Good Fruit Grower

October 2015

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10 OCTOBER 2015 GOOD FRUIT GROWER T annins are an integral part of the wine lan- guage, but just how do you talk about tan- nins? It depends on who's doing the talking and who you're talking to, says a panel of wine industry representatives. Washington State's renowned Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard near Paterson, with its views of the Columbia River, draws visitors from around the world. "I talk tannins every time I give a vineyard tour to vis- itors," said Mimi Nye, vineyard manager at Canoe Ridge Estate, which is owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Canoe Ridge is located in Horse Heaven Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA), one of Washington's warmest wine regions. "We're one of the hottest sites in the state, so fruit gets really ripe," said Nye. When Nye talks tannins, she uses words like powdery talc, silky, smooth, and dusty. "When visitors come during harvest, I have them pop a few berries in their mouths, spit out the seeds and chew the pulp and skins thoroughly," she said. "If it feels smooth in the mouth, fruit is ready to pick. If it's rough, then fruit isn't ready." Nye works to impact tannins by ensuring uniform fruit through vineyard block design, pruning, shoot thinning, leaf removal, and fruit thinning. "If clusters aren't uniform, then all of the greenness stands out and you have unripe flavors," she said during a panel discussion at a meeting of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers. She also avoids overcropping fruit because it can impact ripeness. Pet peeves Nye is demanding when it comes to harvest. Though some of Canoe Ridge is harvested by hand, most of the fruit is mechanically harvested. "I'm very particular about how fruit is harvested and how clean the loads are," she said, and added that she does not want to see leaves, stems, pedicels, and other material with the fruit. "One of my pet peeves is MOG (material other than grapes)." She closely watches the performance of grape har- vesters, noting which pick the whole berry without MOG or damaged vines. For instance, one harvester unintentionally ground up leaves, while another did a good job removing MOG but was macerating berries into juice. In recent years, the grape harvester used at Canoe Ridge has included an optical sorter as part of the harvest operation, which helps the machine eliminate unwanted material during picking. "My goal is to deliver a good, clean load of fruit, with whole berries and little MOG, so the winemaker can make the best wine that's smooth, soft, and leaves a dusty, powdery mouth feel," Nye said. How do you talk about tannins to the wine trade and consumers? by Melissa Hansen The art of TALKING TANNINS Mimi Nye Jeff Lindsay-Thornsen Joe Cotta Joe Aschbacher Consider for your next planting: • BRUCE PONDER • SUSAN WILKINSON • ADAM WEIL • DAVE WEIL 503-538-2131 • FAX: 503-538-7616 BENEFITS: • Disease tolerant • Cold hardy • Adapts well to all cherry-growing districts • Forms flower buds and comes into bearing quicker than Mazzard with a better distribution of flower buds Now booking orders for 2016 Call Tree Connection: 800-421-4001 Dwarfing Cherry Rootstock Krymsk ® 5 Krymsk ® 6 [cv. VSL-2, USPP 15,723] [cv. LC-52, USPP 16,114] "Krymsk ® 5 and Krymsk ® 6 cherry rootstocks have proven to be the best rootstock for our orchards. They are yield efficient, grow and adapt well, and are cold hardy." —John Morton The Dalles, Oregon

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