Wine Grape Workshop

Wine workshop at the Main Station Field Lab.

CABNR and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension have been partnering up to teach the community about growing grapes in Nevada through the "Grow Your Own, Nevada" workshop series.

"The workshops are intended to instruct Nevadans in the practices needed to produce grapes in our climate, as it is quite different from California," Dr. Grant Cramer, a professor in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, said. "The workshops are for people who are interested in growing in their backyard and some who have commercial interests."

The goal of the workshop is to give attendees an overview of the lifecycle of a typical winery and information on how to establish a vineyard. The workshops are led by Dr. Cramer and Heidi Kratsch, an urban horticulture and sustainable plant specialist in Cooperative Extension. They cover such topics as how to prepare the soil, physiology of vines, and disease, parasites and pathogens. Also included are what to expect in terms of yield, watering tips, weed control, pruning and when to harvest the grapes.

According to Kratsch, wine grapes are heavily influenced by the environment, and the climate is becoming more conducive in Nevada for growing grapes.
"On a global map, areas where grapes are currently grown will become too hot, over the next 30 to 50 years, to grow grapes and areas that use to be too cold to grow grapes are now becoming more suitable to growing," Kratsch said. "Our conditions are already pretty good. We are averaging above 50 degrees throughout the year. Dr. Cramer is experimenting with different varieties of grapes that will bud in the late spring to avoid the spring frost and produce fruit sooner to avoid the cold of the fall."

"In our initial workshops, 20 to 25 percent of the attendees were interested in commercial growing whereas in this most recent workshop, more of the attendees were interested in establishing a vineyard at their home," Kratsch said.

Mary Sauvola, a member of Nevada Vines & Wines, a non-profit organization that promotes viticulture and winemaking in northern Nevada, is planting a vineyard in her yard with her brother and said much of the information Dr. Cramer and Kratsch shared was very helpful.

"It was fabulous," Sauvola said. "I thought I would know a lot of the information that they were going to cover at the workshop, but I didn't. I was so thrilled that I attended."

These workshops will be held again next year in the spring of 2017. The "Growing Grapes in Nevada" workshop is part of Cooperative Extension's "Grow Your Own, Nevada!" spring series workshops. For more information about the “Growing Grapes in Nevada” and other programs offered to budding horticulturalist visit www.growyourownnevada.com