I got ahead of myself on the last post describing the building but I wanted to introduce it to everyone as construction began. Backing up a bit...
Bringing Home the Grapes
When we got home we unloaded the macrobins into the chilled trailer.
View inside the trailer after the 265 gallon tanks and macrobins holding our grapes were loaded.
I hustled up to Linweld in Sioux Falls to pick up our CO2 and Nitrogen tanks. We will use the CO2 to push oxygen out of the tanks before we do any transfers to protect from oxidation. We will also use the CO2 when the transfer has finished. We will use the Nitrogen to sparge our wine bottles before we bottle. We have a love-hate relationship with oxygen...
Our First Crush
One of our favorite things about our site is our neighbors grazing cattle and calves. So peaceful...
Mom working the Max Tapener to tie up the vines, we couldn't do this without our family. The weather was crazy that night... A change is a comin'! (Fall)
They sure have grown! These are the Frontenac vines on the Knoll.
My nephew running in the rain...
Not the most ideal situation, such is life, but we made it work!
What's at the end of the rainbow?
Will! putting Frontenac Gris grapes into the press! ;o) Cheesy. But I had to go there...
Will testing the brix (sugar) in the Frontenac Gris juice after it was pressed.
Adjusting the crusher/destemmer for the Frontenac.
Will describing the process.
It was a long night, but we accomplished much. La Crescent and Marquette to process the next morning!
Sunflower at the entrance of the vineyard and winery.
La Crescent being pressed!
River, my nephew, catching the last of the juice... Precious.
Things are moving quickly! Hard to keep up, will have more to come soon!
We are so excited to get the winery building up and running! The building is being constructed on a hilltop with the view centered on the valley of grazing cattle and calves, and woods of a wildlife preserve---beautiful during every season.
Building we fell in love with.
Will designed the floor plan with everything easily accessible on one level. Event area will be on the left end (West) of the building, tasting room in center, and production will be on the right (East). We fell in love with a building we found on the internet and tried to designed it after that. We are working with Stouwies Construction out of Inwood, IA on our building construction and things are starting to progress.
We plan to use 1"x8" cedar tongue and groove siding.
Our goal at Calico Skies Vineyard and Winery, Inc. will be to make your visit an experience. Surrounded by vineyard, rolling hills, a view into production, and amazing sunsets---Calico Skies Vineyard and Winery will provide an educational, relaxing, and high quality wine experience that exposes guests to the adventure of exploring lowa wines. The main focus will be that of the enjoyment of wine, however, we will also specialize in the sale of unique locally made products and edible goods. Our economically sustainable winery will have a lasting positive influence on the community for generations to come. The facility will house the tasting room, restrooms, barrel room, storage, production area (winery), and a large events center for year round events. We will provide tours of the vineyard and winery to help form connections between our customers and our business. Guests can come to relax and discover our high quality lowa wines and local goods with friends and family.
This portion of the building will be where the grapes will be de-stemmed, crushed, pressed, and wines crafted. It will house the tanks, barrels, processing equipment, and bottling supplies. The North portion of the building will be our 25, 000 bottle cellar for finished wine.
Wedding receptions, business parties, winery events (music, dances), and private gatherings---this area is designed to seat approximately 250 guests with the option of opening up to the tasting room or to extend the event outside (weather permitting). We situated the events area to be on the West side of our land so that the beautiful Iowa sunsets can be enjoyed during your event.
As the Building Grows
The more our daylight hours decrease, the more we need the light!!! The building construction is picking up. With concrete, wall framing, and rafters, we are happy to see some progress. We had planned to have the production section of the building up and ready for fermentation in time for us to process our first load of grapes... Unfortunately, there have been some delays, and we've had to adapt and overcome.
Pads for Production
Before any concrete could be poured, the ground needed to leveled and pounded to settle the gravel. The floor was then reinforced with rebar for added support since we will be driving on it with the forklift.
The gentlemen from R C Concrete were there bright and early at 7:30 AM to get started on the production pad. This area will hold the fermentation tanks, the lab, utilities, wine storage, and barrel room. A bit more complicated to pour due to it all needing to slope to the drains.
This summer I have really learned to appreciate the work that goes into concrete pouring. It is an intense process... Consistency, timing, tools, and speed all seem to be stressed, but these boys have it down like clockwork. Because of all of the sloping for drainage needed in the production room, it all needed to be handscreeded.
