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Want To Grow A Vineyard In The Puget Sound? WSU Offers Viticulture 101

Posted: August 28, 2010

EVERETT, Wash. — The Puget Sound region was first recognized as a unique American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1995. Applying the Puget Sound AVA to a bottle of wine means at least 85 percent of the grapes used were grown in the Puget Sound region between Olympia and the Canadian border.

With the increasing number of vintners looking for quality wine grapes and consumers looking for foods grown and produced close to home, the opportunities are expanding for those looking to establish vineyards.

Washington State University Snohomish County Extension is presenting a workshop for those considering establishing new vineyards in the Puget Sound region. Local Vines for Local Wines: Viticulture 101 for Western Washington will be held on Saturday, Sept. 11, from 10 am to 2 pm at The Vineyard at Lee Farms in Silvana, Wash.

The workshop is an opportunity to learn what’s involved in developing a new vineyard. It will cover the practical aspects of vineyard development as well as an overview of grapevine growth and annual practices. Topics will include grape variety and rootstock selection, types of planting stock, soil testing, canopy management, trellis and irrigation decisions, growing and harvest information, and an informal look at the production steps from just-picked-fruit to finished bottle.

Instructor Gary Moulton started with the Small Fruit Horticulture Department at the WSU Research Station in Mount Vernon in 1980. In 1991, he took over management of the program. He currently is a consultant for the Western Washington fruit industry.

As one of only 11 Washington AVAs (California has over 100), wines grown and bottled in the Puget Sound AVA have been winning national and regional awards for a number of years. According to the Puget Sound Wine Growers Association, “The cool, maritime influence of Puget Sound with the long sunlight hours of its northerly location are ideal for growing delicate and aromatic Vinifera grape varieties.”

Established in 2004, the Vineyard at Lee Farms has carefully tended plantings of Siegerrebe, Pinot 777, Pinot Precoce, Ortega, and Agria grape varieties. The vineyard’s small size provides complete control over every aspect of winemaking from soil to bottle, allowing the Lee family to create small batches of handcrafted wines with minimal infrastructure.

Cost for the workshop is $65 per person and includes a catered box lunch. Online registration is available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/125279.

You can also download the form at www.snohomish.wsu.edu/ag/workshops/Viticulture2010.pdf and mail it with your check. For registration information, contact Karie Christensen at 425-357-6039, e-mail klchristen@cahnrs.wsu.edu. Directions to the vineyard will be provided with paid registration.

For more information on the workshop, contact Andrew Corbin at corbina@wsu.edu or 425-357-6012.