Lake Erie Regional Grape Program Enrollment

Program Areas

  • Pest Management
  • Vineyard Nutrition
  • Crop Management
  • Market Development
  • Farm Business

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  • Vineyard Consultations
  • Vineyard Notes Newsletter
  • Crop Update Weekly Electronic Newsletter
  • Educational Meetings & Conferences
  • Discounted Conference Registration Fees

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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...
   read more

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...
   read more

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...
   read more

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...
   read more

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...
   read more


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Spotted Lantern Fly found in New York State

DEC AND DAM ANNOUNCE CONFIRMED FINDING OF SPOTTED LANTERNFLY IN ALBANY AND YATES COUNTIES 
State Agencies Encourage Public to Report Findings of Invasive Pest. The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (DAM) today confirmed that spotted lanternfly (SLF), an invasive pest from Asia, has been found in Albany and Yates counties. A single adult insect was discovered in a vehicle in the Capital District. In addition, a single adult insect was reported on a private Keuka Lake property in Penn Yan, Yates County. "DEC and our partners at the Department of Agriculture and Markets are closely tracking the spotted lanternfly, a destructive invasive pest, as part of our ongoing efforts to prevent its establishment and spread in New York. This pest has the potential to severely impact our state's agricultural and tourism industries," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "We are encouraging the public to send us information to bolster our efforts they are our eyes on the ground." Following both reported cases, DEC and DAM immediately began extensive surveys throughout the area. At this time, no additional insects have been found. DEC and DAM urge New Yorkers to report potential sightings to spottedlanternfly@dec.ny.gov. State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "It's critical that we monitor for and control this invasive species, which can weaken plants and have a devastating impact on our farm crops and agricultural production, especially apples, grapes and hops. Since our farmers are among those facing the greatest potential impact, we ask them to join us in helping to watch for the spotted lanternfly, and signs of infestation, and report any sightings immediately. "SLF (photo attached) is a destructive pest that feeds on more than 70 plant species including tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), maples, apple trees, grapevine, and hops. SLF feedings can stress plants, making them vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects. SLF also excretes large amounts of sticky "honeydew," which attracts sooty molds that interfere with plant photosynthesis, negatively affecting the growth and fruit yield of plants. SLF also has the potential to significantly hinder quality of life due to the honeydew and the swarms of insects it attracts. SLF was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014 and have since been found in New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia. Given the proximity to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey infestations, New York State is at high risk for infestation. While these insects can jump and fly short distances, they spread primarily through human activity. SLF lay their eggs on any number of surfaces such as vehicles, stone, rusty metal, outdoor furniture and firewood. Therefore, the insects can hitch rides on any outdoor item and be easily transported into and throughout New York. Jennifer Grant, Ph.D., Cornell University Director New York State IPM Program said, "Knowing that this pest was likely to arrive, we have been working with our State partner agencies to develop integrated strategies to get the word out and manage SLF in bgrapes, hops, apples and other susceptible crops. It's imperative that the public help slow the invasion and spread by reporting possible sightings and acting responsibly when traveling in quarantine areas. "Adult SLF are active from July to December. They are approximately one-inch long and half an inch wide at rest, with eye-catching wings. Adults begin laying eggs in October. Signs of an SLF infestation may include: Sap oozing or weeping from open wounds on tree trunks, which appear wet and give off fermented odors. One-inch-long egg masses that are brownish-gray, waxy and mud-like when new. Old egg masses are brown and scaly. Massive honeydew build-up under plants, sometimes with black sooty mold developing. Anyone that suspects they have found SLF is encouraged to send a photo to spottedlanternfly@dec.ny.gov. Please note the location of where the insect was found, egg masses, and/or infestation signs. DEC and DAM also encourage the public to inspect outdoor items such as vehicles, furniture, and firewood for egg masses. Anyone that visits the Pennsylvania or New Jersey Quarantine Areas should thoroughly inspect their vehicle, luggage and gear for SLF and egg masses before leaving and scrape off all egg masses.A Smartphone application is also available to help citizens and conservation professionals quickly and easily report new invasive species sightings directly to New York's invasive species database from their phones. For more information, visit http://www.nyimapinvasives.org/ (leaves DEC website). DEC, DAM, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the US Department of Agriculture will continue to survey throughout the Capital District and the Finger Lakes focusing on travel corridors and high-risk areas. Extensive surveys will continue to be conducted in high-risk areas throughout the state as well as inspections of nursery stock, stone shipments, commercial transports, etc., from Pennsylvania. DEC and DAM will also continue its efforts to educate the public as well as industry personnel.  For more information on SLF, visit www.dec.ny.gov/animals/113303.html. Connect with DEC on: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram


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