Wow those look nice. I picked my measly 20 lbs each of Frontenac and Frontenac Gris yesterday and crushed today. Unlike your drought problem we had rain overload here in Wisconsin. I lost half of my crop early in the year because of all of the moisture. Last year I had over twice as much of a yield from 3 year old vines. I'd be interested to know your pruning methods/techniques as my vines grow "vigorously" as they say and I am constantly pruning. I'd love to have vines that look as "neat" as yours. I'm planning on planting 4 Marquette vines next spring as I have heard that they are much more "tame" as they grow.
These are all on high wire. I cropped the Frontenac pretty heavily, about 60 clusters per vine. Lost some throughout the season from wind damage. But you can see some of these vines are pretty loaded. That takes away some vigor a little. I tried to keep all growth from the trunks and ground pruned off during the season. I did a pretty heavy pruning after veraison before putting the nets on. I gave all the long canes a haircut about 2-3 feet off the ground leaving at least 15-20 leaves per cane. I tried to do some leaf pulling on the top. I'll do more of that next year to get more sun.
Excellent Greg thanks! I'm always afraid that I'm pruning too much but your example is encouraging. I believe I will try training on higher wires. Mine are currently at about 5 feet. I pruned my cordons to about three feet early in the year (March) but I have shoots (and many of them) that continue coming out all over the place (all the way up through August and veraison). I also got new flower clusters around that time. I suspect that all of this activity may have been due to the vast amount of rain we got but I'm not sure. I'd be ecstatic if I could get 60 clusters per vine. This year I got probably 25 or so and they were not nearly as large as yours.
I am not sure what I think of my Frontenac Blanc vines. Lost last year's crop for the same reason you did this year. This year, I pulled leaves and netted in an effort to get it ripe and off the vine with minimal pest damage. Keeping the birds off it also kept the bees and wasps away, so that part was a success. Unfortunately, I must have pulled too many leaves. I ended up with sun burn that in turn lead to some rot on the most exposed berries. Very frustrating because the shaded berries tend to still be green and under ripe.
My berry sample at harvest was 24.6 brix, 3.12 pH and a TA around 15. A sample of pressed juice came in at 25 brix and a pH around 2.92. This variety is advertised as a La Crescent replacement for people that have problems with La Crescent in the vineyard. In two fruiting seasons, my La Crescent has given me way fewer problems. We will see how the wine turns out.