Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cold Winter on Chicken Dinner Road

Brrrrrrr, it is cold on Chicken Dinner Road!

Been asked more than a few times in the last couple of days......how are the grapes doing with all this cold weather and will those great Snake River Valley grapes be ready to make their way into Huston Vineyards wines in 2013?

The question is real.....hovering in the low teens during the day,dipping close to 0 degrees in the early mornings, one starts to wonder how do plants, especially Mediterranean grape plants, continue to do their “thing" in these miserably cold days.

It is surprising how resilient these little producers of fruit can be  in what one would consider to be harsh conditions. If there was any real bright spot in these current harsh conditions it would be the timing of when the real cold commenced.

The little grape plant has had a relatively long period of time to shutdown since last harvest....Oct 13th… and has continued to acclimate to the cold, developing what we call ...cold hardiness. The varietals we have planted in our vineyards have relatively high cold hardiness at this time of year especially for the primary buds.....which is next year’s fruit.

Cabernet Sauvignon can incur some really cold temperatures to -8 degrees below 0 before seeing a nominal amount of bud damage of 10% or less. Merlot is -9.5 degrees and Syrah is -7. Cane damage can occur around 0 degrees and usually the bulk of small cane is pruned off in February and March. Trunk and bark damage occurs at much colder temperatures usually -10 or below. For those techie readers you can find detailed info @ the following link http://wine.wsu.edu/research-extension/weather/cold-hardiness/

The net...net….. looks like we say our prayers and ask for a plentiful harvest in 2013. One never really knows in the farming world......but it looks like it may be okay. Sure excited to hear the  weather forecast this evening....a storm blowing in…just might rid the valley of this COLD inversion, warming the temperatures to 40 degrees.

Check back for more developing details.

Until then....don’t forget to hold your glass high and toast…..Here is to Great Wine! Great Food! Great Friends! and ultimately Great Times!



  1. looking forward to some new Huston wines and love the blog.

    1. The Chicken Dinner White 2012 gets released next weekend......yea we finally have some wine! Hope to see you then.


  2. Hi Gregg - Oregon State (but from Boise, Bill Fraser's granddaughter) viticulture student here. How do you check on your grapes? I've heard of taking cane samples, and opening up the dormant buds to see if there's green tissue, or dead tissue. Is this the system that you would use? Thanks! Sierra

    1. Hello Sierra,

      Hope all is well at OSU....yes that is one of the tests in evaluating bud damage. If you follow the enclosed link WSU provides some great pieces on cane and trunk evaluations. Good luck and stop in when you are back in Idaho. Cheers!


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