The Vineyard at Whiteface Hollow
The vines for our vineyard are in the ground! We prepared the beds in the Fall of 2017 and planted 1/4 acres in the Spring of 2018. Six cold hardy grape varieties, three red and three whites, were selected from the University of Minnesota's and Elmer Swenson's special viniculture grape breeding programs for their ability to produce superior tasting, medium and full bodied fruity wine that can grow and mature in our New England Climate.
We have fantastic soil for cultivating wine grapes; our location, on a hilltop, is perfectly situated and receives all-day sunlight throughout the growing season. Monitoring the health, vigor and growth of our test plot and the impact of our micro-climate on vine health, will provide us with important insights for expanding the vineyard at a future date.
It typically takes 3-5 years for vines to mature and produce a "good" harvest suitable for wine production. Our initial test plot should provide 300 - 500 bottles/year under normal conditions once the vines are fully mature.
All vines made it through the snowy winter of 2018/19 very well and are growing vigorously. We had a large number of grape clusters, a great sign of health for such young vines, all of which we removed to improve longer-term vine development. From outward appearance, our white varieties continue to show more vigorous growth than our reds… but our reds look like they are catching up - Year three (2020) should be a good indicator for relative comparison.
In early Spring, we replaced our trellis system - a big job - to strengthen the overall system and provide more weight bearing capability on the wires.
November 2018: Vines have dropped all leaves entering dormancy. We look forward to pruning in late winter
October 2018: Very cold weather (26F) and snow/sleet — very unusual - vines showing some color change. Shoots developing into canes.
Sept 2018: Vines have a full leaf canopy and look good
August 2018: The vines continue to grow well - some signs of black rot and Downy but overall plants appear in good shape
Mid-July 2018: After nine weeks in the ground, a number of the vines have already reached the top wire! Removed grow tubes early to harden-off vines and to aid in getting more air flow
June 2018: Vines appear to be growing well inside grow tubes - insects attacking some vines.
May 2018: New vines are planted and in the ground