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Extension Agent: Gulf Coast Vineyard Field Day tours

May 24, 2011 at 12:24 a.m.


By Joe Janak

There has been increased interest in the Texas Gulf Coast for growing grapes, mostly for the wine industry. Numerous small 1- to 5-acre vineyards have sprung up throughout the coastal counties.

As a result, the first Gulf Coast Vineyard Field Day has been planned and is less than a month away. This new event will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m., June 10, at the Grohmann Farms Vineyard, 1101 Sedan Road, Weimar. The Gulf Coast Vineyard Field Day will provide a great opportunity to network with growers and winemakers, while learning hands on viticulture practices that apply to your commercial vineyard. Following are just some of the topics that will be addressed at the field day:

YOUNG VINE TRAINING, SUMMER PRUNING

There are blocks of first-, second-, and third-leaf vines at the vineyard to be toured. New and expanding growers will be able to see the process of young vine training demonstrated in the field, including trunk and cordon development. They will also be discussing vineyard design and young vine care of Blanc Du Bois and Black Spanish/Lenoir vines.

TRAINING SYSTEM EVALUATION

AgriLife Extension has initiated a vineyard demonstration at the Grohmann Farms Vineyard to investigate different training systems for a vertical-shoot-positioned trellis setup, including standard VSP cordon/spur pruned vines, vertical canopy division, similar to Smart-Dyson, cordon/spur pruned, and a four-can parallel/cane pruned system. This is the first-ever demonstration to directly compare cane pruning with cordon pruned Blanc Du Bois. You'll get to see this demonstration on the Field Day.

AIRBLAST SPRAYER CALIBRATION

AgriLife Extension will walk the audience through the hands-on process of sprayer calibration with a Jacto Arbus airblast sprayer. Water sensitive cards will be set in the vineyard canopy to illustrate their usefulness for evaluating spray coverage. Equipment dealers will also be present to answer questions about vineyard equipment, such as airblast sprayers and herbicide sprayers, including the Enviromist controlled droplet applicator.

SOIL MOISTURE MONITORING AND INTERPRETATION

AgriLife Extension will demonstrate proper techniques for installing watermark soil moisture sensors. They will also review the soil moisture data collected this year at the Grohmann Farms Vineyard and show how this data was used in conjunction with evapotranspiration to determine when to water and how much water to apply.

All registration will be completed on-site the morning of the event. The cost for the full day is $25, which includes lunch and refreshments. Please dress to be out in the vineyard, and bring a folding chair if you wish to sit during the field presentations and demonstrations. CEUs will be provided to licensed pesticide applicators.

If you are interested in growing grapes for a commercial vineyard operation, this is the place to attend and start making your plans. I encourage you to RSVP via email to fawestover@ag.tamu.edu, or call 713-584-3360 if you wish to attend, so they will have an accurate head count for the catered lunch.

The County Crop Tour will be June 16, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Sons of Hermann Hall, in DaCosta.

Joe Janak is a Victoria County extension agent.

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