2016 turned out to be a very busy year and also a very good year. First and foremost the winter of 2015-16 was normal or average on both temperature and precipitation. This allowed the vines a chance to mature normally and there was virtually no winter damage to the vines and buds.
As the summer progressed, rainfall in June and July created havoc for us. At the end of June, the year-to-date rainfall total was 21.13 inches, slightly higher than the average of 21.08 inches although June 2015 rainfall did crack the all time top ten. But if that was not bad enough, July’s rain made history mainly concentrated in central Indiana.
By mid-July the grapes were growing nicely and the clusters seemed to be doing very well. In late July/early August, we noticed some black spots on many of the leaves and several of the grapes were beginning to lose shape and turn black. We investigated and determined that “black rot” had invaded us.
First is an aerial view of the vineyard looking due North which was taken in July, 2013. There are 30 total rows with the five longest rows in the center of the “diamond” that are approximately 425 feet long. The Traminette are on the East (right) side, Marquette in the center with the Chambourcin on the far West (left) side.
In late 2010 a vineyard site was picked for its slow flowing topography and highway access. It is in the northeast corner of Montgomery County, Indiana, at the coordinates 40.7.21 N by 86.44.32 W with the approximate altitude of 761 feet. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Chart places this location in the southern range of Zone 5b with a cold hardiness temperature range of -10°F to -15°F. The 2+ acre vineyard is laid out on a North/South line with four types of soils as shown below.