We spotted the first purple grapes in our Marquette vineyard. They start out a milky green and then start turning purple as the ripening process shifts from growing the size of the individual grape to reducing the acidity, increasing the sugar level, and developing the flavor in the grape. This is called veraison and it means that harvest may start in 5–6 weeks. With a grape used to make white wine, the milky green grape shifts to a translucent amber color.

We are now starting to look seriously at what needs to be done before harvest. That includes regular sprays of fungicide and herbicide, almost constant mowing, and last-minute equipment maintenance. We also continue to tie up vines so they will be in position when we mechanically harvest. We will focus on La Crescent, Crimson Pearl, the newly planted LaCrosse, and vines in Meadowcreek East. We will drop the Brianna at Maple Woods because we don’t need it. That will allow the vines to put the energy required to ripen the grapes into making the vines stronger for next year.

Finally, the LaCrosse we planted this year at Maple Woods is, for the most part, growing VERY slowly. It might be because of the dry weather so we have been watering them almost weekly. We water using a Gator with a water tank and a small pump and both the driver and a second person water each side of the row. It is time-consuming but we’ve got to get it done. We think it is working. Normally, we’d expect that the vines would grow to the top wire (about 60 inches) in the first season. But, many of the cuttings haven’t even sprouted leaves while some are already growing out the top of the grow tubes. You can see this in the photos below. We pulled one cutting out and it was sprouting roots . . . just no leaves! It is possible that some of the root stock is defective. Stay tuned.