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FALL   •   WINTER   •   SPRING   •   SUMMER
New Vineyard Timeline     
Grape - Fall Content

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT   •   CULTURAL PRACTICES   •   IPM   •   VINE NUTRITION AND SOILS


New Vineyard Timeline · 2-years Pre-plant


Many a viticulture extension associate will tell you that, more often than not, people interested in growing grapes will call and ask for beginner's advice a mere couple of months before planting the first vine. Just as with any other business, a tremendous amount of consideration and planning needs to go into planting and managing a wine grape vineyard. This book - 2 Years Prior to Planting - is aimed to provide general information on planning steps prior to planting the first vine. Here, we outline a business plan as an absolute must; necessary equipment - depending on the size of the operation; and the most important facet of vineyard planning - site selection. With a perfect, or even a nearly perfect site, a vineyard manager can save a lot of money and grief in future vineyard issues.

Starting the vineyard planning process at least 2 years ahead of time will allow time for soil testing and preparation to ensure optimal soil conditions prior to vine planting. Any experienced grower will attest to the fact that making significant adjustments to soil and irrigation once a vineyard is planted is trickier due to the physical barriers of the posts and wires. So, start your vineyard business by mitigating risks early and save yourself money and frustration in the long run by:

1) developing a solid business plan, complete with an exit strategy and succession plan;

2) selecting an optimal site for grape production;

3) planting varieties that will thrive at your site.


Equipment Needs

Whether you're new to agriculture, or simply new to grape growing, there are several basic pieces of equipment for which you will need to budget ahead of time.  Of course, buying all this equipment will put you well into the red within the first couple of years of planning.  How can you keep some of these costs under control?Rent equipment or hire custom work - such as laser planting or mechanical harvestingForm a cooperative with local growers to share the costs...
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Developing a Business Plan

It is often said that a business plan is like a road map that you will use to guide the future success of your business. A business plan should be completed two years prior to putting the first vine in the ground. This will allow you to properly present your business, or business idea, to loan officers, investors, or grant opportunities and to limit the number of "detours" you will experience along the way. Developing a business plan is not as difficult as you would...
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Site Selection

Vineyards are a long-term investment. Choosing an appropriate site for your vineyard is the single most important factor determining its economic success or failure. Success depends on choosing a site with appropriate climate, topography and soil characteristics. New York's variable climate, topography and soils limit where grapes can be grown, and what varieties are suitable for which sites. A detailed discussion of factors affecting site suitability can be found...
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Replanting Existing Vineyard Sites

Are there any special considerations for tearing out an old vineyard and planting a new one?Studies have shown that replanting grapevines in soil previously planted to grapes tend not to thrive, or they rapidly decline over time. Although many factors have been determined to cause this lack of vigor, it is important to remember that to reduce the likelihood of these problems, growers may need to pull out the existing vines and allow the land to lie fallow - with a cover...
   read more

Review Soil Maps

Like gardening in your backyard, soil composition and structure are important in wine grape production. Luckily, soil maps are easy to access, whether through the USDA Web Soil Survey, or books from your local extension office. (See following 3 images below).figure 1: soil surveyGravelly, well-drained soil is ideal in grape production, because grapevine roots do not want to be submerged in water. On the flip side, too-well-drained soil can create an issue with nutrition, as...
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Variety Selection

Who will buy your grapes and what kinds do they want? Your market decisions are some of the most important ones in this business. Many factors come into consideration when you are trying to decide what varieties to plant in your vineyard. For example, if you are located in a region that has a glut of a particular variety, then, obviously, you don't want to plant or market that variety. The best option is to begin with small plantings of one to five varieties, ideally not...
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Tim Weigle receives Excellence in IPM award

Portland, NY. August 11, 2017: As a kid, Tim Weigle often tagged along with his dad, a plant breeder at Iowa State University. It gave him a taste for agriculture and research. But once in college he took an entomology class and everything changed. That class included an introduction to integrated pest management (IPM).
“I was fascinated by the interaction of plant systems and pest complexes,” Weigle says. So he added IPM to his bachelor’s program, then topped it off with a master’s in horticulture. “It gave me the solid foundation in crop production I needed to practice IPM,” he says.
Now, for nearly 30 years of innovative, farmer-focused IPM research and outreach in the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program (LERGP), Tim Weigle has earned an Excellence in IPM award from the New York State IPM Program (NYS IPM).
Examples? Weigle helped build a dense concentration of grower-owned weather stations linked together online through NEWA" the Network for Environment and Weather Applications" to predict when to scout for destructive grape berry moths and a hit list of other pests. And he’s applied LERGP research to use tractor-mounted sensors, each with a chip providing data for creating color-coded maps. These maps pinpoint where destructive grape rootworms are probably at work underground.
“This means you can check just those spots for grape rootworm and spot-treat only them,” Weigle says.”
Then there’s Weigle’s leadership on the Organic Guide for Grapes and the Pest Management Guidelines for both grape and hops. He’s also been a trailblazer in IPM research and outreach for the hopyards that help fuel New York’s microbreweries.
But it’s his way with people that really sets Tim Weigle apart. Sure, the internet has a lot to offer. But nobody wants a faceless Extension. Weigle created weekly “coffee pot meetings,” held at vineyards all along Lake Erie’s grape belt. Indeed, they’re what “face time” is all about. They don’t even have an agenda. Instead, they’re driven by what’s got farmers curious or worried that week.
“Some of those early coffee pot meetings were at our vineyard, back when our son was just a little kid,” says Dawn Betts of Betts Farms LLC. “I remember one time we’d all gone out to the vineyard, and Tim was talking about grape berry moths. Well, our son went down the row and picked some of the stung berries where the moths had laid their eggs. And Tim said ‘if this young man can do it, you can too.’”
The Betts family goes to a lot of those meetings. “We learn from each other,” Betts says. “If one of us has an issue, chances are the others will soon.”
“Tim does a fabulous job of incorporating the fundamentals of biology while bringing the latest science to address growers’ challenges,” says Jennifer Grant, director of NYS IPM. “We’re proud to have him on our NYS IPM team.”
Weigle received his award at the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program’s Summer Conference on August 11, 2017. Learn more about IPM at nysipm.cornell.edu.






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