It has been a successful first research season in the vineyards of North Georgia.

The UGA Extension Viticulture Team finished harvesting their last research plots of the season two weeks ago.  As we reflect on this past season, we can now see that it was a race from the start.  Dr. Cain Hickey joined UGA in early spring and immediately got the ball rolling with some leaf pulling, cane pruning, and canopy management research. With help and collaboration from UGA graduate students, county extension agents, lab technicians, and vineyard owners and managers, several data sets were collected, including bud break, canopy light measurements, berry chemistry, lateral shoot lengths, cluster counts, cluster weights,  berry size, and total crop yield.  We will take data on shoot length between pruning treatments and also measure the weights of pruned dormant canes over the winter.   This data is essentially the first statistical wine grape research done in Georgia since prohibition, and that’s exciting! The answers we gain from this research have immediate relevance to how we grow grapes and manage our vines across Georgia.  We are already seeing some interesting preliminary results, even increasing yields by as much as 45% with no reduction in sugar accumulation.  As the viticulture team continues to help carry out Dr. Hickey’s research in coming years, it is an ever-present goal to work closely with our industry. We also want to make sure your questions are being answered and your problems are being looked into as we grow to support each other. Please keep us informed of your issues and concerns and we will be sure to respond to them.

In addition to the research that has been accomplished this season, Dr. Hickey and several members of the UGA Extension Viticulture Team have already secured grant dollars in order to purchase necessary equipment needed to gain more precise and valuable data. This is only the first of several grants that Dr. Hickey will apply for to further his research…. but what a great start!

The UGA viticulture team looks forward to continuing to serve the Georgia’s growing wine industry. Whether you are planting Vitis vinifera, French American or interspecific hybrids, or native American varieties, or musadines, a basic understanding of canopy management, integrated pest management, nutrition and quality is invaluable to success.  The team is committed to evolving with the industry and continuing to do applied research in order to provide the best scientifically-supported information to our local and southeastern regional industry stakeholders.  Please come out to one of our field days / workshops to learn, network, and become a part of the growing industry.

We want to thank all the participating vineyards/wineries who allowed us to set up research plots on-site, as well as the support from the Georgia Wine Producers and Winegrower’s Association of Georgia.



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