Lake Erie Regional Grape Program Enrollment

Program Areas

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

Enrollment Benefits

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

Enrollee Login

Log In To Access:

  • Issues of Vineyard Notes
  • Issues of Crop Update

Not an Enrollee?
Enroll Now!

PA Growers Visit PA Extension or call 814.825.0900 for a subscription form

Online Enrollment Form

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


New Vineyard Timeline · Year of Planting

The business plan is laid out; the ground is ready; and the plants are on their way. What next?
Prepare the ground for planting by turning the soil in the space allotted for the vineyard. By the year of planting, soil nutrient amendments should be complete, and weed populations should be under control. Review the information on the site selection page to determine orientation of vineyard, based on aspect and slope. Whether hiring a planting contractor or planting yourself, the time has arrived to get the vines in the soil.

Once vines are planted, what needs to be done?
The best time to create vineyard maps is during the vineyard layout and planting processes. You can note potential problems with specific vines (graft unions too close to soil line, or vines slightly off-center) on these maps as they go into the soil. Posts and wires should also be installed during the first year, to ensure that vines are properly trained from the get-go. Although fruit will be removed during this first (and second and likely the third) season, the vegetative (shoots and leaves) parts of the vines will need to be trained to at least one wire during the first season.

Grow tubes?
Whether or not to use grow tubes usually depends on the preference of the grower. We recommend that grow tubes are used for at least the first part of the season to protect young vines from weed sprays and to make these weed spray applications much easier. However, growers MUST be careful to check IN the grow tubes for insect and disease pressure and manage these problems early. Removing grow tubes before fall may improve the ability of the young vines to harden off for winter, increasing the likelihood of survival during the winter.

What consideration do grafted vines need?
Grafted vines need to be planted with the grafted union about 2 inches above the soil line. Plant it below the soil line, the scion may grow roots, which could become infested with phylloxera, which would then reduce vine size. Plant the graft union too far above the soil line, and the likelihood of freeze damage to the tissue is increased. Keep in mind that grafted unions need to be protected during the winter, whether by hilling up soil or applying compost or mulch around the graft unions.

Weed Management Keep weeds immediately next to vines under control to prevent competition between weeds and vines. Again, the goal in the first couple of years is to grow a solid root system, and intense weed pressure will only against that goal.

Water Management
While in most years, vineyards in Western New York require little to no extra water, we still recommend installation of an irrigation system, especially on well-drained soil. Due to the importance of water in establishing vineyards, it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Insect and Disease Management
 To grow healthy vines, vineyard pests must be kept to a minimum. Keep disease and insect pressures to a minimum and monitor for deer pressure. Scouting will become the foundation of your pest management program, so begin developing these habits and your integrated pest management (IPM) program early. 

Vineyard Design and Layout

Planting a vineyard and installing trellis wire and posts are major investments; it is best to get it right from the very beginning! Rule #1 - Sunlight interception is the key ingredient to quality grape production! Buds require adequate sunlight to develop through the first 6 of 15 developmental stages; the final stages are completed during the following growing season (Figure 1). Figure 1.  Concord Bud Development. Cluster initiation (arrows) in green...
   read more

Vine Planting

The field is prepared; the tile is in the ground; the irrigation is ready; and the newly arrived vines are soaking in water and waiting to be planted.Vine PreparationWhen you receive your vines, check to make sure they are in dormant and in good condition: no broken graft unions and no green tissue visible from the buds. Keep the vines in a cool, dark place - maybe under a tarp in a walk-in cold room or root cellar - and do not allow the vines to dry. The day of planting,...
   read more

Nutrient Management

Vineyard NutritionJust as animals require minerals and nutrients, plants also require minerals and nutrients for proper growth and fruit development and maturity.  Soil type, pH, and drainage all play important roles in nutrient availability for vine uptake. The key elements in grape production are nitrogen (N), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), phosphorous (P), and magnesium (Mg) (Table 1).Table 1. Essential nutrients used by 3-year-old Concord vines measured in...
   read more

Base-line Soil and Petiole Testing

Soil and Petiole TestingWhy is it important?Just as you would never medicate your children without knowing whether or not they actually have an infection, you need to be able to diagnose nutrient deficiencies in your vineyards. How to do it? Soil and petiole testing can provide a clear picture of what is going on in your vineyard. Once you have the soil tests, you have one side of the story, and petiole tests will give you the other side of the vine nutrient story. The soil...
   read more

Weed Management

Weeds and cover crops can compete with grapevines for water, nutrients, and sunlight. Competition for water is especially critical during vineyard establishment. The goal of weed management in the early years of vineyard establishment is to minimize weed competition with young vines in order to promote vine growth and early cropping. As a general rule, in New York we expect about one-half of a full crop in the third year of vineyard establishment, and a full crop by the...
   read more

Water Management

Can You Afford Not To Do Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?As the growing season approaches it is a great time to start putting the finishing touches on your Vineyard IPM Strategy. To assist you with this article (reprinted in part from the Proceedings and Program of Viticulture 2010) provides links to some of the resources that are available, and those that are being developed, to assist grape growers in implementing IPM.While reviewing the list these...
   read more

Vine Management

   read more

Insect And Disease Management

   read more


Scouting - an integral component in a Vineyard Integrated Pest Management Program The simple act of walking through a vineyard and taking a close look at what is happening inside and on the canopy will give you an idea of how your Vineyard IPM Program is working. If it has been a while since you said "What the heck is that?", or words to that effect, you have probably not been in your vineyards often enough or looking closely enough. On the one hand, very few of us...
   read more

calendar of events

Upcoming Events

2018 LERGP Winter Grape Grower Conference

Event Offers DEC Credits

March 14, 2018
Fredonia, NY

We are in the planning stages of this event, but we have secured the facility and date! Put us on your calendar and come spend the day with us!
view details


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

LERGPLake Erie Regional Grape Program - Cornell Cooperative Extension
Your Trusted Source for Research-Based Knowledge
In Partnership with Penn State