Intro Comments


In the immortal words of Jim Morrison, This is the End (of the Glog).  It has been a fun, educational tool for me to communicate with growers and I hope that you found it useful.  This is the last entry, but it will remain up for reading — at least for awhile.  I will start a new blog sometime after I start at Mississippi State University and it will be on http://www.eviticulture.org.  Some other capstone items I wish to say:

1. Please continue to support OSU’s viticulture and enology efforts.  Just because I am leaving does not mean the program just goes away.  And if you would like to see my position refilled (that is not guaranteed!), I suggest developing a strategic plan to make this happen.  Contact the appropriate people (department heads, deans, provost, president, legislators, anyone with influence — and money), find a way to provide some funding to support research and extension efforts and do it on an annual basis, and come up with a plan of attack that may include having discussing with folks in the pecan industry.  It is unlikely that the position will be refilled solely as a grape position, but as a joint position with pecans is possible.  A plan of action may look like this: rally support for filling the position within the industry by drafting a position paper on why it needs to be filled as soon as possible, develop a plan for funding assistance to do the work you need done through research and extension, develop strong relationships with the OSU horticulture dept head and OSU division of agriculture dean.  If they don’t know you exist, then they won’t care.  How many times since 2005 (when I started) has anyone in the industry interacted with the dean?  I don’t know the answer to that, but if it is 0 or a very few times then that does not bode well.  A plan of action must include items like “why the position is important to the industry”, “what does the industry bring to the table in order for the university to invest in the position”, “how is the industry growing and what are future projections such that a continuing presence is needed?”.  Think about resources that might be available for an extension specialist to use (in-kind services, etc.).  In essence Why does the grape and wine industry of Oklahoma need this position to be filled and what is the Oklahoma grape and wine industry prepared to do about it?

2. Contribute your voice to an industry organization and keep abreast of what is happening in the industry now.

3. Don’t forget to read my last issue of Le Vigneron (to be published sometime early October).  It will include some photos of our vineyard, data and interpretation of the Perkins vineyard since 2002, and some other goodies.  At this point I don’t know if it will be the last one or not, but it will be a “blow-out” issue.  If you are not on the mailing list you can always find it online here (www.grapes.okstate.edu).

4. Growers and wineries need to stick together and display a unified front to legislators.  Find a way past the differences and work together.  To be honest, other states have really gotten their acts together and formed cohesive state organizations that get a lot done.  It might be a good idea to talk with leaders from other states that are on a similar scale to Oklahoma  (like Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, etc. to find out what they are doing that is successful).

5. Be leery, but not dismissive, of vinifera grapes.  Well, maybe dismissive in many parts of northern Oklahoma.  Vinifera grapes can grow in Oklahoma, but we are concerned not only with growth.  We are also concerned with productivity, survival, disease resistance, and fruit quality.  Through my six years here I have come to these conclusions: Vinifera grapes are high-risk and should not be a first choice north of I-40.  South of I-40 on excellent sites they can be considered but not all varieties work.  Always use a rootstock, preferably a low vigor rootstock like 101-14.  Economics must be a prominent thought in variety choice.  What price per ton can be obtained?  How much does it cost to maintain per acre per year?

6. Open your mind to hybrid grapes.  There are many good varieties out there.  The only way to learn about them is to taste the wine and view the vine growth.  There are opportunities to do this within Oklahoma as well as in surrounding states.

7. If you have not done so already, please complete this survey:

https://okstatecasnr.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_agjMhFmvr6f4TMo

8. Attend conferences such as ASEV, Unified Symposium, Midwest Grape and Wine Conference, etc.  The national perspective you get from these types of venues are invaluable.

9. Stay positive.  Oklahoma is a difficult place to grow grapes, but it can be done (with proper variety selection, site selection, management, and education).  Setbacks will happen, but Oklahoma has a terroir different from anywhere else, so it is exciting to be able to taste that through the grapes.  Taste Native Oklahoma is something to strive for.  Will it be possible to have an industry built entirely on Oklahoma grapes?  I don’t know, but at this point it is unlikely and impossible.  However, with a positive attitude anything is possible.

10. Not sure what else to say, but I wanted to have 10 items here.  So, as Bill S. Preston, Esq. once said, “Be excellent to each other.”

Yes, the end is coming soon for this blog.  When is the last day?  I’m not entirely sure, but probably somewhere around September 22.  The reason?  Well, for one thing I am leaving on the 23rd to give a talk at a conference in Hawaii.  Secondly, if you have not heard by now, I am leaving OSU on October 14.  I have been offered, and accepted, another position similar to this one at Mississippi State University.  I start there on November 1.  I will still be in the grape world — I will continue to be the Project Leader of eViticulture.org and I will start a new blog that can be read from that website.  It will no longer be Oklahoma specific, but I will touch on grape growing in the Deep South as well as other broader topics of interest.  There are many loose ends concerning how things will continue here at OSU, but meetings will be held to discuss those things and we hope to have a plan in place before my departure.  I have really enjoyed doing this blog and I hope you will continue to follow me when I move over to my new blog.

Please take this survey to win a prize package — and to also let us know how to improve our OSU viticulture and enology website.  Only one entry per person.

Click here to take the OSU Viticulture and Enology Website Survey!

Thanks in advance for your responses and good luck!

Today is my first blog outside of the OGGWMA confines.  I have reposted all of my past posts and from this point forward all posts will be new.  Just a word of warning, some of the link on the old posts may not work.  I did not check those.  If there is something in particular you can’t find just drop me a line.  I hope you will find this useful.

20-Mar-09 08:55 | Eric Stafne

With apologies to Roger Waters and David Gilmour, I’m not sure this blog is working out as it was intended.  I think the idea is to have some interaction and be a creative process to stimulate thinking.  So far I have received one comment (that, in fact, wasn’t really a comment at all).  Therefore, I have a request.  If you are reading this blog, please leave a comment to this message.  At least that will give me the impression that my ramblings are not just floating out in cyberspace.  If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?  If a professor writes a blog and no one reads it does it make a difference?

03-Mar-09 08:37 | Eric Stafne

Greetings Fellow Viticulturists!

This is my first posting and first time doing a blog, so it is an exciting feeling to be a part of the blogosphere.  I think a more appropriate name would be a grape log or glog instead of blog, but who am I to rock the boat?

At any rate, this forum will be used to send out viticulture information, create interesting discussion, and generate new ideas for the future of Oklahoma viticulture.  As always, I welcome feedback on any subjects I broach here, in my newsletter, on my website, or anywhere else.  We need to work together to ultimately be successful.

Last night I visited the Lincoln County Grape Growers Association and gave a talk on Grape Phenology and Data Collection.  I will give this talk again to the Grand Country Group in a few weeks.  I encourage anyone with an interest to participate in this Grape Growers Data Collection Network.  In a couple days, I will post my presentation and a data collection sheet on my website (www.grapes.okstate.edu) so that you can look at the photos and be prepared to collect the necessary data.  Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

This week I again begin the Grape Management Short Course for the year.  We have 49 students signed up this time — the most since 2006.  I know when Dr. Dean McCraw started this course he thought it would be taught for a couple years, then go every other year, then eventually no more students would come.  So far, that has not been the case.  This is my fourth year and during that time I have had roughly 175 students.  I find it amazing that we continue to have such a strong interest in grapes even through the difficulties we have experienced over the last couple of years.

Over the next few months I hope to explore my views of the current state of viticulture in Oklahoma and look forward to yours as well.

Finally a thanks to Gary Butler and the OGGWMA for hosting this blog.