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Testing a Promising New Canopy Management Technique to Reduce Management Costs in Vineyards

Grant Program: OAR
Agricultural Sector: Fruit
Region: Statewide
Project Duration: 5/1/2015 - 4/30/2017
Amount Awarded: $112,547.00
Lead Organization: Cornell University
Other Organizations: CCE Suffolk County, CCE Yates County
Project Leader: Justine Vanden Heuvel
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Proposal Abstract

Economic analyses suggest that growers of vinifera grapes in the Finger Lakes are losing $638-1,390/acre/year.  Current canopy management techniques to manage vegetative growth in winegrapes include hedging and leaf removal, which are costly practices.  A new canopy management technique called pallisage shows promise to eliminate the need for hedging, and to reduce or eliminate the need for leaf removal. Additional benefits include the potential for reduced vine size in future years, further reducing the need for costly canopy management practices. This technique holds great promise to enable growers to reduce costs, but it has never been tested to determine impact on wine quality and costs of production.  We estimate the cost of pallisage to be $75-125 per acre, but savings from the elimination of hedging and the reduction/elimination of leaf removal to be $250-500 per acre. Working with industry partners in the Finger Lakes and Long Island regions, this project aims to determine the impact of pallisage on vine size, fruit composition, wine quality, and the associated production costs. Results and recommendations from the study will be disseminated to growers through site tours, presentations at industry meetings, and online resources. We aim for 120 NYS winegrape growers to complete our Pallisage Potential Worksheet to evaluate our project and determine if pallisage could be a useful tool to improve the economic sustainability of their vineyard. 

Final Report Summary Statement

This project focused on introducing a new canopy management practice called "palissage" to New York winegrape growers.  Two years of research data were collected on each of Riesling and Cabernet Franc, indicating that palissage reduced lateral emergence and length in the fruit zone and sometimes reduced cluster compaction by elongating the cluster rachis.  Forty three producers were introduced to palissage through field meetings in the Finger Lakes and Long Island.  Approximately 200 producers learned more about the practice at the 2016 and 2017 BEV meetings. Due to the significant lack of laborers available in NY vineyards during the last two seasons, growers have been very hesitant to trial/adopt the practice despite the positive results of the trial.   

Project Impact Data

Producers Participating: 200

Producers Advising: 4

Articles/Publications: 3

Presentations: 4

Total Producers Engaged: 200

Leveraged Funds: $15,000.00

Matching Funds: $90,000.00

Documents and Photos

Photo of palissage method.jpg
Palissage (right) compared to hedged vines (left) at Bedell Cellars
 Palissage instructions and observation sheet.pdf
File of instructions and observation sheet that we have shared with growers who are trialing the palissage method.
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