Be patient with Syrah

  • March 15th, 2011

The lack of consumer interest in Syrah wines is of keen interest to Washington’s wine industry. Some industry officials estimate there are 3,000 acres planted in the state, with many of the newer plantings just beginning to bear fruit. Syrah tonnage in 2010 was up 9 percent from 2009.

Syrah’s [...]

Where to find unusual apples

  • March 15th, 2011

The New York State Experiment Station in Geneva includes a USDA-ARS Plant Genetic Resources Unit, with a germ plasm repository containing one of the world’s largest collections of apple (more than 3,000 accessions of Malus including more than 40 species collected from around the world) and cool-climate grape varieties [...]

  • Unusual apples are researcher’s passion

Unusual apples are researcher’s passion

  • March 15th, 2011

On an ordinary weekday, Dr. Ian Merwin is a Cornell University teacher and researcher who has put his mark on the orchards of New York—and elsewhere—because of his work with orchard floor management systems, including nutrient dynamics, soilborne diseases, ground cover, and weed control.

But in the evenings and on [...]

  • Last Bite

Last Bite

  • March 15th, 2011

Jonagold combines the Jonathan red color splashed over a Golden Delicious background, but some strains are so red they cover the yellow completely.

Jonagold is one of 76 named offspring of the Jonathan apple and one of at least 25 named offspring of Golden Delicious, but the only other variety [...]

  • Washington Syrah: Rising or falling star?

Washington Syrah: Rising or falling star?

  • March 15th, 2011

Syrah was to be one of the stars in Washington State’s wine lineup. But something happened along the way to greatness, and wineries have watched Syrah wine sales drop and inventories build. In the short term, creativity in blending and marketing may be needed to reduce backlogged inventories, while [...]

  • Montana growers pin hopes on new varieties

Montana growers pin hopes on new varieties

  • March 15th, 2011

Louise Swanberg, pictured with Tom Colyer, says it’s hard to make money with the existing cherry varieties grown in Montana.
Photos courtesy of Pat mcglynn, montana state university

Montana cherry growers are hoping that new varieties will help them survive the biggest crisis they have faced so far.

In three of [...]

Washington needs to own the Syrah variety

  • March 15th, 2011

The salvation to lagging wine sales of Syrah may be in Washington State owning the variety as it now does Riesling, says Bob Betz, who describes himself as an “unapologetic, unabashed ­supporter and lover of Syrah.”

Betz, of Betz Family Winery in Woodinville, first tasted Syrah in France’s Côte Rotie [...]

  • Glory be

Glory be

  • February 15th, 2011

Gordon Goodwin’s cherry orchard at Stemilt Hill, near Wenatchee, Washington, is in one of Washington’s later cherry districts. So, as he’s updated his orchard over the past 30 years, he’s focused on varieties that he can harvest well after the midseason glut: Bing, Sonata, Selah, Lapins, and Attika.

About eight [...]

  • Last Bite — Discovering Gold

Last Bite — Discovering Gold

  • February 15th, 2011

Top: The russet-resistant Smoothee, discovered in 1958, is the widest planted strain of Golden Delicious in the United States. Photo courtesy of Willow Drive Nursery Bottom left: A promotion card that the Washington Apple Commission used in 1958–1959. Bottom Right: Goldspur, shown in the Van Well Nursery catalog of [...]

No apple releases imminent

  • February 15th, 2011

Washington State University’s apple breeder, Dr. Kate Evans, is not recommending that the university release another variety for at least a year or two.

The breeding program’s first variety, WA 2, was released in 2009, went into widescale evaluation a year ago, and can now be planted commercially. The second [...]

WA 2 traits, evaluation and commercialization

  • February 15th, 2011

The evaluation and commercialization process
Phase 1:     Initial seedling selection and evaluation by WSU
Phase 2:    Small-scale on-farm trials with five trees at about two sites
Phase 3:     Midscale on-farm trials with 10 to 100 trees at about four sites
Phase 4:     Widescale evaluation
Phase 5:    [...]

WA 2 ready for commercial plantings

  • February 15th, 2011

Washington growers can now obtain licenses to plant WA 2 on a commercial basis. WA 2 is the first apple variety from Washington State University’s breeding program.

The commercialization phase is the fifth phase in WSU’s variety evaluation and commercialization program. Only growers who have already signed up to take [...]