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. In December 2001 the plot at Concrete was moved to a vineyard near Everson, which would also extend the trial to serve potential growers in the adjacent Whatcom County area. 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 9′ rows with 5′ between plants. A varietal pretest of three plants per variety will evaluate 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, and 2 additional replications at the Mount Vernon site.Plots established in 2000 produced sufficient fruit for preliminary harvest data and limited wine production in 2002. Data was collected from testing of brix and acid from sample fruit before and at harvest, and data on the juice at time of pressing for wine was also collected. Preliminary observations indicated earlier ripening on Pinot Noir 2A grafted on certain rootstocks when compared to fruit on own root plants. Data also suggested that certain red varieties have good potential to ripen effectively in western Washington and produce wines of high quality. Some varieties from the pretest will be added to the main trial and poorly performing varieties removed.