Talk:Viticulture

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Discussion header[edit]

I hate the way that people can just delete what you worked so hard on and they dont even put a comment in the discussion. My external links are now gone, and I am sad. :(

--Msfwebdude 19:30, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Have no fear, Msfwebdude, nothing is ever lost in the Wikipedia (trust me, I have tried :) Your links are back, through the magic of the "history" tab at the top of each article. Thank you for your contributions. Wnissen 15:05, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Suggestions and structure[edit]

What a great subject. I think it needs fleshing out a little though. Varieties of grapes and types of viticulture may be a good way to go. Also I heard that there are various practices. For example the French are not allowed to irrigate grapes whereas the Australians do, and this makes a difference in production. But I'd need to get some more info on that though. Harristweed 04:26, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Thinking ahead, this article will need a better structure in future. I suggest: Viticulture overview, General practices, Viticulture concepts, Varieties of viticulture, the future of viticulture Harristweed 04:31, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Field blend merger[edit]

Support[edit]

There's been some discussion over on Talk:Winemaking about merging in Field blend there. The result was support from FlagSteward, AgneCheese/Wine, ---The Bethling(Talk) and mikaultalk for a merger to Viticulture instead. FlagSteward 22:00, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Oppose[edit]

Siobhan Hansa opposed a merge with Viticulture :

"The viticulture article is basically about farming. But field blends are about the make up and balance of the wine. As the articles sit now, field blends fits more into winmakign than into viticulture. "

To which I would say that most field blends are accidents of history - there were a lot in Europe before phylloxera, but when replanting they realised that they got a lot more control over winemaking by picking and vinifying different varieties at different times, and then blending the wine. I understand something similar happened in California. So it's very much a vine growing thing and not a winemaking thing, just like the decision of when to harvest, the training system used, amount of irrigation etc are vine growing decisions that affect the final "make up and balance of the wine". FlagSteward 22:00, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Dilemma[edit]

I can see both points of view here! On the one hand, it could be considered as part of the winemaking process in that the different varieties are chosen and planted previously and are then harvested/processed/fermented to make a field blend wine, as opposed to harvesting/processing/fermenting separate varieties and then blending in the winery. The blending is done previously and is permanent and inflexible. On the other hand, it could also be considered as part of viticulture in that it's inherently agricultural. I think the main question here is: "Is (or was) field blending an active viticultural decision taken by winegrowers?" or was it just an accident of history, as FlagSteward says above.

  • If it was an accident of history, then no real viticulture decisions were taken, and so it shouldn't form part of the Viticulture article. (Neither should it form part of the Winemaking article in this case.) It could form part of an article on Mediaeval Vineyards or such, for example.
  • If mixed varietal vineyards were planted on purpose, then it was a winemaking decision, and so 'Field blend' should go into the winemaking article.

(I confess that I'd never heard of 'field blend' before reading the article. so I would tend to think that such vineyards were accidents of history and not planted on purpose. I've never heard of or seen a modern mixed variety vineyard.) --BodegasAmbite 11:59, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

In Sauternes, it was actually a long standing tradition to intermix Semillion and Sauvignon blanc vines in the field that they have only recently gone away from. In places like Chile with Carmenere and Merlot, some winemakers have consciously made the decision to leave their vineyards intermixed because prefer the field blended wine to have each separated. AgneCheese/Wine 19:43, 29 May 2007 (UTC)


Do not know how this works exactly but I will throw in my two cents. If one talks with Paul Draper from Ridge, Will Bucklin from Old Hill, or Joel Peterson from Ravenswood, all experts on California field blends I believe they would actively refute any notion that the "field blend was an accident of history. Zinfandel, which is typically the dominant grape in these blends lends itself to excessive yields, high alcohol, and little color when young-- particularly when cultivated as many of the old vineyards were when they were first put in. To counterract this tendency and make a more balanced wine, these vineyards were interplanted with grapes such as Petite Sirah (Durif) and Syrah which add tannin and color, teinturier varietals such as Alicante Bouschet and Grand Noir, and more savory varietals such as Carignane, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Touriga, Mondeuse, and many others. Similar field blends can be found in the Pyrenees of Australia at Best's Great Western, and perhaps most famously in Chateauneuf-du-Pape where AOC stipulations allow for the interplanting of 13 other varetals besides the generally dominant Grenache.

