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Presspad Podcast #11: Winter Injury

021914_20 Cab Franc in WinterBud Cutting Pictures 1_11

(Photos courtesy of James Monahan, Finger Lakes Grape Program)

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That’s right- the Presspad goes to 11.  I bet you didn’t think we could do it.  We didn’t necessarily think we could, either, but here we are for a new season.  And what seasons we’ve had lately.  It is snowing as I write this in mid-April, and I think I speak for everyone in this part of the world when I say: well, nothing.  A few tears of desperation roll down my cheek.  Winter, you have made your point.

One of the more emphatic and destructive ways in which winter made its point was by injuring grapevines.  What is winter injury, exactly?  What do we mean when we say 50% bud-kill?  Why is the damage worse in some places and varieties than in others?  And what does all of this mean for the coming growing season?  We asked Jason Londo, Research Geneticist with the USDA-ARS Grape Genetics Unit, all of these questions and more.  Below are some links about cold injury and winter hardiness data:

Grapevine Cold Hardiness Monitoring Project at Cornell University

The Anatomy of Winter Injury and Recovery–  Dr. Martin Goffinet (Cornell University)

How Grapevine Buds Gain and Lose Cold-Hardiness – Dr. Tim Martinson

Estimate of Crop and Wine Losses Due to Winter Injury in the Finger Lakes – Dr. Tim Martinson and Dr. Gerald White
An estimation of the economic impact of the previous major winter injury episode in the Finger Lakes back in 2004.

Youtube videos:

Part 1: Collecting samples

Part 2: Checking buds for injury



Presspad Podcast #10: New Varieties

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Cornell has released two new grape varieties- Aromella and Arandell.  In this episode of the Presspad we talk with grape breeder Bruce Reisch and enologist Anna Katharine Mansfield about how the grapes came to be released and named, and some of the wine choices producers might wish to make with them.


About the Aromella and Arandell release:

The Cornell grape breeding program:

The Cornell Extension Enology Lab:

Presspad Podcast #9: Winery Sanitation

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Want to know a dirty secret about the wine business?  It’s mostly about keeping things clean.  Sorry about that.  Anyway, if the three most important words in real estate are “location, location, location,” then the three most important words in winemaking are probably “sanitation, sanitation, sanitation.”  This not-so-glamorous but oh-so-necessary side of the business is often overlooked by the outside world, who may prefer to think of wine as an escape from daily drudgery as opposed to a cause of it.  This episode is dedicated to helping wineries improve their sanitation regime, from finding trouble spots to better ways of testing the efficacy of current practices.  Dr. Randy Worobo, food microbiologist and sanitation expert at Cornell University, joins us for this discussion.

Presspad #8: Frost Damage

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It was a strange spring in the East: March was unseasonably warm, and then April was all-too-seasonably cold.  The result of these temperature ups and downs was frost damage to many fruit crops.  What is frost damage?  Is it permanent?  Is it fatal?  How did the grapes fare?  Why are temperatures that are harmless in February so dangerous in April?  What do we mean when we say that a vineyard has “50% damage?”  And, most importantly (for some of us, at least) what does this mean come harvest?

Presspad #7: eXtension, eViticulture, National Grape Community of Practice

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By finding this post, you are confirming our suspicion that everybody does everything electronically these days.  With the online universe being the go-to place for finding information, we in the business of providing information are trying to come up with good ways to do so.  This episode of the Presspad is a conversation with some of the point people on national projects to organize, curate and centralize research-based viticulture resources on the web.

Eric Stafne, Mississippi State:

Ed Hellman, Texas AgriLife Extension Service:

e Viticulture:

eXtension and the Grape Community of Practice:


Presspad #6: Ice Wine

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As I type this, I am looking at green grass and bright sunshine out my window in Mid-March.  We did have winter in the northeast, however, and we even had a few days where it was cold enough to make one of the most exotic and challenging delicacies ever put under cork: ice wine.  In this edition of the PressPad, we talk with Dr. Debbie Inglis, director of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) at Brock University.  Debbie studies ice wine in the laboratory and also produces it in the vineyard, making her one of the most knowledgeable people around when it comes to frozen grapes.  The website for the Inglis lab at CCOVI is:

Presspad #5: 2011 on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley

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In this episode we are joined by Alice Wise of the Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center and Steve Hoying from the Hudson Valley Laboratory to talk about the 2011 harvest from their perspective.

Presspad Podcast #4

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From the Outside Looking In…

Winemakers are constantly on guard against “cellar palate,” a condition contracted from tasting your wines and your wines only.   At a certain point you can no longer recognize strengths and weaknesses that would be immediately obvious to someone tasting the wine for the first time.  The cure for cellar palate is to taste lots of wines from lots of places.  In this episode we try to hold off extension cellar palate by talking with Michael Jones, a far-traveling fermentation guru from Scott Labs.

Presspad Podcast #3

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It was a very good year…or was it?

In this edition of the Presspad pocast, we talk about the 2011 from a growing and winemaking perspective- the good, the not so good, and the weird.  Of course, now that I’ve used the word “good” three times in the title and the first sentence, I need to back up: what do we mean by “good?”  What is a “good” year?  What is a “bad” year?  We get into some of the weather features of 2011, how they had an impact on the grapes and wine, and how all of this could be good or bad at the same time.

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