By Jodi Creasap Gee
"I have some land, and I want to plant vines in the next couple of weeks. What can you tell me about growing grapes?"
This question is a common one for viticulture extension specialists across the country and at Cornell. Extension associates have all developed their own lists of new grower resources, but we still spend a considerable amount of time answering the same questions for many different people on grape growing fundamentals, cultivar selection, site selection, and vineyard layout. All are good questions and essential to consider prior to planting a new vineyard. So, we start at the beginning and talk to potential growers about ordering vines through harvesting the first crop. During meetings, we viticulture extension specialists would muse to each other, "Gosh, it'd be nice to have a web resource to which I could direct people before they come to me with specific questions."
In response, Cornell viticulture extension educators have developed a new web resource—the Cornell Grape Research and Production Education (GRaPE) Pages—to serve as a guideline for those new to grape production. This website contains research-based information on vineyard planning, planting and management from two years prior to planting through the first year vines are in the ground. Business, vineyard and pest management are all covered, in addition to variety and site selection, insect and disease scouting, record keeping, and weed management.
The project was funded by the Viticulture Consortium-East, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, and the Lake Erie Regional Grape Research and Extension Program, Inc. Jodi Creasap Gee, viticulture extension educator with the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program, led the website and content development. Additional contributions were made by Finger Lakes Grape Program extension viticulture specialist Hans Walter-Peterson, senior extension associate Tim Martinson, and Tim Weigle, Kevin Martin, and Andy Muza of the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program.
We are pleased to provide this resource to new and potential growers who want extensive introductory grape production information on a single website. Content will change as more up-to-date information becomes available. In the meantime, peruse the site, pass it along, and send us feedback on what you like and what could be improved!
Jodi Creasap Gee is viticulture extension educator with the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program, a joint program of Cornell and Pennsylvania State University.