Like most things, adding water to concrete will dilute it's ingredients, reducing the quality of the concrete. It does, however, make it easier to pour, work with, and clean up so from what I hear, it is very tempting to add water...
Will did a "slump test" on each concrete load to check the consistency of each load and how hard the concrete was before it cured.
Will on the last step of the slump test, tapping the cone with the rod on both sides two times, lifting up the cone, and measuring how many inches the concrete "slumps". Ours had a bit of a range, between 4 and 6 inches... We were looking to have 4 inch slump, but the concrete turned out beautifully and with the reinstatement of the rebar it should be good and strong.
The boys applying the finishing touches to the production area.
Working on the crush pad.
Our crush pad (outdoor) will be used for unloading our grapes from macrobins into the crusher/destemmer using a forklift with a rotating attachment. (Forklift supposed to be here last Friday, 9.3.10---not going to be here until Tuesday...) The crush pad will also be used for pressing the grapes/must. They were able to power screed this area and the applied a brush finish so the surface wouldn't be "slippery when wet".
Our business name was accepted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office! We are officially
Calico Skies Vineyard and Winery, Inc. So we put it in concrete...
Will spraying our new concrete with water to help it cure more gradually to reduce cracking in unwanted areas.
It's been a roller coaster ride of emotions. Good news... We have concrete! But it'll take a couple weeks for it to cure and be strong enough for us to drive on... Therefore, bad news. We still had no where to process our grapes that we would be getting the following week... Good news! We had a refrigerated trailer on it's way...
Bad news... It had been a couple years since it had been running. Good news! Bill from H & H Repair (Inwood, IA) was on his way...
It just needed a dose of freon and it was back in business!
We received the Federal Bonding for our Winery!
Still trying to get those shoots up on the trellis and off the ground! We've had lots of help lately. Will's mom made it from central Iowa and we accomplished much tying of shoots and nailing up of wire.
Vines were still growing pretty vigorously! 8.28.10
Before... 8.28.10 After...
Because we got a bit behind in putting up our trellis the shoots started to grow together quite a bit making it difficult to tie them up once we got the trellis up. We took out the bamboo stakes and separated the shoots and tied them onto the trellis. 8.28.10
Ouch! Buffalo Burr=free acupuncture. Seeing some disease in the vineyard (anthracnose) disease control will be our main focus next year in the vineyard.
To come back to our test run... We let the aronia berries sit on their skins around four days, (8.22-8.26), then it was time to try out our press for the first time, and break in our new 80 gallon variable capacity tank.
Readying the equipment!
Loading up the press!
Pressing the aronia!
Now we wait until the fermentation is near completion, then we will rack the wine off of the settled yeast, and other particulates.
The First Official Fermentations
With our temporary production facility in order, and the government happy, we started off on our road trip four hours away (Mitchell, IA) to to pick up our first load of grapes.
Will couldn't contain his excitement...
We were kind of late in the game for finding grapes, so we weren't sure what we would find when we got there. We arrived to pales and pales full of beautiful La Crescent grapes! Relieved and excited, we started cleaning, sulfiting (keep them free of bacteria and micro-organisms), and adding a chunk of dry ice to the macrobins. The dry ice was added to keep the grapes cooler as well as surrounding them with CO2 to protect them from oxygen during the trip home. We also sprayed them with a sulfite solution to keep them from starting to ferment.
Approximately 2200 lbs of La Crescent were picked. We plan to make a delicious dry to semi-sweet white wine. Common descriptors are: apricot, peach, citrus, and floral. It would be similar to a Riesling (if it has floral aromas), or possibly a Sauvignon Blanc (if it has aromas of citrus).
2200 lbs of Marquette as well. Common descriptors of wine made from Marquette are: Cherry, berry, black pepper, and spice. Similar to what a Cabernet Sauvignon might taste like.
Because there was such great help, we were able to hang around the macrobins and transfer the buckets to the bins while sorting out the MOG (material other that grapes) and any clusters that weren't up to par.
Approximately 1500 lbs of Frontenac Gris. We plan to make more of a dessert style wine out of this. Common descriptors are: peach, apricot, citrus, and tropical fruit with a wine coloration of pink/peach.
