ways for several years. An additional meeting is planned for January 20, 2007. After our initial impetus, we are pleased that the process of forming (or re-forming) an association is now being driven by the growers themselves. It remains to be seen what form the Massachusetts group will choose, but it will likely be an “association” rather than a “council”, at least initially, since the former does not require a statute. We anticipate ongoing discussions about additional steps later in 2007 and 2008.
C5. New England Wine Grape Grower’s Resource Center web site
Using supplemental funding from the UMass Extension Information Technology Initiative, in 2005 Sonia Schloemann took the lead on developing a new website for the vineyard industry in New England. The site ran on a trial basis over the 2005 summer with good success. Since then, it was made available to all the vineyards and wineries in New England.
The website is called the “New England Wine Grape Growers’ Resource Center” and is located at http://www.newenglandwinegrapes.org/.
The New England Wine Grape Growers’ Resource Center is meant to be an asset for the industry in all of New England. Its’ purpose is to provide grower access to information and a means to communicate with each other. It is also intended to increase awareness of all the vineyards and wineries in New England. The site features: In season field scouting reports and weekly weather summaries, information on vineyard management, including vineyard scouting, cultural practices, and pest management, articles and publications, links to New England viticulture related websites and other information sources, info on pest management supplies, equipment sources, nurseries, a calendar of upcoming events, and a photo gallery.
On the Industry Resources page, there is an opportunity to click on a list of New England Vineyard Web Sites. There are 56 websites listed there and a counter to keep track of how many hits each site gets. In 2006, we received a total 6,049 hits as of December 22. In descending order of popularity, portions of the site that were accessed were: Vineyard management (1,213), in-season field scouting info. (1,028), Mass. wine grape grower resources (436), cultural practices (417), vineyard scouting (413),Vermont wine grape grower resources (367).
C6. New England Grape Notes Newsletter
In 2006, we distributed 16 issues of the newsletter to 160 recipients. Examples have been sent to Northeast SARE.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
As noted above, 154 growers attended summer and winter meetings this past year, well over the number proposed under Performance Targets (60). The New Grape Grower Workshop was attended by an additional 62 individuals as well, for a total of 216 attendees. The organizational development survey resulted in a substantial number of volunteers (17) who said they would be willing to serve as an officer of a regional wine grape association, indicative of a substantial amount of support for such a group among stakeholders.
In an attempt to relate meeting contact to potential project impacts, each of the three “Twilight Meetings” and the “New Grape Grower Workshop” involved an evaluation form sent to attendees after the meeting. Number of growers responding to the evaluation request averaged 52% of attendees. In response to the question: “Did you learn one or more new practices that you will implement on your farm”, 44%, 71% and 100% of respondents answered “Yes” for the Spring, Mid-Summer and August meetings respectively. Overall ratings for the three meetings were: 50% “Very Useful” and 50% “Useful” for the spring meeting, and 100% “Very Useful” for both the midsummer and August meetings respectively. New Grower Workshop attendee evaluations of individual speakers ranged from 38% to 100% (average of 68%) “Very Useful” but an overall rating for the meeting of 100% “Very Useful”. Eighty-six percent of respondents said that they learned one or more new practices that they will implement on their farm. Based on the evaluations, we remain encouraged at the prospects for short term outcomes involving changes in target population knowledge and skills, and medium term impacts of changes in behavior. With regards to the New Grower Workshop held in November.
At the end of the 2007 growing season, a 2-page survey was sent to 32 participating wine grape growers to get feedback on the usefulness of all aspects of the project. Nine of the growers received weekly IPM field scouting by project personnel as well as access to all other aspects of the project. Eight of these responded. Of the 23 growers who did not receive our scouting visits, but did access other materials and events, 11 responded. The overall response rate was 62.5 %. The survey was divided into 2 sections: Information delivery and Improvements in knowledge leading to changes in practice.
Field scouting: Of the 8 growers who responded, 4 found the personal contact with field staff very useful, 3 found it somewhat useful, and 1 found it not useful. The weekly hard-copy of the scouting report was very useful to 5 growers and somewhat useful to 3 growers. Suggestions for improvement included covering more blocks and cultivars, being more specific about the incidence of pests, and giving more advice about early treatment of diseases, especially powdery mildew.
Weekly email newsletter: New England Grape Notes. Of the 20 responders, 16 read it often, 1 read it occasionally, and 3 did not read it (2 of these were not aware of it but will read it in future). Eight growers found the scouting summary and table very useful, while 9 found them somewhat useful. Four found the weather data very useful, and 9 found it somewhat useful. Four others did not use the weather data. Eleven responders said the spray and management advice was very useful, while 5 others said it was somewhat useful, and 1 said it was not useful. Nine growers used the educational materials and links to other websites extensively. Eight more used them some of the time. Suggestions for next year included adding information on chemical compatibility, expanding coverage to include more sites to the north, “featuring” a particular vineyard in some issues, and having more information on different cultivars.
Grape website: Four of the 20 responding growers accessed the website often and 11 more did so somewhat frequently. Five had not looked at it, but said they would in future. Four growers found the website very useful and 10 found it somewhat useful. The quality, timeliness, and accuracy of the website and links were praised and it was noted that it is a young website and needs to be developed further. Helpful additions might include information about bud-break and heat unit accumulations among different sites and regions. Growers were very glad to have a website of their own (dedicated to wine grapes in New England).
