I hope that everyone has their “wish list” of grapevine rootstocks and cultivars on order through nurseries at this point (in fact, 18 months in advance of vine delivery increases the chance of rootstock/scion preference, but ordering vines this far in advance may not always practical…).
I often hear from industry members that Petit Manseng is not always readily available from nurseries. If it was a poor-performing cultivar, then this situation would be fine left alone. But this grape is well-suited to be cultivated in our challenging climate, as it bears relatively rot tolerant grapes that contain nice aromatics with high sugars and acidity. Thus, if you cannot find Petit Manseng from a nursery, please contact one of the following growers if you are interested in getting dormant budwood cuttings. You will need to obtain these cuttings between the new year and March, ship them to a nursery, and ask them to graft them to your rootstock of choice. If you send them budwood this winter, you will not receive dormant grafted vines until spring 2019.
Thanks to the following Petit Manseng growers for their kindness:
Gary Engel at Engelheim Vineyards (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Carl Fackler at Stonewall Creek Vineyards (email@example.com)
Jeff Parker at Yonah Mountain Vineyards (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While on the topic of cultivar considerations, please consider the mild nature of recent winters. If these patterns persist, the threat of Pierce’s Disease (PD) will keep pushing further north as time goes on (Anas et al. 2008). In fact, we saw several cases of PD this season – in several vineyards around 1300-1500 feet, but also some vineyards above 2000 feet. Thus, PD-tolerant cultivars might become of increasing interest to growers in northern/piedmont Georgia, but also in warmer areas of Virginia and North Carolina. These cultivars currently include Norton, Blanc du Bois, Lenoir, and Villard blanc. We are also in the early stages of evaluating the suitability of Crimson Cabernet, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Norton hybrid, to high PD-threat regions. Finally, we have plans to evaluate the new, high-vinifera parentage, PD-tolerant cultivars developed at UC Davis. Andy Walker, breeder of those cultivars, will speak at this year’s Georgia Wine Producers Conference, to be held on January 23-24 at Chateau Elan. Please put this on your calendars – more details to come in the near future about the wonderful program scheduled for this conference). Muscadine grapes also thrive in high-PD threat regions.
Anas, O., Harrison, U. J., Brannen, P. M., and Sutton, T. B. 2008. The effect of warming winter temperatures on the severity of Pierce’s disease in the Appalachian mountains and Piedmont of the southeastern United States. Online. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-2008-0718-01-RS.