Sunday, June 20, 2010
"I could make twice as much wine if I didn't have to grow the grapes." August Sebastiani
It is not word for word, but the quote is close to the though expressed by one of California's founding wine-fathers. The sentiment expresses how much time and attention wine grapes take and if left to another, then more time could be spent buying grapes and making more gallons.
Funny thing is, the quote was by a California vintner. Given the ease of growing conditions in CA. one has to wonder what it's like for everyone else. Well let me tell you that PA is the perfect place for Amish and other non-drinkers.
Today marks the eighth year to the date that I started growing wine grapes in PA and it ain't easy. Experimentation with root stock, varietal, clonal selection, certified, non-certified. No wonder viticulture gave way to beer brewing in the colonies. Too many other crops are better suited for a farmers needs.
If all I had to do was make wine...I now understand fully what Mr Sebastiani was saying. Started and failed are Grenache, Zinfandel, Viogonier, Syrah; still struggling are Traminette, Corot Noir, Noiret all hybryd grapes that were supposed to make it in this area. Root stocks varied: 3309, St. George, native..nothing seems to work in this heavy, red iron filled, rocky soil.
One jewel though, Seyval Blanc, seems to be the one. I planted it because it has many options as a wine; sparkling, dry, late harvest. I ran out of space in my test plot so I had to container plant the last 2 vines. Boy was I surprised. Every vine produced grapes the first year. Ya have to clip them or the vine becomes strained. The container vines are very strong as well.
It may be that this hybrid wine grape, which grows well in Northern England as well as Wales, is the perfect PA grape after all. Now I have to develop a style. I was hoping to tap into my German/Irish roots and make a Kabinet wine using Traminette as a blend component. This grape is struggling. I'm gonna need to get help, but it may be that PA is a perfect New World Rhine Region and like our old world brothers, we need to focus on our whites; Pinot Blanc, & Gris, and Riesling, Gewurztraminer-esc type grapes.
Might take me another eight years, but all good wine, is worth the time.
Every vine produced berries
Posted by George Parkinson at 6:57 AM