February 13, 2016

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Reminder from Brigid Tuck and Northern Grapes Project

Happy Winter!
Last week you received a link to the Northern Grapes Project survey.
If you have already completed the survey, THANK YOU!  If not, this is a friendly reminder for you to participate.
You may follow this link to take the survey: https://umn.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_85JEKHqlD2Pk9zT
You may save the survey and return, if necessary.
The results will help demonstrate the importance of the industry in the United States.
I sincerely hope you will take time to participate. I am sure it is more fun than shoveling today!!
Brigid Tuck

Research Results Presented at PAG

University researchers Soon Li Teh and Matthew Clark presented their research on grape genetics being conducted at the University of Minnesota.  The Plant & Animal Genome conference attracts over 3,000 attendees to San Diego, CA each January.

PhD student Soon Li presented a poster entitled “Genetic Dissection of Powdery Mildew Resistance in Interspecific Half-Sib Grapevine Families Using SNP-Based Maps“.


Professor Clark presented a poster “Development of Digital Image Analysis Protocol for High-Throughput Phenotyping of Fruiting Traits in Vitis.




Winter Wine Fest 2016

Sip & Savor


Follow this event on Facebook! and like the Minnesota Grape Growers Association page for up-to-date information on MGGA Happenings.

Early Bird Registration Ending soon!

Only one more day to get early bird registration for the Cold Climate Conference!


There are still spots available for Sommelier Training, Wine Judging, Cider Tasting, Wine Tasting

Assessing Winter Damage

Sharing a few resources from our colleagues at University of Maryland and Ohio State; you can get their most recent news letter (.pdf) here Mild Winter Concerns

Understanding Grapevine Bud Damage, University of Maryland

By Imed Dami and Diane Kinney, HCS-OSU

Happy New Year and hope you had pleasant holidays with your family and friends. The past November and December were one of the warmest months on record across the country. For example, the OARDC Weather station recorded much warmer temperatures throughout the fall, with record high mean temperature in December of 12.5oF above the 30-year average! Having said that, we should be happy that the fall and winter months are mild for grapes and us, right? The answer is Yes and No. Yes, if the minimum temperatures in January and February never dip low enough to damage grapevine parts. No, if mild temperatures persist during winter and vines would not acclimate to their maximum cold hardiness potential thus are more vulnerable to freezing injury.(Follow the rest of the story here: Mild Winter Concerns.)

Follow these links to two great .pdf resources about Assessing Grapevine Bud Damage and Understanding Grapevine Bud Damage.

This information will inform you about pruning and canopy management.


It’s all about the Genes: Wine Flavor

Dr. Gavin Sacks of Cornell University explains how a food chemist can help grape breeders to identify genes that are associated with different flavor and aroma compounds in grapes. With that information, breeders can more easily and efficiently select plants with the flavors and aromas that they want, and eliminate those that would produce grapes with flavors that consumers don’t want to taste in their glass or on their table.

Watch a VitisGen youtube video about the role of flavor in wine here:Wine Flavor

Funding for VitisGen “Accelerating grape cultivar improvement via phenotyping centers and next generation markers” is provided by a Specialty Crop Research Initiative Competitive Grant, Award No. 2011-51181-30635, of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This site is hosted at Cornell University. Copyright © 2015.


It’s all about the Genes: Color

Humans are inherently visual creatures, so we often get our first impressions of a wine, especially a red wine, from its color. VitisGen scientists like Dr. Anna Katharine Mansfield are honing in on markers for the genes that influence the color compounds that are produced in grapes. With this information, breeders will be able to identify seedlings that will produce fruit and wine that are both pleasing to the eye and the palate. Watch a VitisGen youtube video about the role of color in wine here: Color

Funding for VitisGen “Accelerating grape cultivar improvement via phenotyping centers and next generation markers” is provided by a Specialty Crop Research Initiative Competitive Grant, Award No. 2011-51181-30635, of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This site is hosted at Cornell University. Copyright © 2015.

Notes from the North


Have you seen the newest content from the Minnesota Grape Growers Association? Get the Notes From the North here!

Northern Grapes Project: News you can use

Although there has been a hiatus on this enology blog, the researchers and extension specialist on the Northern Grapes Project have been staying quite busy advancing the science of growing grapes and making wine.  Follow the links below to get the latest and greatest News you can use.

December 2015

Trellis Systems, Pruning and Training

Frontenac grapevines trained to a high-wire cordon,

A major component of any vineyard management system is training and pruning vines in a manner that is appropriate for the cultivar, location, and production goals, among other factors. And, a well-constructed trellis system is critical to support the vines, regardless of the training system that’s chosen. While much of the research being conducted by the Northern Grapes Project Viticulture Team focuses on vineyard management practices and how they affect yield and fruit quality, this issue of News You Can Use includes links to three past webinars and one newsletter article that focus on the basics of trellising, pruning, and training.
Click here for the full report, which includes links to three past Northern Grapes Project Webinars as well as a past Northern Grapes News article.


October 2015

Yeast Selection


When considering choice of yeast, there are many options that winemakers can choose from. One must consider not only the variety of grape, but also the desired wine style, growing conditions in the vineyard, and winemaking conditions in the cellar. Research being done as part of the Northern Grapes Project is looking at how different yeast strains can reduce acidity, as well as enhance desirable flavors and aromas, resulting in recommendations for matching yeast and cultivar.
Click here for the full report, which includes links to Northern Grapes News articles as well as a webinar about yeast selection.

September 2015

Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen

mark yan
In addition to sugars, adequate yeast assimilable nitrogen (YAN) concentration is required for successful alcoholic fermentation of grape musts. Unlike sugars, however, YAN is difficult to measure and impossible to estimate. YAN also varies widely by cultivar, year, climate, harvest date, and viticultural practices. Too little YAN can result in stuck fermentations or production of off-aromas, such as H2S, but too much YAN (which can happen, especially when prophylactic YAN additions are made) can lead to problems with spoilage organisms or production of fusel alcohols.
Click here for the full report, which includes a link to a webinar about YAN, a Northern Grapes Research Report outlining the YAN projects that have been conducted, as well as other good sources of information about YAN.

June 2015

Herbicide Drift

2,4-D on baco noir 2
Damage from herbicide drift is, unfortunately, something that a number of grape growers are all too familiar with. The effects of off-target herbicide damage can range from mild to devastating, and the effects can persist for well over one year. The Northern Grapes Project has focused some attention on herbicide drift, even though it is not one of the key objectives of the project, as it is an area of concern for many growers of cold-hardy grapes.
Click here for the full report, which contains links to a number of resources about herbicide drift in vineyards.