Tuesday, April 17, 2007
On Friday, Keith Striegler, director of The Institute for Continental Climate Viticulture and Enology came out to survey the frost damage to the vines. Keith was one of my teachers and mentors from Fresno, and now he works for us here in Missouri. He cut into some buds with a razor blade to see if they were green in the middle, to see how much bud damage we had. If a vine looked really bad, he shaved a small piece of the bark to see green to tell if the vine was even still alive. The Concord and Vignoles are not good at being fruitful on secondary or tertiary buds, so if we get any crop on them it will be a miracle. The Norton and Vidal look about the same, with about 60% damage, and the Seyval is supposed to be one of the most fruitful on secondary and tertiary buds, so he thought we would get a full crop from those vines. He said a frost of this much devastation, from Oklahoma to North Carolina, has not been documented in 118 years.
The next 6 weeks are the most critical, to see what if anything comes back and buds and sets fruit. Our hearts are heavy, our babies are sick, and we will have to be patient for their recovery. As Keith says, "this is a learning experience."