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Not your typical nursery

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Markus Freepons of Northwest Vinifera, showed his grape callusing pits during a field day held last August sponsored by the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.
Photo by Melissa Hansen

Marcus Freepons, owner of the grape nursery

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The no-family dilemma

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You’ve invested your life in building a vineyard, winery, or other agricultural enterprise, producing a high-quality product with a topnotch reputation. For some, the business can be left to children to continue the family legacy.

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Classes for Hispanics

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Wenatchee Valley College will offer two employee educational programs for the 2012-2013 academic year—level one of its Hispanic Orchard Employee Education Program and level one of a similar viticulture program. The orchard program will be

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Research project tackles trunk diseases

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Researchers will use nearly $1.8 million in grant money to develop new detection, extension, and research tools for managing wood-canker diseases of grapes and nut crops. Wood-canker diseases are a leading cause of vineyard and

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Robotic pruning

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If researchers achieve the goals they have set for themselves, apple and grape growers should see the day when their dormant pruning will be done by robots instead of people. Pruning is labor-intensive and accounts

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Students follow grapes from berry to bottle

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During the second week of class, having had just two lectures to learn about safety and sanitation, Trent Ball’s students were already gaining practical experience, crushing Syrah and pressing Rousanne grapes from Washington State’s Horse

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Vineyard and winery courses go online

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Yakima Valley Community College, through a national science grant, is transitioning its vineyard and winery educational program to an online and hybrid format to better serve its student community. Four classes are now available online,

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Grape growers to visit Capitol Hill

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Washington State diversified farmer Brenton Roy wants to see more of the state’s wine grape industry attend a national grape policy conference held annually in Washington, D.C. He believes so strongly in the value of

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Last Bite

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Winemaking in France is believed to date back at least 2,600 years to the ­founding of Massilia, the city now known as Marseille. So it’s logical to think that Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the most

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Good to Know

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Grape growers have been closely watching the spread of the brown marmorated stinkbug (Halyomorpha halys Stål). It was first identified in 1996 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and has spread to 36 states. In 2010, a warm

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Other teaching programs

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Washington State has several educational options for students interested in ­viticulture and enology. A four-year degree is offered at Washington State ­University, but three community colleges also offer wine grape education.

Walla Walla Community College –

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Clean vines keep viruses out

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Washington State’s grape industry teamed up with researchers and regulatory officials last summer to educate growers and ­vintners about the importance of clean plants and about the process of certifying plant materials.

Grapevine leafroll disease and

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Plant in clean ground

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Grape selections that come out of the Clean Plant Center-Northwest Grapes are certified to be free of known grape viruses and crown gall disease, making them the cleanest in the nation. But years of work

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Continued strong demand for vines

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Northwest grape growers thinking about planting vines in the near future are advised to plan well ahead. Strong demand for grapevines that’s coming from California is impacting grape nurseries around the country, including Washington State.

Kevin

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The story of champagne

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Champagne is the wine produced from grapes grown in the northernmost vineyards of France. Even before the Champagne method of producing sparkling wine was developed more than 300 years ago, wine from that region was

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Lake Chelan sparkles

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Julie Pittsinger checks on her four-year-old planting of Pinot Meunier, one of the grapes traditionally used to make Champagne.

Julie and Bret Pittsinger, owners of Karma Vineyards at Chelan, believe that the Lake Chelan area could

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Busting the low-yield myth

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One of the most contentious issues between grape grower and winemaker is the long-held belief that lower yields make better wines. Though research has uncoupled the linkage of low yield to premium wine, some U.S.

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Rootstocks don’t affect wine

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Markus Keller says growers in eastern Washington now have no reason to fear using rootstocks.
Photo by Melissa Hansen

A major rootstock trial spanning more than a decade found that rootstocks generally did not impact vine phenology,

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Muscat, old but new

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Muscat grapes are used in a variety of wine styles, from off-dry to sweet to dessert wines. These Muscat grapes, with their mantle of snow, wait to be picked and made into ice wine for

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Moscato madness

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The Moscato craze started with Gallo’s Barefoot Cellars, when it released a light, sweet wine in 2008. It’s been estimated that Gallo will produce four million cases of Moscato this year.
PHOTO BY MELISSA HANSEN

Muscat wines,

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Muscat plantings on the rise

Muscat grape varieties, the hottest selling wines in America, have also been the hottest selling grape nursery stock. And while there’s been an uptick in Muscat plantings in Washington State, in general, the state’s wine industry is taking a cautious approach to the latest wine fad.

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Sustainable program for wineries launched

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Wine bottle corks are repurposed as mulch, an example of sustainable practices implemented at Snoqualmie Vineyards winery.
Photo courtesy of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Winerywise, the free, online guide to ­sustainable winemaking and winery practices developed for

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Sustainability can be economical

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More than 160 photovoltaic panels rest on the rooftop of Powers Winery, generating about 20 percent of the winery’s electricity needs.
Photo by Melissa Hansen

Sustainability touches nearly all operations at Badger Mountain Vineyard and Powers Winery,

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Organic viticulture is all about timing

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Bill Powers used common materials—screen mesh, bottoms of plastic jugs—to construct his pest fan.
Melissa Hansen

The key to making organic practices effective in the vineyard boils down to timing, says organic wine grape pioneer Bill Powers.

