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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...
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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,...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Vine Management

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Insect And Disease Management

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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...
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calendar of events

Upcoming Events

Northern Grapes Webinar

December 11, 2018

Grapevine trunk diseases: The fungi that cause them, how they develop and spread, and how they are managed.
December 11, 2018, 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (12:00 Noon Central Time)

Dr. Jose Urbez-Torres
Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Summerland Research and Development Center, British Columbia, Canada

view details


Spotted Lantern Fly found in New York State

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 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 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 (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 Connect with DEC on: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram

Come Join Our Team!

Lake Erie Regional Grape Program Viticulture Extension Specialist Position Open-
The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is an Extension team made up of collaborative efforts between Cornell and Penn State Universities and 5 county Extension offices. It is housed in Chautauqua County, NY in the middle of the Lake Erie Grape Belt, which runs from Niagara County, NY to Erie County, PA and consists of over 31,000 acres of grapes. This program partners with industry (Welch, National Grape, Constellation Brands, Walker's Wine Juice) to help to maintain and improve the vineyard operations in this region. The program is housed in a  state of the art facility built in 2009. We work collaboratively with the Cornell Research team that currently is working on a 2.8 million dollar SCRI grant focusing on mechanized vineyard management and digital data collection, "Efficient Vineyard".  

 Areas of Work Interest: 
Grower Education through traditional and innovative means
Cover Crops 
Vineyard Mechanization
Bud Hardiness
Vine Health

For more information or to apply, please use this link:
Tim Weigle, LERGP Team Leader 716-792-2802

LERGP Podcasts- check them out!

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