Evaluation of Wine Grape Cultivars and Selections for a Cool Maritime Climate

The trial was begun in 2000 with two plots, one located at Mount Vernon research station and one located at a vineyard near Concrete. A randomized block of 3 replications, with 5 plants per replication was established. At the station site, plot dimensions are 10′ rows with 6′ between plants, and the upriver plot at 8′ rows with 6′ between plants. A preliminary evaluation, consisting of three plants per variety in two rows, is to test certain other varieties/selections to be added to the primary trial later if their performance warrants it. A rootstock trial of Pinot Noir 2A has been planted consisting of seven rootstocks plus self rooted plants, to test for earlier ripening potential. This trial includes five plants of Pinot Noir 2A on each rootstock, replicated three times, at each plot location.

Plots were established in spring 2000. Irrigation lines, posts and wires were installed in the 2000 season and vines were pruned and trained to the Guyot method in spring 2001. In the fall of 2001, fruit was produced in most of the rootstock trial plots and in some of the variety trial plots. Netting was applied to the fruit bearing plots to protect from bird damage, and equipment for more efficient application of netting successfully tested and acquired. Preliminary data was collected from testing of brix and acid from sample fruit.

In both the station plot and the upriver plot there were indications of earlier ripening on Pinot Noir 2A grafted on certain rootstocks when compared to fruit on own root plants. However, insufficient fruit was available for complete data analysis in all the plots. In December 2001 the plot at Concrete was moved to a more favorable location, which would also extend the trial to serve potential growers in the adjacent Whatcom County area. Contacts are being initiated with cooperating growers throughout western Washington. Each site is asked to obtain a weather monitoring system (Avatel) and to coordinate the resulting data with other sites.

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