Many vineyards in Iowa were hit by a late frost on Mother's Day (May 7th, 2010), which hurt their yields dramatically. Luckily this vineyard didn't receive much damage and yields were good. I was impressed with the canopy, the grapes had good exposure to the sun, and the disease was at minimum. The couple hopes to open a winery someday soon, so look for it on the map in Mitchell, IA (Northeastern IA) within the next couple of years. They, too, have been attending Des Moines Area Community College to become certified in Viticulture and Enology.
We were also hoping to purchase around 2000 lbs of Frontenac, but our load was getting a bit heavy and we had a four hour drive back home ahead of us... Common descriptors of Frontenac are: cherry and black currant, I have tasted a few that resemble what a Merlot might taste like. We will be receiving Frontenac from a vineyard in Maxwell, IA within the next couple weeks to make up for what we weren't able to pick up. We have a few different ideas on how to process the Frontenac... Possibly blend with Marquette to increase complexity, or make a varietal wine (75% Frontenac), or possibly a "Port" style wine.
This is just the beginning of our grapes/juice. We were hoping to process a total of 16 tons of grapes this year. Due to the low yields Iowa grape growers have been experiencing, we are still on the search. We will be getting juice (grapes that have already had the juice pressed out of them), in October. Concord, Catawaba, Brianna, and possibly Traminette, are among the cultivars we will be receiving.
As I said before, we were worried our load was getting a bit too heavy for the truck/trailer to handle... The first picture below, case and point. Thankfully we had some help from the picking crew to solve this dilemma. We were able to flip the hitch around and gain four inches in clearance.
In order to record the amount of grapes received, we weighed the truck and trailer empty, and full of grapes. We did make it home safely, all bins and grapes accounted for. Phew!
More to Come!
Much much much more to come... I have gotten a couple weeks behind in my postings and quite a bit has been happening... I will be posting again soon!
A sneak peak...
We made a lot of progress last weekend. We are 100% completed with the post pounding in the "Middle Place". Will's dad came out from central Iowa to help, and they were movin'. We have also begun stringing the wire from post to post in the row. My mom and Aunt were a big help getting that started. We can NOT wait to get the vines growing up on the wires.
We have finished tying up the vines on the "Knoll", and they have already started to take hold and grow into their new home.
So... LET THE POUNDING CONTINUE.
There was no time wasted as we moved our focus to the "Middle Place". The 4"x8' posts go in pretty smoothly... However, the 5"x8' posts that we use for the posts at the very end of the rows, can be buggers.
Will attempting to make some minor adjustments...
Dogs on the prowl for rodents...
The Kimberley Duo
When Will's dad came into town, he meant business... These boys pounded around 60 posts in 3 days and constructed nearly 40 H-braces. The weather was muggy, and hot. But they powered through despite it all.
While the boys were pounding, the girls picked up their hammers and tape measures. They measured and marked the posts at 62" and 36" and nailed each wire at the those heights.
Dad also frequents the vineyard when he's not doing the million other things on his list... Tendril tying is his favorite. He has also been helping Will finish up the H-braces, and tightening and splicing the wire.
Vents and Pipes.
GNR Plumbing out of Inwood, IA came out to install the in floor ventilation distribution system for the heating and cooling in the tasting room, and pipes for the geothermal heating and cooling system. We will have three separate zones controlling the production room, tasting room, and events.
We now have electricity wired to the building!
We began digging the trench for the electric conduit in to the utility room for production so we can later run the electric lines through the production room... Dan (Dan's Electric-Inwood, IA) and his crew came to finish things up...
Shipment of Equipment
Crusher, destemmer, and hoses with fittings.
Macrobins, gaskets, glass lab ware and filters...
These are a few of Will's favorite things...
This is our "plate and frame filter" all packaged up. This will be used to remove any yeasts and/or particulates that hadn't settled to the bottom of the tank while fermentation/aging.
What it should look like when we have it together.
The larger hose will be used for transfers of juice and skin (must), and the smaller hose will be used for transfers of juice and wine. In amongst the hoses is our barrel washer.
The excitement continues!
Our second shipment contained 5 boxes of goodies...
Aronia berries - packed with anti-oxidents, higher than grapes and blueberries, for example. We were contacted by a local farmer asking if we might be interested in fermenting some of his backyard berries. And we said, "yes!" As we just got our equipment in, this was our chance to break it in.
The aronia berries have high tannin, (the dry feeling in the mouth), VERY high pigmentation, and it was picked at a low sugar (brix) content. The juice, however, was delicious.
Berry picking crew Will testing the sugar (brix).
