Thursday, April 28, 2011

A trip to Yadkin Valley

A few friends, my wife and I went to spend several days in Yadkin Valley checking out the vineyards and the wine making.  I went with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised.  These folks are making great wine.

The grapes used are pretty much standard vinifera varieties.  Reds included both cabs, petit verdot, merlot, and surprisingly some were growing nebiolo and tempranillo.  Very few hybrids were being grown.  A few vineyards were growing Chambrocine but that was about the extent of hybrids.

Since most of the grapes were vinifera, most of the trellises were VSP type.  I got pics.

neat vineyards, lotsa grapes

The two arms low on the first wire, with two other wires above to support the vines growth

Close up of the pruning and the new growth

Lyre trellises

The owner said that his land was fertile enough for each vine to handle 4 arms instead of 2.  The lyre arrangement supports this in a VSP arrangement

close up of the lyre support system

Monday, April 25, 2011

April Meeting

The April monthly meeting was held a Pete and Schell Alexander's house.  They live in the southern part of Madison County, near the Ivy river.  Beautiful home (constructed by Pete and Schell, in a beautiful setting.

Dennis is a wood carver with a shop in Madison County and Alan Stanton (white shirt) lives near Hendersonville and drove a long way for this meeting.  Wine making runs deep in his family

Pete Alexander on the right, (the host) and DJ Diefenbach on the left.  DJ has a vineyard near Black Mountain.

Chuck went to a wine show and brought back some info for the club.  Here he is holding a vacuum packed t-shirt. (I cannot remember why, but it was cool) .  In addition he brought info on a new grape called "no-spray-red" (not a pretty name but easier to say than its official name NY 95.0301.01
I checked out some sources and here is they are saying.
A Red wine grape with high desease resistance and potential to produce good quality wine with low hybrid characteer. With fungicide-free growing conditions,most most years have shown fruit and foliage to be free of downy and powdery mildew, and only low levels of black rot.Only under the most ideal conditions for downy mildew growth did some develop for the first time on the leaves in september 2009. Moderately productive (13lbs/vine) moderately winter hardy at -15 F available own rooted and grafted.
100 vine limit w/signed "Non-distribution/testing Agreement."
Rootstock: c3309;

You can get NY 95 at double A nurserys or grafted grapevines

here we are grading out three or four wines (I graded too many to remember for certain)
Schell has entered the picture when the serious wine tasting began
The wines were universally good.  We had a couple of kit wines and at least one wine made from home grown grapes.

Don't miss the May meeting when there will be a big muscadine wine showdown.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

APRIL Meeting of French Broad Vignerons

The April Meeting of the French Broad Vignerons will be April 21st at Pete Alexander's house.  Meeting time is 6:30.   More details to follow.  SAVE THE DATE!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Welcome to the intro session of the French Broad Vignerons.  The purpose of this blog will be to help establish communication between members of this wine growing organization.  I use the term wine growing advisedly.  The word "vigneron" implies that we not only make wine, but we also grow the grapes that we use in that wine making.

Hopefully this blog can be a vehicle to advertise what each vigneron in our organization is doing to grow grapes at altitude, and to make excellent wine with those grapes.  The blog will also serve as a means of sharing information about our techniques whether they lead to success or failure.   We have a lot of talent on board, a lot of interesting motives and methods in grape growing and wine making and a resident expert in the field of wine growing at altitude in the person of Chuck Blethen who is always willing to share his expertise.  Finally, the blog will serve as a bulletin board to announce upcomming events and meetings open to the members of our organization.

If you have any suggestions or contributions regarding this blog or the organization, do not hesitate to write me at

When we get an active membership list established we will open the blog up to those members for direct contributions.