Viticulture topics featured at Northwest Michigan Orchard and Vineyard Show

Grope growers from the Grand Traverse, Mich., area turned out for educational session at the 2013 Northwest Michigan Orchard and Vineyard Show.

Over 60 people attended the grape and wine session at the 2013 Northwest Michigan Orchard and Vineyard Show held Jan. 21 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, Mich. Morning highlights included a report on the USDA 2012 Grape Acreage & Production Survey by Jay Johnson of the Michigan field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service; information on the performance of new wine grape cultivars by Paolo Sabbatini from the Michigan State University Department of Horticulture; a report on bird damage studies from Catherine Lindell of the MSU Zoology Department; and a discussion on bird and deer management tactics led by two northwest Michigan viticultural consultants, Craig Cunningham and Jerry Stanek.

The afternoon program opened with the annual membership meeting of Parallel 45 Vines and Wines, Inc., an organization that supports the northwest Michigan viticulture and winemaking industry. Opportunities for the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) to assist vineyard operations were presented by MAEAP technicians Garrett Coggon and Jessica Rasch. Tom Zabadal from the Michigan State University Extension Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center discussed methods and equipment for handling pruning brush and presented information from ongoing studies for controlling grape cluster compactness. Steve Van Timmeren from the MSU Department of Entomology closed the session with a report on spotted wing Drosophila and other new insect threats.

A number of the participants also attended the fruit industry luncheon where they had the opportunity to hear a keynote address from Fred Poston, the recently appointed Dean of the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The Northwest Michigan Orchard and Vineyard Show is an annual event sponsored by the Grand Traverse Fruit Growers’ Council, Parallel 45 Vines and Wines Inc., Cherry Marketing Institute, Michigan State Horticultural Society and numerous industry suppliers. The program is planned and facilitated by Nikki Rothwell, Director of the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center and Duke Elsner, small fruit Extension educator.

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