Grow Grape Crop Expectations With a Good Vine Health Program

Grape trial using Ferticell

Mid-season vine sampling and growth indicators should be approached enthusiastically, according to Ferticell’s Ryan McCoon.
Photo courtesy of Ferticell

In response to industry regulations that are increasingly restricting comprehensive treatment programs, Ryan McCoon says the best way to cut disease risk in grapes is to ensure vine health.

“Sound IPM practices and attention to detail can help mitigate or remedy these problems before they impact production,” McCoon, Ferticell’s Northern California Sales Representative, says.


Unfortunately, in-season plant nutritional needs are often overlooked, he says. The topic is challenging to address, he adds, because producers are very good at knowing the nutritional needs of their vineyards. Yet in many cases, after fertility is budgeted for the year, it is easy for growers to “set it and forget it” in lieu of something deemed to be more pressing, such as pest control, he says.

“As the end of the season approaches, growers monitor Brix prior to harvest, without hesitation,” McCoon says. “Approaching mid-season sampling and growth indicators the same way can be the make or break in fertility, which is not as frequently practiced.”

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Richard Jones, Kemin’s California Sales Representative, says adequate levels of nutrients are needed to minimize imbalances and maximize yield or quality issues, although yield and quality are not necessarily the goals of wine grape growers.

Richard Jones of Kemin Crop Technologies

Richard Jones

“That’s a distinction that needs to be identified and varies per winery and contract,” he says. “The winemakers ultimately take the initiative in deciding how it should be done. Grape growers may overlook maximum residue level issues on some crop protection materials, and that can cause significant problems if their products are flagged in the EU.”

Mark Allen II, California Account Manager with Verdesian Life Sciences, says growers should rely on proactive budgeting for success rather than reacting out of fear. “Utilizing more effective fertility materials and timings adds greater value per dollar,” he says.

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Ferticell: The company’s products include Pro K 0-0-20, Pro Phos 0-20-0, and Universal, its freshwater algae, which remains one of Ferticell’s oldest and most trusted products, McCoon says. Growers also turn to Calcium 880Plus, Nutri-Plus amino acid package, and Explorer soy nitrogen in dry and liquid packaging.

Verdesian: PolyAmine Organic micronutrients are designed to prevent or correct trace element deficiencies. Insufficient micronutrients, especially during bloom, can affect vine fruit quality all season. PolyAmine micronutrients are uniquely complexed with 18 plant-based amino acids for improved plant absorption. Additionally, grape growers who use Calci-Phite 0-19-9 have a neutral calcium phosphite tool with plus-9% calcium. New in the grape market is ReKovery 2-0-21, a neutral pH potassium acetate with amino acid to provide crucial potassium to vineyards, compatible with many other products.