Prepared by Dr. Jim Willwerth, Dr. Kevin Ker and Dr. Debbie Inglis
CCOVI, Brock University
This project was funded by Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc.
Growing grapes in cool climates is a challenging task. Vineyard health and productivity is a function of the local site and climatic conditions during the growing season AND the dormant period. Successful vineyards are those that are productive and sustainable over multiple years (where sustainable is defined as producing an annual crop at economically viable levels for the grape grower each year). The potential for vine injury due to low temperatures during the dormant period adds another level of vine management to be undertaken. Not only must a vineyard operator manage the vines to produce a high quality crop based upon the weather conditions of the current growing season, practices must be employed to ensure that vines achieve optimum health to withstand cold winter temperatures during the dormant period.
This best management practices manual for reducing winter injury in grapevines has been developed as a result of 5 years of research and practices in commercial vineyards across Ontario. The information is for existing vineyards and will provide guidance for preventing winter injury and suggested practices for responding to winter injury. The manual does not provide guidelines for assessing new vineyard locations.