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:


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.”


If you are a Facebook fiend then you have the opportunity to see a new page — the eViticulture Facebook page.  This has just started so we are just getting it ramped up with photos and information.  Take a look here:


Like us!

Keep tabs on us in the coming weeks for more information.  Also, don’t forget Twitter as well (http://twitter.com/#!/eViticulture) — we now have 124 followers and continue to grow everyday.


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.

Two recent studies were done in the Mississippi river basin region and another location to see if Glyphosate was detectable in water and air samples.  See below for a short summary of what they found:

Glyphosate (tradename Roundup), a Herbicide – Occurrence and Fate in the Mississippi River Basin – In an article published in the journal “Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry”, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis examined “… ambient levels of glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the United States, and its major degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), in air and rain … during two growing seasons in agricultural areas in Mississippi and Iowa [and found that] the frequency of glyphosate detection ranged from 60 to 100% in both air and rain [with] concentrations of glyphosate [that] ranged from less than 0.01 to 9.1 ng/m3 and from less than 0.1 to 2.5 micrograms/L in air and rain samples, respectively …” – The study estimates that “… an average of 97% of the glyphosate in the air is removed by a weekly rainfall greater than or equal to 30 mm …” – In a separate article published in the journal “Pest Management Science”, researchers from the USGS and the National School for Water and Environmental Engineering in Strasbourg, France found that “… glyphosate and AMPA were frequently detected in the surface waters of four agricultural basins … and the load, as a percentage of use, ranged from 0.009 to 0.86% and could be related to three general characteristics: source strength, rainfall runoff and flow route …” – The study concludes that “… the watersheds most at risk for the offsite transport of glyphosate are those with high application rates, rainfall that results in overland runoff and a flow route that does not include transport through the soil …”

The national eXtension Grapes Community of Practice is asking for your help in completing a national survey.  This will help us determine grower needs and future direction of our resources.  The survey is very short and can be completed quickly.  Please take just a couple minutes and fill it out.  We want and need your input.  Follow the link below to fill out the survey:







I try to keep my blog about viticulture and enology, but every once in a while I may throw a curveball.  Today is one of those days.  The title above refers to a new book (http://www.travelerstales.com/catalog/pcaf/) that I just finished reading.  It covers 50 years of Peace Corps volunteer experiences in Africa.  Since I was one of those volunteers I found I was able to relate to every story in the book.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, so as a part of my job as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer I must continue to educate others stateside on the cultures and experiences of those that I interacted with during my time in Senegal.  So, if you have an interest in this area I highly recommend reading this book.  It is comprised of many short essays that vividly describe the Peace Corps experience.  There are three other volumes coming out soon that will cover other areas of the world as well.  Based on this volume I can’t wait to read those too.  If you decide to buy this book online I suggest doing it from Amazon because it is considerably cheaper there.

And if you do, you might just find a short essay in the mix from yours truly.

One Hand Does Not Catch a Buffalo

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!

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