Winemakers will learn how to improve their growing strategies at vineyards during a cold-climate grape field day from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday hosted at Coyote Moon Vineyards, 17371 County Route 3, Clayton.
Registration is free for the event, which will include meet-and-greet time, a vineyard tour, dinner and presentations.
Experts from Cornell University, Ithaca, conducting research for the Northern Grapes project at Coyote Moon Vineyards will talk about how their findings will help wineries in the north country, where low winter temperatures call for different growing strategies than warmer regions. The research is part of a national project conducted at vineyards in 12 states, funded by a $2.3 million grant awarded last year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The three-year study in Clayton will test different methods of growing vines to see which produces the best grapes, said Timothy E. Martinson, senior viticulture extension associate at Cornell University.
The vine cordon, or trunk, can be grown in three ways: it can be placed low to let the canes sprout upward; it can be grown high so that the canes flop down, or an umbrella technique can be used in which canes are trained to twist together, taking the shape of a canopy.
Canes produce anywhere from 12 to 15 buds in the fall when theyre fully grown, which can each produce another cane. During the study, vine canes will be tested at different lengths to determine what size develops the best grapes.
The bottom line is, were wondering if we can tweak the way we grow the vines to end up with better fruit at the end of the year at lower costs, Mr. Martinson said. The way vines are grown affects their quality and maturity, and by influencing conditions we may be able to make grapes riper.
A second research project will include yeast trials to discover what varieties of grapes produce the yeast for different wines when theyre exposed to changing weather conditions. The research trials conducted in Clayton will be compared with findings from vineyards at the University of Minnesota and University of Vermont.
Because cold-hardy grape vineyards were introduced in 1996, theres still plenty of groundbreaking research to do, said Anna Katharine Mansfield, the assistant professor of enology at Cornell University who is leading the yeast research.
We get a lot of demand for yeast trials in the industry, but theyre difficult to do well because the grapes are in climate change from year to year, she said. This is the first time this has been done with cold-hardy grapes and we hope to draw some conclusions that will have a global impact.
The research also could save wine makers in the north country valuable time by giving them tips for using grapes that produce the best yeast to make wine.
This will give people trying to make wine themselves a head start, because theyll be able to know which grapes work the best and in what temperatures, she said.
To register, call Jefferson County Cornell Cooperative Extension at 788-8450 or email Chrislyn Particka at firstname.lastname@example.org.