A basic problem with this argument is that most of these vineyards were put in prior to the scientific classifications of viticulture and winemaking were really separate entities. Most people planting the grapes were also making them. Though modern winemaking tends to control more for varietal, i.e. harvest scions seperately, vinify, and then blend according to year and sought after wine-style, there is also a movement towards going back to field blends. At Ravenswood, Old Hill, and at Ridge's Lytton Springs, varietals are being interplanted again. The thought being that what worked before might work again. As a result field blend may fit under both viticulture or winemaking, but in reality it is a interesting entity unto itself, probably not worth subsuming under a broader categorization.

Attribution note[edit]

Some content in the Green Harvest is from merged content form the stub Green Harvest. Some content in the Field blend section is from merged content from the stub Gemischter Satz. AgneCheese/Wine 05:45, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject Food and drink Tagging[edit]

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Viticulture vs. Enology[edit]

In the second paragraph this article discusses the native territory of Vitis Vinifera. Why? Wikipedia policies and guidelines emphasize the need for a world view, not a European view. Vitis Vinifera is just one of many cultivated spieces of grapes. In North America we cultivate Vitis Labrusca, Vitis Aestivalis, and others for multiple uses.

Further, all English dictionaries define Viticulture as the science, cultivation and study of grape growing. Viticulture and wine making are two entirely different things. This article should not be limited to Vitis Vinifera, and it shouldn't go into field blends or green harvests.

Anyone care to disagree? gregmg

  • Well as an American, I don't think this article is unfairly Euro-centric but I would agree that it is "wine-centric". I would whole heartedly support the addition of material on viticulture of table grapes and other non-Vinifera grapes. However, I wouldn't want to see the winemaking aspect removed. Items like field blends and green harvest were actually merged into this article (rather haphazardly, I admit) because the content doesn't really merit their own articles apart from the context of Viticulture. I don't think subtraction is the way to go here. I would suggest working to improve this article with the content that is missing and then evaluating it from there. If the article becomes too largely and unwieldy then we may need to split out the winemaking related content into a new Viticulture (wine) article. But until this article is built up, I don't see the prudence in grabbing the pruning shears right now. AgneCheese/Wine 07:50, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Field Blends and other wine making topics are part of Enology, not Viticulture. They should be moved over to that article... actually, enology should probably be redirected to wine making with the relevant content from this article integrated into that article instead. gregmg
Hmm, not quite. In fact my Viticulture text book actually has more details about field blends, pruning and green harvest than any of my enology text books. I would also disagree with the redirect since the science of winemaking is different than the actual act of winemaking. Its kinda like Metallurgy versus Metalworking. While our Enology article certainly needs vast improvement, it is too important of a topic in its own right. AgneCheese/Wine 00:00, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Essay[edit]

I'm moving this here because it simply doesn't belong in the article in its current form. There is some nuggets of useful information and, provided the source can be verified, some parts should be rewritten for inclusion in a non-essay, NPOV fashion. AgneCheese/Wine 04:04, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Site Preparation for Vineyards[edit]

As the wine and grape industry continue to grow in the United States, it is becoming increasingly important for growers to invest the time and money to properly prepare their vineyard site. There are several major factors an individual should take into account when preparing a successful vineyard site. These factors include, but are not limited to nutrient levels and physical composition of the soil, water drainage capability, perennial weed control and erosion control.