Personally I've always been one to be a bit disgusted by the berry stomp idea... But now I say... Don't knock it 'till you try it! We had a great time.
The boys making the sugar additions. We needed to add sugar so we can ferment to around 12% alcohol, for stability of the wine.
Concrete and the Real Deal.
Up next... Pouring the floor to the production room and exterior concrete pad, and the grape scramble...
Our main focus the past couple weeks has been to GET THE TRELLIS UP! We've been pounding posts, nailing, splicing, stretching and tying...
The Training System
Of the many options there are for a training system for the grape vines, we decided to use what's called "high bi-lateral cordon", or "high wire" for all of our cultivars.
Vine trained to multiple shoots to maximize leaf area.
The most common issue that we have seen in midwest vineyards has been overly vigorous growth, (multiple leaf layers) causing excessive shading in the canopy. This increases the potential of disease, decreased fruit quality---fruit shaded by leaves/not exposed to sun will affect the clusters ability to ripen appropriately, decreased fruitfulness for following years, and reduced ability for vines to harden off before the first frost.
Most of the cultivars we have chosen to grown have a natural tendency to grow downward (procumbant). Downward growth is known to devigorate the vines. The "high wire" training/trellis will allow for downward growth with the fruiting zone near the top wire.
Our first year of growth we have been focusing on maximizing leaf area for increased root system. For that reason we have kept multiple shoots growing, vs. choosing one shoot to grow for the future trunk. When it comes time to prune in late winter/early spring of year 2, we will prune to two shoots/trunks. We will then focus on establishing the cordon.
The past weekend we accomplished our goal of finishing the trellis for the "Knoll", furthest southwest area of the vineyard. This was quite a relief as they had outgrown their bamboo canes and needed something else to hang on to.
We continued our 8'x10' spacing, (8 feet between vines, and 10 feet between rows). We used 4"x8' posts every 24 feet, each pounded 2 feet, 4 inches deep. There are three vines between each pair of posts. The H-brace was our choice for the end assembly. The end post is a 5"x10' post pounded 4 feet deep.
There were a few 5"x10' posts that hit a few rocks on the way down... Bring out the auger!
We nailed our wires at 36" and the top wire at 62".
Next step was to tie up our shoots.
Rain delay! Always looking for an excuse to go to DQ.
The "Knoll" finished... What's next??
Why more of this of course... ;o) Our current goal is to finish pounding the posts for the "Middle Place", this contains our Marqette, La Crescent, Brianna, and Frontenac vines.
Will laying out the posts.
The fun that lies ahead---you might be able to see the posts laying across the rows ready to be pounded... It is actually pretty amazing to see the dramatic change in the landscape with the posts in the ground---really starting to look like a vineyard now!
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
So, it's been raining a lot lately... Approximately 10" in July, three times more than average. Good thing we have a well drained site and thin canopy (good airflow, reduced disease). Despite the rain, the past couple of weeks have been filled with, weeding, spraying, classes, fertilizing, post pounding, and some building progress.
The sump pit and drains were installed in the basement.
Will drilled the hole for the water line through the foundation wall.
Will got to help install the conduit. They had to dig under the foundation to run the electric conduit into the basement before the floor was poured.
With all of the rain we have been getting the weeds continue to grow... Earlier in the season we were able to carefully spray around the vines and in the rows. Weed control is one of the most important items on the list to stay on top of in a new vineyard. Thankfully the vines are also growing, however, this means we must be more careful with spray around the vines. To reduce the risk of spray damage/drift, we hand cultivated 2 feet in diameter around the vines and sprayed the remaining area in the rows.
It took us about a week and a half to accomplish weeding the entire vineyard while trying to balance the rest of our to-dos.
Some vines are getting as tall as Will (6 ft), while most are averaging out to about 5 feet. Need to get our trellis up!!! The picture above was taken on the "Knoll" located on the Southeast edge of the vineyard. Likely the most vigorous site due to the sandier soil --- warmer roots. The winery is being built where you can see the open soil and odd humps in the background.
So thankful we were able to purchase our post pounder from from a family friend, and fellow fencer... Sure beats augering---in speed and ease...
Since the vines planted on the "Knoll" are growing the most vigorously we will hopefully be able to finish that section of the trellis by this weekend (8.9.10)...
Due to the rain things are moving a bit more slowly than hoped... Not to say there hasn't been anything accomplished!
