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baron4406

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I've been thinking of doing this for a few years, mainly because its really hard to get good grapes/juice to make wine with. I own a small piece of property and it looks like I will have a smaller 25 foot by 80 foot plot for one location and another that is around 120 foot by 80 foot. I can clear out some brush too. Soil is very rocky and well drained. I really like heavy bodied syrah/cabernet style wines. A local winery owner wants to help me-but he's thinking big and wants me to clear out an acre of woods....lol. What's confused me is trying to find varietals to plant, when you go on a site like Double A vineyards they recommend hybrids that are good to like 30 below- around here it rarely gets into the single digits-never below single digits. Are hybrids like Marquette or Petite Pearl better for a small time grower than the traditional wine styles? I'd actually like 4 or 5 varieties but will start with like 20 vines to get my feet wet. As far as pests deer are bad around here, plus we are starting to get slammed by the lantern flies. Any other Pa growers like to chime in?
 

Ajmassa

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Good luck. As a local wine ‘purchaser’ I can say that I always reach for the standard varietals. Cab, Syrah etc. doesn’t bother me that these varietal grapes were outsourced from Cali. But I imagine there’s a damn good reason they outsource those varietals.
Most wine drinkers are casual drinkers and will reach for familiar varietals I think. I mean Yellowtail is the most popular selling wine after all right?
 

jgmillr1

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Most wine drinkers are casual drinkers and will reach for familiar varietals I think. I mean Yellowtail is the most popular selling wine after all right?
It is popular because it is inexpensive, lightly sweet, fruity, and textured with sweet vanilla oak flavor. I doubt the casual Yellowtail buyer really cares (or can tell the difference) if the wine is Cab, Merlot or Pinot. I would bet if they made the wine the same with using hybrid grapes rather than vinifera and put a picture off a cat on it, it would sell just as well.

... Double A vineyards they recommend hybrids that are good to like 30 below- around here it rarely gets into the single digits-never below single digits. Are hybrids like Marquette or Petite Pearl better for a small time grower than the traditional wine styles?
If it rarely gets into the single digits, you may be able to grow vinifera. Virginia grows loads of great quality vinfera. Cab Franc and Pinot Noir may be worth considering since they are fairly cold tolerant and at least Pinot has shorter growing season needs. Check your cold hardiness zone for guidance.

That being said, there are some good hybrids out there too that deserve respect. It sounds like you enjoy dry reds, so some suggestions are Norton (aka Cynthiana), Chambourcin, and Marquette. I haven't had Petite Pearl, so can't comment there. The hybrids tend to offer less tannin and more fruit aromas than vinifera. However, they can certainly survive in your region so it would be worth growing some hybrids in your mix as an insurance policy that you will still get grapes even if the winter is harsh.
 

baron4406

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Thanks for responding. there are several wineries here and they grow Cab, Pinot, Merlot plus some Pa stalwarts like Chamboricin. I'm just wondering guys who have grown vinfera vs hybrids in this area. BTW I'm in zone 6a but all Double A recommends for that is -30 hybrids...strange.
I'm pretty sold on Marquette. I'm just nervous about trying Pinot I heard some horror stories from one vineyard around here.
 

baron4406

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Thanks for responding. there are several wineries here and they grow Cab, Pinot, Merlot plus some Pa stalwarts like Chamboricin. I'm just wondering guys who have grown vinfera vs hybrids in this area. BTW I'm in zone 6a but all Double A recommends for that is -30 hybrids...strange.
I'm pretty sold on Marquette. I'm just nervous about trying Pinot I heard some horror stories from one vineyard around here.
 

Masbustelo

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In ten year cycles, what are your maximum recorded low temperatures? You probably want to avoid a scenario where things go well for 4-5 years and then a cold winter kills your vines.
 

baron4406

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I've lived in this area for 20+ years and really don't ever remember it getting colder than single digits. it certainly never gets -15 to -20 degrees
 

JimInNJ

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How about Cabernet Franc? "A component of many Bordeaux blends, Cabernet Franc matures earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon and is more suitable for cooler climates. One of the more winter hardy vinifera varieties, it is becoming more popular in eastern North America where it is used to produce full-bodied red wines, and is also used to produce a dry, fruity rose." Zone 6. https://doubleavineyards.com

Syrah is zone 7. Saperavi has a somewhat similar character but is much more hardy. "Native variety of Georgia (eastern Europe). This cold hardy red vinifera. Can produce deep red wines with aging potential. High yields and sugar production." http://www.graftedgrapevines.com

Dornfelder is zone 6 and ripens early (like a month before my Cabernet Franc).