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Going without sulfites

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Greg Powers knows viticulture and enology from the ground up and was manager for the family estate vineyard before taking on winemaker duties.
Melissa Hansen

Greg Powers, winemaker for Washington State’s largest organic winery, didn’t initially make

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Finding a better way

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All of the vines at Badger Mountain Vineyard are trained to the Scott-Henry trellis system. Bill Powers says that the Scott-Henry is more labor intensive than other trellis systems but results in higher yields, making

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Vineyard replanting economics

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When replanting an existing vineyard, a grower has three scenarios to choose from—replace plants and preserve existing trellis and irrigation systems, replace plants and modify existing trellis and irrigation, or remove and replace everything. Each

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A report card for juice grapes

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A team of Washington State’s juice grape industry members and university scientists has begun a three-year project to develop a sustainability guide for grape growers. The project is funded through a Washington State Department of

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Choosing not to replant

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An example of layering, in which a cane is brought from the old Cabernet Sauvignon cordon on the right to where a vine was missing, burying it so that a new sho ot would emerge

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Balancing nitrogen in grapes and wine

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Catherine Jones, middle, puts Merlot grapes through a destemmer under the watchful eye of her advisor Joan Davenport.

For both grape growers and winemakers, the status of nitrogen in the vineyard can make big differences in

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Are Washington Merlots Sideways?

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Harold Thoreen of Antoine Creek Vineyard near Chelan, Washington, son Colin, and Harold’s wife Suzanne Haggard taste Northwest Merlot wines during an educational session spotlighting Merlot at statewide grape talks.
Melissa Hansen

Merlot wine grapes are among

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Merlot’s place in Washington

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Merlot grapes have had a strong presence in Washington State since 1956 when the late Dr. Walter Clore brought cuttings into the state, according to Peter Bos, wine instructor at South Seattle Community College.

Clore, considered

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High density not for Concords

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A Washington State University study found that traditional spacings for juice grapes—around six feet between vines and nine feet between rows—was best of four vine density treatments in the trial. Dead and dying leaves, like

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Alcohol depresses wine aromas

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Ethanol (alcohol) interacts with sensory attributes of wine and can decrease the potency of aromas as the amount of alcohol increases, according to Dr. Carolyn Ross of Washington State University.

Ethanol affects the solubility and volatility

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The myths of high-alcohol wine

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The recent trend of higher alcohol wines is related to winemakers wanting riper fruit so they can produce super-ripe, intense wines to meet market demands, concluded wine industry experts during a panel discussion at the

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New pests threaten Washington grapes

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Doug Walsh, holding a mealybug pheromone trap, says that such traps have been used throughout the state to look for vine mealybug. Thus far, the destructive pest that’s prevalent throughout California grape regions, has not

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Trapping for grape mealybug

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Brian Bahder transfers a first-instar grape mealybug from a grapevine leafroll-diseased Concord vine to a healthy Concord vine to assess mealybug competency as a vector.
Melissa Hansen

With the insidious spread of grapevine leafroll disease in Washington

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Bunch rot, a different beast

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Michelle Moyer reminds growers who had powdery mildew problems last year to prepare for disease carryover this year. Botrytis bunch rot is a different beast than grape powdery mildew, says

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Marquette tested in Washington

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Paul Champoux

Washington State’s Paul Champoux of Alderdale, known for his award-winning grapes grown in the Horse Heaven Hills appellation, planted a half-acre of greenhouse-grown ­Marquette vines last spring. By the end of fall, vines had

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Globalization threatens wine terroir

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Globalization has brought the world of wine to our front door, offering endless choices for consumers and great opportunities for wine producers. But the global mass market of wine also brings challenges of quantity over

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Minnesota grapes get national attention

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Marquette, which can survive to -30°F, has potential for Washington State.
Sara Granstrom

The University of Minnesota’s grape and fruit breeding efforts date back more than a hundred years, but it’s only been in the last 25

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Honoree is a survivor

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Rob Andrews, holding what was once a Merlot vine, said they wasted no time reworking their Merlot blocks, which were hit hardest by the November 2010 freeze. By October, suckers had already been retrained up

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Grape program feels budget cuts

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Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling is hopeful research funding will be restored in the next Farm Bill.

Though the viticulture and enology program at Washington State University has largely heldits own during the last five years of drastic

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New variety has it all

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Grape breeder Peter Hemstad is also co-owner of Minnesota’s St. Croix Vineyards. His winery won the 2010 Governor’s Cup (top prize) with a 2009 La Crescent dessert wine entered in the International Cold Climate Wine

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Economy down, wine sales up

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Despite a bleak economic picture for many Americans, it’s a good time for Washington State wines. Grocery story data collected both nationally and within the state show consistent growth in the wine category for the

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Vineyard and winery financing

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From a banker’s perspective, vineyard loans in Washington State can generally be categorized as high risk or low risk, with risk depending on whether the grapes are owned or contracted with the state’s largest wine

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Grape nursery sales remain strong

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Cabernet Sauvignon vine sales are still strong, though Merlot and Chardonnay sales softened last year, says Jeff Sample.
Melissa Hansen

Nursery grapevine sales have been strong the last three years, with volumes ranging from 2 to 2.5

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Grape calculators revised

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The online Northwest Grape Cost of Production Calculators, developed for wineries and vineyards, were recently updated to reflect today’s values.

The cost calculators, designed specifically for Pacific Northwest planting, growing, and winemaking conditions, were developed to

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Washington’s grape crop down in 2011

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Concord yields varied widely last year, ranging from no crop to 20 tons per acre.
Suphasuk Pradubsuk

Washington State’s juice and wine grape crop will likely be the smallest since 2005 for wine grapes and 2004 for

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Instant vineyard

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These “super big” vines were planted in an Oregon vineyard earlier this year.
Neil Hauff

Imagine the labor savings if you could plant and establish a new vineyard without staking, tying, training, suckering, or using protective cartons

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