Wine grape workshop

Wine grape growers still recovering from the prolonged and extremely frigid temperatures experienced in Ohio this winter can learn how to manage damaged vines during a workshop Aug. 13 offered by viticulturists and other experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

As the polar vortex destroyed a majority of popular wine grape crops grown in Ohio this year, the Ohio Grape and Wine Day program is an excellent opportunity for growers to see how to move forward, said David Marrison, an Ohio State University Extension educator.

The program will be hosted by OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, which are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.

According to a recent statewide survey of 63 grape producers representing 838 acres, growers reported: 97 percent losses of vinifera (European) grape varieties; an average crop loss of 57 percent of hybrid grape varieties such as Vidal Blanc, Chambourcin and Traminette; and losses estimated at 29 percent of cold-hardy American grape varieties such as Concord and Catawba, according to Imed Dami, a CFAES associate professor and state viticulturist who will be on hand to discuss management strategies.

“Growers can learn how to manage damaged vines using different strategies of sucker training,” Marrison said. “Growers statewide were impacted by the extreme temperatures and this workshop will also offer participants the chance to learn about a research study analyzing different methods to manage winter-damaged vines.”

In addition to the workshop, participants will also take part in a tour of the Ferrante Winery and Ristorante, 5585 State Route 307 in Harpersfield, Ohio. The tour will include a demonstration of a new “intelligent” sprayer designed and developed jointly by college engineers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

The sprayer can be used by fruit and nursery crop growers to provide more uniform spray coverage and deposition, and can reduce pesticide use up to 75 percent while reducing off-target contamination.

The intelligent sprayer work began as part of a doctoral dissertation by former Ohio State graduate student Yu Chen, in CFAES’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Chen worked under the co-advisership of Erdal Ozkan, an agricultural engineering professor and spray technology expert with OSU Extension and OARDC, and Heping Zhu at the USDA-ARS Application Technology Research unit at OARDC’s Wooster campus.

Further refinement and testing of the intelligent sprayer continues under the leadership of Zhu with a $1.8 million grant from USDA.

Other topics to be discussed during the workshop include:

  • Strategies for winter injury recovery in Ohio vineyards.
  • Variety update.
  • Grapevine phylloxera and invasive insect trapping.
  • Grape pathology update.
  • Tree assistance program update.
  • Soil hill-up demonstration.

“We want to keep growers on the cutting edge of research and technology, especially anything that can reduce costs, enhance profitability and have a positive impact on the environment,” Marrison said.

The program is from noon to 4:30 p.m. at OARDC’s Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station, 2625 South Ridge Road East, in Kingsville, Ohio, and from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Ferrante Winery and Ristorante. Participants will also be able to have dinner at the winery following the tour.

While the workshop and tour are free, the dinner costs $20. The deadline to register for the dinner is Aug. 4. Checks should be made payable to OSU Extension and mailed to OSU Extension, 39 Wall St., Jefferson, Ohio 44047.

For more information about the event, including registration, contact Marrison at or 440-576-9008, ext. 106.

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