The floor trusses that go above the basement arrived on a warm late afternoon.
Above, Will gives a tour of our floorless/wallless winery.
And now we wait for the rain to let up, the sun to come out, and the soil to dry... We met with our contractor today (8.2.10) to make some decisions. Roof pitch and siding, decided. We are really happy with the way the building is looking on computer---can't wait to see it in real life!
As you may know we've been taking classes through DMACC to be certified viticulturists and enologists.This past weekend we were in Ankeny for a residential class (hands on learning). This was for a viticulture class taught by Randal Voss, we visited vineyards and looked at probable/common issues in the vineyard...
VIN 103, (vineyard pest management) scouting for insects and diseases...
Downey mildew on grapes... Phomopsis on shoots...
Anthracnose on grapes...
VIN 104 (grape growing for wine production), checking out some vineyards for canopy management... Canopy management important for quality fruit.
On the way back home we picked up our press! We purchased our press from Prairie Crossing Vineyard and Winery located outside of Treynor, IA. They were upgrading, and it was exactly what we were looking for... (They make a delicious port! "Portfolio")
It was an interesting/intense ride over to get it... Let's just say we were glad to get some weight on the trailer, and we were also glad that it fit onto the trailer. ;o)
Untill next time... Cheers!
June flew by which has created quite a gap in our blog posts... June was filled with spraying for weeds, vine planting, mowing row middles (between the rows), picking off any flower buds, building construction, fertilizing, installing trellis posts, planting replacement vines... mowing, spraying, spraying, spraying, installing bamboo canes, training shoots up, and how could I forget, fencing. We also have been trying to stay on top of our classes we are taking from Des Moines Area Community Collage as we work toward our Viticulture and Enology certification....
Let us bring you up to date... (this is a long one...)
Test Vineyard Grows
We planted a few more varieties in the test vineyard (South knoll of vineyard). We ordered our vines from a nursery in New York and this time they looked great. Pencil thick canes, disease free, and full, healthy roots.
We planted 30 of each variety:
So happy and relieved to say they are all alive, leafed out, and growing, being compared to our initial planting having major issues with our La Crescent vines...
Our Brianna (pic. below), on the other hand, is looking great!
You can see the flower buds in this picture, which we sadly had pick off... Too early to fruit! Need to get those roots going first.
A tractor ride benefit for a local school, Inwood Christian, took a drive by the vineyard en route to Newton Hills while we were planting. Beautiful day for a tractor ride!
We applied our first round of nitrogen (ammonium sulfate) around our little ones on June 3rd, and our second application should happen any time now. We spread the fertilizer by hand in a two foot radius around each vine, took a couple days.
As the vines begin to grow, we being to feel the pressure to have something for them to cling on to... And the post pounding begins again, this time for the trellis...
Have a feeling that this will be a project like the fence where we will do it when we can. It is getting harder and harder to find time as the building construction begins...
We have visitors... hopping and hoofed..
We aren't the only ones enjoying the lush new growth of the vines... What I first thought looked to be a nutrient deficiency on the Frontenac vines, I came to learn was actually damage from potato leaf hoppers. Mottled chlorotic leaves of which were first spotted on the Frontinac gradually started to be seen throughout the vineyard. While spraying for wretched weeds I noticed tiny insects hopping about a foot when taking a step... Identified as PLH, we were able to spray vines and row middles appropriately and the leave are looking solidly green once again...
It finally happened... The night before the last section of fence was to be installed, the deer found the sweet spot. They took a stroll through the vineyard chewing off the new growth as they pleased. About 30 vines were affected, and they should be able to recover...
The last few posts of the fence have been pounded, the mesh stretched, and the high tinsile strung, now we just need to come up with a gate for the entrance...
Bamboofitication. Reach for the sky.
As was stated before, it would more than likely take all summer to get the trellising finished so we ordered our bamboo stakes and started training the shoots onto them. We had planned on getting 6' bamboo canes but for some reason we ended up receiving 4 footers.
A Santa Barbara morning...
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!
Digging the footings and basement. I was pretty impressed with this process, and the gentlemen doing the digging.
Gravel delivered for our driveway!
Digging out a platform for our maintenance building on the North, and building up a driveway also on the North end.
Cornerstone Poured Foundations, Inc. brought in their crew...
Pouring the footings...
Bringing in the water.