Nutrient Content of the Soil[edit]

The main objective in vineyard nutrition should be to increase and provide the proper nutrient levels to the vine. Chemical properties needing to be controlled in a vineyard are soil pH, organic matter content, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc and boron levels. To check these levels, soil samples should be taken at two different depths (at 8 and at 16 inches) in an x-shaped pattern across the vineyard. Samples at the same levels should be mixed together, but the different depths should be tested separately. These samples should be taken one year prior to planting (Kurtural et al., 2007). Once the soil requirements have been determined and the grape varieties have been chosen for the site, additions of limestone or sulfur along with fertilizer should be added and deeply plowed or disked into the soil in order to incorporate the additives. Cultivating the soil will also speed up the process of mineralization of the existing organic material (Conradie et al., 1996).

Physical Composition of the Soil[edit]

There are several essential physical properties that need to be identified and controlled on any vineyard site. Sites should have proper drainage, deep soil with no impervious barriers, proper texture, and should be well-aggregated. These factors can be controlled by sub-soiling every two feet along rows and across rows to a depth of 36 inches. Soil compaction is a major limitation to root exploration and can negatively affect yield and plant health. (Hamdeh, 2003) Sub-soiling will systematically break up any barriers present in the soil which will allow for better root penetration and improved water drainage. Drainage tile installation may be necessary in severe instances of poor drainage (Zabadal et al., 1999).

Perennial Weed Control[edit]

A very important factor in vineyard preparation and management is perennial weed control. Herbicides should be applied during site preparation to control the effects of perennial weed species. Examples of these include Johnson grass, thistle, and woody species such as brambles. These weeds can live as budding root stocks and tap roots, along with stolons and as seed. The effects of perennial weed species can create competition between the vine and the weed for vital soil nutrients and water. Herbicides are available for control but must be used with caution so that grapevines are not negatively affected. (Dami et al., 2005) It is important to note that perennial weed control is not a step that occurs only at the onset of site development, but rather is an ongoing process that must be addressed as a normal part of successful vineyard management. Controlling the vineyard floor by limiting the growth of weed species will increase the amount of nutrients available for vine uptake which has been shown to improve berry weight, and vine capacity. (Tesic et al., 2007).

Erosion Control[edit]

In the season before planting, a temporary cover crop should be established. It should be planted in the early spring of the year before and plowed under the soil in late August in order to control erosion and help add organic matter to the soil (Kurtural, 2007). For example, Sudan grass is an excellent choice that offers good weed control and decomposes slowly for improved soil structure. (Schonbeck, 1998) Other cover crop options can be found here.

Usually in the fall, the temporary cover crop is plowed under in preparation for a permanent cover crop. A permanent cover crop is a cover crop that will be maintained in between vine rows and around the vineyard site. This crop will help control soil erosion and help to lessen the compaction that equipment like tractors, harvesters and mowers tend to have on the soil in between the rows allowing for better root exploration. Examples of good permanent cover crop for the eastern United States are perennial rye.

Other forms of erosion control are diversion ditches and standpipes. Diversion ditches lead surface water out of the vineyard from uphill areas. Standpipes are used to drain depression areas. Correcting soil erosion in existing vineyards is usually less effective, more expensive and more difficult than if appropriate measures had been taken in the pre-plant phase of vineyard development (Zabadal, 1999).

Creating a Weed-Free Zone[edit]

The last step in site preparation occurs two weeks before planting when a weed-free zone is created. This involves plowing under strips of the permanent cover crop to allow for the plants to be set. A weed-free area is important because it provides a place for the plants to be located without having to be in immediate competition with weeds.

Conclusion[edit]

Grapevines can be grown in a variety of soil types. In each soil type certain characteristics must be met in order to establish a successful vineyard site. Growers need to properly evaluate and prepare their site well in advance of planting. There are several major factors that a grower should take into consideration when selecting, preparing and maintaining a vineyard site. Some of the most important factors to be taken into account are the nutrient levels and physical composition of the soil, water drainage capability, perennial weed control, erosion control and the creation of a weed free zone.