Meetings: Responding growers appreciated the significant energy that the project expended to deliver 6 educational sessions/ meetings throughout the region. Each grower attended 3 sessions (on average) and 16 of them rated the meetings as very useful. Two said they were somewhat useful. Growers from northern areas said they wished there had been more meetings closer to home. Many topics for future meetings were suggested, including management of vertebrate pests, wine-making for farm retail, cover crops, timing of fruit thinning, and foliar fertilization. Updates on disease management were stressed by many. One grower proposed a forum discussion meeting that would feature a panel of growers and educators. Growers also provided feedback about meetings directly after each event. Another large and successful meeting (The New Grape Grower Workshop) was held after the survey was conducted.
B. Improvements in knowledge leading to changes in practice.
Nine of the 20 responding growers said this project had inspired them to increase levels of field scouting in their vineyards. Six growers used more pesticide and 5 used less pesticide than they had before. 2006 was an extremely wet year in the region with widespread epidemics of 3 diseases, so it is not alarming that more fungicide was used. Ten growers used different pesticides or used pesticides differently. Some started using reduced-risk pesticides like Pristine, Oxidate, sulphur, and Phostrol. Others noted that they were more careful to target a specific pest with the most effective material. One grower sprayed perimeter rows instead of whole blocks. Eight growers were inspired to calibrate their spray rigs more often and differently. Two managed Japanese beetle differently. Twelve growers fine-tuned their fungicide sprays based on field scouting results. Six grape growers used new techniques to manage vine canopies. Four growers used pheromone traps to monitor grape berry moth and 4 used mating disruption pheromone to manage the moth. Four of the responders used weather station data and the disease risk prediction information derived from the data. Three growers altered pest management at the veraison growth stage, and 7 growers changed their powdery mildew management practices thanks to this project. A few growers altered their management of several other diseases including downy mildew, ripe rot, and anthracnose. Three vineyards changed their methods for establishing new plantings and 6 planted new varieties. Two used reflective mulches with help from project personnel and 3 used TracGrape software to document production practices. One grower started using an audible alarm for bird control.
Grower plans for the 2007 season indicated that 11 of the 20 respondents will allocate more resources to field scouting. Four growers are planning to use less pesticide if weather allows while 4 others think they may need to use more to manage particular diseases if the season is wet. Trends toward newer, more specific and less toxic pesticides (and better timing of sprays) will continue. Calibration and modification of spray rigs will be a higher priority for 5 growers. Fourteen growers plan to fine-tune fungicide sprays based on scouting results and 4 will perform canopy management differently. A few will use grape berry moth traps and mating disruption. Four will use weather station data directly. A few growers plan to alter veraison pest management and powdery mildew management. A couple of growers will do each of the following: conduct vineyard establishment differently, use reflective mulches, manage anthracnose, black rot, and weeds differently, and use TracGrape software to document production practices. Five growers have been inspired to plant new varieties or new clones. It has been very rewarding to serve such a competent and responsive group of grape growers. An additional performance target focused on training college level individuals in grape production and scouting is underway. To date, we have improved our own capacity through in-service trainings (Sandler, Coli), and we have trained one college students (Michael Walsh) and one college graduate (Seasons Suders) over 2 summers. Mike’s knowledge has increased substantially since he was first hired, and he is a diligent and hard working individual. While it appears that Mike will return in 2007 for another field season, Seasons has accepted another job and unfortunately will not be returning.
As noted in last year’s report, SARE funding for this project enabled us to compete successfully for a three-year internal grant through the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station. This grant ($50,000 per year) enabled our team to plant a small vineyard (600+ vines) at the UMass Cold Spring Orchard Research and Extension center in Belchertown, MA. The planting was established in 2005, including setting up a trellis and irrigation system, and the vines were managed for growth in 2006. Part of the activity associated with this internal grant involves working with NRCS and others to develop a site suitability guide for persons considering planting grapes. Development of this site model is ongoing.
A further positive impact of the project is the amount of wine grape-related networking currently underway among Extension and Experiment station staff in Mass, Connecticut (Lorraine Los and Dr. Ana Lagrand) and Rhode Island (Heather Faubert) in particular, but also to some extent including Vermont (Dr. Lorraine Berkett). Dr. Bill Nail of the Connecticut Ag. Experiment Station has been closely involved with our project, including serving as a speaker on several occasions. Dr. Richard Coles (CAES) and Dr. Richard Kiyomoto (CAES, Retired) are also active collaborators.
Dr. Kiyomoto, although retired from the CAES, continues to assess disease pressure in a small number of Connecticut vineyards. He made site visits with our team this summer to help enhance our ability to recognize important diseases, and to assess their significance at various times during the season. On August 9, Dr. Kiyomoto hosted a “wet lab” training session for CT and MA on disease identification in a teaching lab at Storrs.
Amherst, MA 01003
M.S., Extension Small Fruit Educator
University of Massachusetts Extension
West Experiment Station
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
Office Phone: 4135454347
Ph.D, Extension Educator
University of Massachusetts Extension
Souteastern Regional Extension Center
Glen Charlie Rd.
E. Wareham, MA 02538-0569
Office Phone: 508295221221