The past week Will has been on PVC pipe detail. We had our water line trenched 6 feet deep---beginning on the North end of our land to the building---with an outlet also at the alleyway of the vineyard.
It's looking great! The vines are grabbing hold of the bamboo canes, there isn't any new evidence of insect damage, and the weather has been amazing---an inch and a half of perfectly timed rain this past weekend. It is, however, a constant battle to keep up with the weeds... but bring it on.
Mowing the row middles.
Will and the boys are backfilling and pounding gravel around the foundation... I will be continuing to spray weeds, and train the vines up...
Stay tuned! ;o)
Of course, there was quite a bit more, (hours, sweat, preparation, concern, soil temp. increase, root growth, photosynthesis...), involved in the journey to emergence for their new little leaves. Some are moving along quickly through the stages of growth, some more slowly, and a few---not at all, which we will be replacing ASAP.
We are seeing: dormant, early bud swell, late bud swell, bud burst, and 1-3" shoots.
We finished watering the vines a second time on Saturday (5.22) and should not need to water again for another couple weeks. (Introducing our makeshift hydrant in the upper left picture.)
We are currently re-setting some of the vines that settled a bit much after watering, and taking inventory on vines that had some issues, (e.g. no green tissue), more than likely, prior to planting.
We are getting pretty anxious to get the remaining fence up considering we now have growth on the vines and deer will be interested... We haven't seen any damage or footprints of deer yet, however, if anyone is missing a horse---we did see some tracks about the vineyard. We didn't have any damage from that. They got very close to the vines, but curiously, didn't step directly on them...
Three of the many hand collected rolls of barbed wire by Will while taking down fence along the road.
We have begun pounding posts for the fence along the North end of the road and we are in discussion of where to position the South end.
Say goodbye to the peaceful green pasture and hello to the bulldozer, for the moment, that is... And that may be a bit dramatic. Just a bit shocking to see our precious topsoil pushed to the side in preparation for winery building, and driveway construction.
But... "It's a good thing..." The building will have a beautiful design complimenting the pastoral setting once everything is put back in it's place.
R.L. Wulf Ltd... Robert knows how to get things done, and done right...
Black soil... One of the best smells on this earth... That, and freshly cut alfalfa.
He first moved the top soil to the side, to be put back in place when building is finished. He then grated the building site level, built up the entrance and driveway, made a drainage ditch behind the building so water will drain away from the building to the ditch and through the culvert.
Building progress to be continued. We are still waiting for some numbers (prices, bids) before we can dig the utility basement, but, hopefully we aren't too far from that step.
And the fencing begins---again...
Yes... More fencing. Will's favorite thing to do. He has also learned, while taking the old fence down, that barbed wire is a lot of fun to roll up. The picture above is actually of posts for the vineyard, which is a whole other project.
The county road grater was able to come out and push down the soil ridge that was along the fence line. This will help them, and us, by reducing snow drifting/accumulation on the road in the winter.
The weather has been perfect the past couple weeks the vines have had their feet in the ground. We received nearly an inch and a half the days following the super successful planting party. It started sprinkling just as we were finishing giving the newly planted vines their first drink, where that water came from, however, an issue in itself. Turned out that rural water had in fact NOT finished the job, and water was not available at that most crucial time. Thanks to the minds and muscles of the Bahnson and Kimberley families, we were able to put together a new plan. As Dad searched his yard for water tanks and trailers, the Kimberley fam. started up a bucket brigade. We became more efficient after my brother let us bring his semi-trailer filled with large water tanks to the site, and Will and Co. modified, (we love modifying machinery), a tank to have three output hoses.
Back to the weather... After the cool, cloudy, and moist days following the planting, the sun came out to warm up the soil.
In the next couple weeks we will be adding some vines (30 of each variety), to the test vineyard. These are promising cultivars that we hope to plant in the future... Click on cultivar name below to view research sheets provided by ISU extension.
We are also in search of an Tom Plocher cultivar named, 'Petite Pearl', a seedling of 'St. Croix' for the test vineyard, but it may have to wait until next year...
Ed Swanson, from Cuthills Vineyard and Winery in Pierce, Nebraska also has our interest in some cultivars he has been working on and we are awaiting their release...
We are currently in the process of watering the vines a second time in preparation for the warm and windy days ahead of us. It is so exciting to see some green on the vines that once looked like a stick--- We look forward to the next couple days of warmer weather for bud break!