Blaufränkisch / Lemberger might be another option.

https://doubleavineyards.com/news/app/uploads/sites/2/2017/07/Grapevine-Characteristics-Chart.pdf
 

bkisel

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Where abouts in PA? This past winter up here in north central PA, just below the NY border, we got a number of negative single digit mornings.
 

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balatonwine

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A vine being able to survive a winter is only part of the equation. The most basic limit. But probably, beyond that, the least important. There is more to making a wine than just the vine surviving. The vines types chosen should "fit" the local area. Yes, that means dealing with that term Terroir (a far, far over used term in silly marketing campaigns, but still accurate in wine grape growing).

Terrior will matter. It includes many factors. Degree days. Day of last frost. Latitude. Slope. Aspect. Soils. Winds. Sun days. Etc. Etc. Etc. The difference is between planting grapes that may create a great, okay, or "meh" wine. So, yes, it matters.

For example, I actually live in a zone 6/7 area (depends on who you ask which is correct). It never goes below 0°F here. Has both volcanic and calcareous soils. At first glance, great for many different red wines. But it is still a white wine region. Why? Because of the combination of degree days and latitude. Yes, some red wine is grown here. But the best reds, especially the Cab Franc, are grown more to the south. And that area is actually zone 6/7 also. But overall has a longer growing period (more degree days and last frost is sooner).

So one should not just "plunk" down a vine variety simply because it can "overwinter". It is far, far, far, more complicated than that.

Side note 1: I grow Pinot noir. But it will never go beyond a Rosé. This is simply the wrong Terrior for a red Pinot noir.

Side note 2: There are hundreds of vinifera types. Don't limit yourself to the "commercial" varieties. Other varieties are better adapted to cooler climates and may end up making a better wine. Do your research. For example, the most grown "red wine" where I am is Blaufränkisch (often known as Limberger in the USA).
 
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wxtrendsguy

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What Balatonwine said times 2...

It sounds like you are an extreme novice at growing grapes, so better to start with a couple rows of hybrids to get your feet wet. You need to regularly spray fungicides, prune, shoot thin, tuck canes, leaf pull, drop fruit, spray for Japanese Beetles, and now spotted lantern fly. Sure you can skip this and go straight to vinifera but you will be replacing plants and it will take you about 5 years to figure it out.

Moving straight to vinifera before knowing what you are doing will only lead to dead vines...

Cab Franc clone 12, 14 and 623 on 101-14 rootstock is the way to go here in PA, If you do not have a southward facing exposure I'd probably not even try to grow vinifera reds from the Lehigh Valley northward. Pinot Noir will also do well here but you have to be extremely diligent with your viticulture methods and even then be prepared to loose a crop every 5 years due to a hurricane. Pinot crop around here was lost in 2011, 2015 and most of it in 2017 so you get the idea...Cabernet Sauvignon clone 412 on 101-14 will do well here too. Merlot is touch and go and Syrah is really living on the edge. For whites Chardonnay is by far the best to go with Clone 76, 95/96 and 29 all do well again all on 101-14 rootstock. Sauvignon Blanc does well too but don't try and do a New Zealand style it won't work. Some Riesling will do ok but its just too humid here and too slow to ripen so you are always fighting disease and you can buy it cheaper from NY and western PA than you can grow it...good luck you are always welcome to stop by my vineyard if the snow ever melts...
 

baron4406

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My best 120 foot by 100 foot area is north south facing on a gradual slope. the soil is rocky and well drained.

BTW I'm just down the street from you at Weathered vinyards!! In fact I did a carboy swap with one of your employees here. I'll probably start out with 20 or so hybrids to get my feet wet. I'm not much a fan on white wines, i more like big, bold reds
 

baron4406

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Talked with another winery owner here yesterday, very good conversation. I finally asked him if you had one Vine to plant what would it be? Without hesitation he said "Cab Franc" on a 101-14 root stock. However Double A is out of that combo this year so I'll probably just throw in some Marquette and Petite Pearl. He also said don't be afraid to try Pinot Noir.
 
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