Using canopy management to reduce fungicide use and improve fruit composition in white wine grapes

2009 Annual Report for LNE09-289

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2009: $178,311.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:

Using canopy management to reduce fungicide use and improve fruit composition in white wine grapes

Summary

Forty grape growers were introduced to the canopy management project through meetings in Lake Erie and the Finger Lakes with project leaders. A full scale comparison of canopy management practices and additional side-by-side comparisons were instituted by five growers on the grower implementation team. Data was collected, wines were made, data is being analyzed. Forty-two wine grape growers toured the replicated study and participated in an informal survey, indicating that only 14% of growers in attendance practiced shoot thinning and/or leaf removal on white vinifera wine grapes. Industry wine-tastings are planned for Spring 2010.

Objectives/Performance Targets

20 of approximately 65 vinifera grape growers in NY/Northwestern PA will adopt at least one new canopy management (CM) practice to improve fruit composition and lower disease pressure, resulting in at least one less fungicide application per season and increased returns of at least $60 per acre in wet years, due to reduced fungicide inputs and improved fruit composition.

Accomplishments/Milestones

1) 50 growers attend 1 of 2 spring meetings (one in Finger Lakes, one in Lake Erie) to learn about impact of CM on fruit composition and disease management. Participants will discuss their goals in winegrape production, experience with CM, and how these practices might help them. May 2009. This milestone was met in May 2009 with 40 growers attending 1 of 2 spring meetings (25 growers in Finger Lakes, 15 growers in Lake Erie) about canopy management. Total growers in attendance was lower than we had hoped, potentially due to the fact that both meetings were held on days of favorable weather for field work in a season when few of those days existed.

2) 35 growers attend 1 of 2 field tours (one in each region) at a research/demonstration site. Grower implementation team demonstrates impact of CM on cluster light exposure and spray penetration. August 2009. This milestone was met in August 2009 when 42 growers attended a tour of the replicated canopy management study at White Springs vineyard in the Finger Lakes region. We were pleased that we had excellent grower turnout at the meeting due to strong interest in the information presented. At the meeting growers participated in an informal survey of canopy management practices, indicating that 14% (6 of 42) of growers practiced leaf removal or shoot thinning on their Riesling vines. Unfortunately due to a frost event early in the season in the Lake Erie region we were unable to maintain our grower sites (primary shoots killed by early frost), and as a result could not host a meeting in the Lake Erie region.

Future milestones to be met:

3) 30 growers attend 1 of 2 tastings (one in each region) to sample wines from grower CM research/demonstration sites, estimate price points of wines for use in economic analyses. Growers provide testimony about their experiences with CM the previous year, evaluate whether their goals were met, and discuss similarities/differences in results among sites. June 2010.

4) 25 growers attend discussion of economic impact of CM practices, study data produced in collaboration with grower implementation team. Team members share economic analyses of practices at their sites. 20 participants agree to adopt at least one CM practice for next year; group discusses which practices might suit which regions/sites. December 2010.

5) 20 growers who adopted at least one new practice attend discussion to verify outcomes (improved wine quality, reduced fungicide use, improved economic returns) and share information concerning success of specific CM practices. February 2012.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Our target is to have 20 of approximately 65 vinifera grape growers in NY/Northwestern PA adopt at least one new canopy management (CM) practice to improve fruit composition and lower disease pressure, resulting in at least one less fungicide application per season and increased returns of at least $60 per acre in wet years due to reduced fungicide inputs and improved fruit composition. In the initial year of our project, 5 growers implemented at least one new CM practice and have shown strong interest in continuing with the comparisons. As grower interest in our replicated study was extremely strong (42 growers attended field tour), we anticipate reaching our goal of 20 vinifera growers adopting one new CM practice. Wines were made from all sites and will be available for industry tastings to further increase grower interest.

Collaborators:

Wayne Wilcox

wfw1@cornell.edu
Professor
Cornell University
Geneva, NY 14456
Office Phone: 3157872335
Tim Martinson

tem2@cornell.edu
Senior Extension Associate
Cornell University
Geneva, NY 14456
Office Phone: 3157872448
Gavin Sacks

gls9@cornell.edu
Assistant Professor
Cornell University
Geneva, NY 14456
Office Phone: 3157872458
Todd Schmit

tms1@cornell.edu
Assistant Professor
Cornell University
Ithaca , NY 14853
Office Phone: 6072553015