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A Year in the Vineyard - Dechaunac - Part I 
On these pages you will view images of 3 grape vines from before pruning to harvest.


DeChaunac Red
A Blue/Black Grape for Red or Rose Wine

Want to make DeChaunac Wine? Click here for the DeChaunac Grape Page....

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DeChaunac in row 53 before pruning
 
Same vine after pruning in late march 2002
 

 

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This dechaunac vine in row 53 is how I would like all of my vines to be. (2 trunks, a mature cordon on the top wire and spurs (I use 5 bud spurs) across the top cordon.) I use a system called "single wire cordon" pruning. There are many ways to prune and train vines but this is what works for me in a vineyard with over 20 different varieties of grapes.

I use many different things to tie the vines, twine works very good along with various plastice devices. In recent years I have used a lot of "Clip-It" ties. The top cordon has been "wraped" around the top wire (when it is still small). This keeps tying the vine to a minimun & it is sometimes called a "no tie" system (although there is still a lot of tieing involved).

 
 
 

These pictures were taken May 6, 2001. It shows DeChaunac buds in the "bud swell" stage. The bud on the left is normal and the right one has frost damage from last April.

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This is DeChaunac on May 31 after a bad freeze on May 19/21.
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This spring is very cold and late and even though the buds were delayed there was much damage. Most of the new shoots are supposed to be coming from the 5 bud spurs that we left on the vine. This year the majority of them are coming from the main trunk. Fortunately the DeChaunac variety is very fruitfull and I can already see small grape clusters on these vines.

 

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See the flower cluster. This will bloom and become a bunch of grapes

 

 

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DeChaunac vine in mid-June

 

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Same vine in late June
Vine is exploding in growth!

 

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The grapes are now in bloom. See the very tiny white petals.
Click here for a series of bloom pictures.

 

 

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In late July this DeChaunac vine and the berry clusters (above & right pictures) are almost full size. The berries are even starting to change color slightly. DeChaunac berries tend to do this earlier than other varieties.

 

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September 1, The DeChaunac clusters are ripening up.
These clusters will be ready to pick in mid September.
 

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Freezing temperatures hit the DeChaunac vine in mid October
& it quickly returns to just how it was before pruning.

 

 

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Cranking up bird netting after the harvest
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Installing Geneva Double Curtain cross arms late in the year.
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A hard frost in late fall has burned the leaves off of the vines and ended the season for this year. In a few days all the leaves will be gone.
 
 
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(View all the Talk Around the Winebarrel Comments here...)

 
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Vineyard FAQ'S

 
 

What do grape blossoms smell like?

Walking through the vineyard when it is in full bloom is a unique experience. The scent is slightly more subtle than other fruits. Each flower blossom will develop into a separate berry...
How do you propagate grape vines?

Grape vines are propagated by taking dormant shoots pruned off during the spring. These 3 to 4 bud long cuttings are planted in garden soil and grown one year. The next year they are ready to plant in your vineyard. They will be the same variety as the vine that they were taken from.

What time of the year should I prune my vines?

Grape vines may be pruned any time that the leaves are off and they are dormant. Many vineyards with huge acres of vines to prune may work all winter, but we prefer to prune in the spring. In the spring, any winter damage that has occurred will be visible and pruning adjustments will be made.

Do Michigan vines need to be grafted?

Most vinifera vines that are grown (such as Cabernet, Reisling, etc) need to be grafted on to a strong rootstock because they are not tolerant of the Phloxera louse, a pest that will kill the vines. Most all vines in California and any vinifera vine grown in Michigan are grafted for this reason.

Read more...

Do grapes need a frost to ripen?

Absolutely not. There are early and late season varieties, an early season grape left on the vine until frost will be mushy and overripe.
 
Once a frost hits the vine and all the leaves are burned off, any further photosynthesis or ripening will cease...

How is our vineyard different than others?

I do not know any other vineyard that has more than 20 varieties of grapes and sells 100% U-PICK!

Since we are not a winery we do not keep the premium grapes for ourselves and sell what is left to local customers.

YOU are our only customers!

What is your favorite grape?

We get this asked of us all the time. Which grape makes the best wine, best jelly, best juice, etc. This is very difficult to answer & also varies from season to season. Many of our customers have very different tastes than we do.
My personal favorites as of April, 2007:

Read more...

Do you recommend oak barrels for winemaking?
Oak barrels can be very useful in winemaking, but they can be problematic and I prefer glass carboys.

Oak barrels are excellent for large amounts of wine such as 55 gallons. The ration of air to wine is just right. When you use smaller barrels...
 
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