Grape Growers Harvest Report 2020

Grape Growers Harvest Report 2020

Participants:

Liberty Hills Estate and Winery – Jim and Marcia Compton

Melancy Hills Vineyard – Mel Heffley

Totem Pole Ranch and Winery – Don and Joan Hopler

Vin Laughery – Don Laughery

Raspberry Run – Pat and Jack Moyer

Bonnybrook Vineyard – Larry Smarr

Question 1 – How would you describe this past season’s harvest?

Compton’s – Below average.

Heffley – Great.

Hopler’s – We did not get a single grape. WE put up netting 27-29 July.  It was about a week too late. Nightly we had 26 deer that cleaned us out.

Laughery – Terrible.

Moyer’s – It was better than the past two years. Yay!

Smarr – It was okay, but not great. I had a 50% yield in Cab Franc due to rot.

Question 2 – What fruit/grapes did well and what did not do well?

Compton’s – Riesling grapes did not do well. They rotted on the vine.  The other varieties did well. 

Heffley – Chambourcin, Chancellor and Traminette did well.

Hopler’s – N/A

Laughery – Niagara and Buffalo did well. Everything else which was some kind of hybrid was poor. Vinifera are nearly all dead due to Pierces’ disease.  

Moyer’s – The peaches and apples did poorly due to the late frost. Insect damage was more than usual despite spraying. The grapes were fair to good. The Cayuga vines died.

Smarr – Traminette did well. Cab Franc did not. It was low in yield.

Question 3 – Was weather a factor this season?     

Compton’s – Not really.

Heffley – None.

Hopler’s – No, it was the deer.

Laughery – No.

Moyer’s – Yes.

Smarr – No, actually it was much better than the last two years.

Question 4 – What problems did you encounter or struggle with this season?      

Compton’s – I had no Baco Noir or Catawba. The birds and deer had a field day with them.

Heffley – None.

Hopler’s – N/A

Laughery – Hybrids that have Vinifera in their parentage were weaken by Pieces’ disease last year. Also, I did not spray for powdery mildew and I paid the price.       

Moyer’s – Drought and bugs.

Smarr – Late season botrytis in Cab Franc. (Editor’s note Botrytis blight, also is known as gray mold, is a fungal disease. Botrytis blight causes buds and flowers to develop abnormally and turn brown. I had to look it up.)

Question 5 – What was your harvest yield for 2019?

Compton’s – I had no Baco Noir or Catawba. The birds and deer had a field day with them.

Heffley – 2 ton.

Hopler’s – I purchased 4 tons of grapes from Halbrandt winery.         

Laughery – 300 pounds.

Moyer’s – 56 gallons.

Smarr – 2.1 tons from 2 acres.

Question 6 – What is your normal harvest for a season?   

Compton’s – Baco Noir and Catawba each normally 20+ gallons.

Heffley – 4-5 ton.

Hopler’s – N/A

Laughery – 1000 to 1300 pounds.

Moyer’s – Three years ago I had 68 gallons.

Smarr – 4-5 tons.

Question 7 – What do you plan to do differently this season to improve/help your harvest?

Compton’s – Nothing really. Maybe not prune as much.

Heffley – Nothing.

Hopler’s – N/A

Laughery – Planted hybrids in place of dead Vinifera.  I will spray the entire   vineyard for powdery mildew.

Moyer’s – Pray! Also I will weed more.

Smarr – I will consider fertilization.

Question 8 – Do you have any unique stories you would like to share about this harvest or others?

Compton’s – Tis the season to thin out the deer population.

Heffley – I didn’t sell as many grapes.  I mostly used them for myself.  The past         three years were disasters.

Hopler’s – N/A

Laughery – Frustration! I am questioning why I do it when I can take a ride down to Philadelphia and return with 6 gallon buckets from California for a few hundred bucks. And it makes excellent wine.

Moyer’s – Growing grapes is way too much work and expense, especially when conditions are crazy from year to year.

Smarr – I let the Cab Franc hang too long, in order to get the brix up. I should have started picking a week earlier.