VARIETY FOCUS: OPTIMIZING ZINFANDEL FOR RED WINE PRODUCTION

August 29th, 2016
VARIETY FOCUS:  OPTIMIZING ZINFANDEL FOR RED WINE PRODUCTION

Zinfandel is California’s winegrape variety and for over a century, Zinfandel has been at the heart of the Lodi, Sierra Foothill, and eastern Contra Costa County wine industries. Over the years, this versatile variety has lent itself to various grape and wine products to accommodate changing market conditions. A the same time, Zinfandel has made highly appreciated, darkly colored and full-bodied red wines with intense fruity flavors and aromas that…

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MAKING VINEYARD MANAGEMENT DECISIONS

July 14th, 2016
MAKING VINEYARD MANAGEMENT DECISIONS

At the most basic level, business management involves setting goals, planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling.  Vineyard management, of course, is more complicated than this, especially given large amounts of borrowed capital, increasing regulations, rising investment per worker, intensifying needs for mechanization, the dynamics of the wine grape market, and the increasing sophistication of grape growing and expectations of grape buyers.  Also, unlike nonagricultural business endeavors, grape growers must positively…

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Fruit Set Factors

May 20th, 2016
Fruit Set Factors

Fruit set is the process in which flowers become fruit and potential fruit size is determined.  It occurs after pollen is released from male flower parts (anthers), lands on receptive female flower parts (stigmas), produces a tube that grows to the ovules, and fertilizes eggs contained in them.  Fertilized eggs form seeds, which induce surrounding (pericarp) tissues to grow and form a berry.  The size of the berry will be…

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Rainfall, Frost, Weeds, Spring Diseases, Invasive Pests

March 23rd, 2016
Rainfall, Frost, Weeds, Spring Diseases, Invasive Pests

As the 2016 El Niño returns after a month hiatus, much progress is being made towards a Drought Recovery. February had only 0.6 inch of rain, but the first two weeks of March brought 5.2 inches of rain, exactly double the long term average. Good rains in January wetted the soil profile well enough to get thorough a dry February, with the possibility of more frequent rains in March as…

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ON THE NATURE OF VINEYARDS AND VINEYARD MANAGEMENT

March 8th, 2016
ON THE NATURE OF VINEYARDS AND VINEYARD MANAGEMENT

  The wine grape industry, like all of agriculture, is under intensifying pressure from outside.  Increasingly, regulators, retailers, consumers, environmentalists, and others are weighing in on how we conduct our businesses.  While most are well intended, many are ignorant about the true nature, complexity, and requirements of our work and the risks involved.  At the same time, the demands of our work keep us so close to it and overwhelmed…

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EVALUATING VINEYARD SOILS IN TRENCHES

February 17th, 2016
EVALUATING VINEYARD SOILS IN TRENCHES

We wine grape growers invest great efforts in managing canopies, crops, and other vineyard attributes above ground.  In comparison, our efforts below ground are often nominal.  And yet, the vineyard below ground is essential to the success and long-term viability of our vineyard businesses.  In the vineyard soil lies about 16% to 27% of vine biomass, depending on time of year, and about 43% of stored carbohydrate reserves. And it…

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Control of Overwintering Structures of Grapevine Pathogens

February 17th, 2016
Control of Overwintering Structures of Grapevine Pathogens

W. Douglas Gubler, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, CA Fungal pathogens of grapevines all produce structures that allow them to overwinter on grapevine cordons, spurs, and canes.  In this way the fungi produce spores the following year that can further cause disease.  For example, grapevine powdery mildew produces a structure called a chasmothecium (cleistothecium) that washes from the leaves in the fall and winter.  They reside on…

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NRCS SOIL SURVEY INFORMATION IMPORTANT TO VINEYARDS

January 20th, 2016
NRCS SOIL SURVEY INFORMATION IMPORTANT TO VINEYARDS

Vineyards have two environments – one above ground and another below ground.  The above ground environment is our visible domain where we can witness both atmospheric events and grapevine responses to them.  In contrast, our ability to observe events underground, or at least infer them, is very limited, relying mainly on sensor readings, periodic analysis results for soil samples, and recognizable vine foliage responses to changes in soil conditions, such…

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Micronutrient Management in Vineyards

December 16th, 2015
Micronutrient Management in Vineyards

Micronutrients are mineral elements required in small quantities by plants for normal growth and development.  They include iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, and chloride.  The micronutrients tend be overshadowed by the macronutrients, especially nitrogen and potassium, in the minds of many of us in the wine grape industry.  In fact, micronutrients are often referred to as “minors”.  With regard to grapevines, however, there is nothing minor about them.  Small…

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Nitrogen Part II: Effective Nitrogen Management for Vineyards

November 24th, 2015
Nitrogen Part II: Effective Nitrogen Management for Vineyards

In my last Lodi Growers Coffee Shop article, we considered nitrogen’s pivotal role and  impacts on grapevines. In this article, we investigate nitrogen management. As in the management of all mineral nutrients, vine nutrient demand is the place to begin development of a nitrogen management strategy. Seasonal Nitrogen Demand In well-managed vineyards, the harvested fruit represents the greatest net annual nitrogen loss (fig. 1). The amount of nitrogen in mature…

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