A personal perpsective of life in our Virginia vineyard... Christine Wells Vrooman



A Perfect Storm

Days and days of rain, the rains coming just as we entered the time in a vineyard known as "bloom". The rains continued as the caps fell off the miniscule fruit, leaving them exposed to the splashing spores at their most vulnerable time. Warm temperatures. Damp, humid nights. No chemicals. And a daughter's wedding in the midst of it all.
Black Rot. Will it be the demise of our dreams for an organic vineyard in the East, as it has for others who have shared the same dream? Or is now finally the time for the discovery of an organic treatment for this nemesis?

It was good that we were not raising a "crop" this year, for alas what little we had allowed to grow on the vines is now gone. Nearly 99% of the fruit had to be cut away. The dried up grapes looked like large peppercorns, each little grape covered with the spores of Black Rot, just waiting for the next rain so they can spread yet even further! They, along with the spotted and drying up leaves, were all removed from the vineyard. But the damage was done.

I have been in contact with major universities and with research scientists around the world. I have researched patents and contacted their owners. I have written to vineyards in the East who say they are organic. From those who have responded, no one has offered much hope. But one scientist has written to me and thinks he might be onto something. At least I have his interest.
We shall see. We are thankful and others impressed that we have managed to keep Powdery Mildew and Downy Mildew at bay in this very wet season. So we must be doing something right!

Back to the vineyard now. The fruit might be gone, but the skies, the clouds, the vines, the birds, the mountains, the wind, the dripping, sweet honey... all still here.

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