Andy Farmer, Northeastern Vine Supply, West Pawlett, Vermont, USA

Andy Farmer has been operating Northeastern Vine Supply, Inc., a cold climate grapevine nursery, since 2002.  It is located in West Pawlett, Vermont.  Each year we are making around 200,000 cuttings of cold hardy grape varieties to be planted in our outdoor nursery for bare root production or in our greenhouse for potted vines.  Close to 200 acres of vineyard each year are planted out of our nursery in vineyards from Maine to Montana.  We work closely with the University of MN and private breeder Tom Plocher to bring the newest and best varieties of grapes to cold climate growers.  In 2013, we planted a high tunnel with tender seedless table grape varieties to learn what the possibilities were for protective viticulture in the north and have premium seedless grapes to sell into the strong “buy local” market in our state.  2015 has brought the first harvest in the high tunnel and has brought many lessons about what we can grow under cover.

Anja Antes, Antes Vines, Inc., Heppenheim, Germany

Anja Antes studied Viticulture and Oenology in Geisenheim from 2010 to 2014 and had work experiences in wineries and nurseries in New Zealand and Portugal. Now she is working in the family company – a wine-growing and grafting company in Germany founded in 1952. The family is committed to providing appropriate vines to winegrowers in colder winegrowing regions like Poland, Sweden, Netherlands, Great Britain, Lithuania, Ukraine, Czech Republic, northern Germany and Denmark. The Service includes the complete procedure from consulting (rootstocks, varieties, soil analysis, plant protection) up to planting and installation of trellising system.  In her presentation, Anja will discuss varieties, new crossings, her own experiences and the experiences of customers in these colder winegrowing regions during the last decade.

Ben Loseke, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

Ben Loseke is a PhD candidate at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln seeking a degree in Agronomy and Horticulture with a specialization in Viticulture.  The topic of his dissertation is “Enhancing Vineyard Sustainability by Replacing Herbicides with Native Grass Groundcovers.  He also received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UNL in Horticulture. In his Master’s thesis, he looked into ways to delay bud break on ‘Edelweiss’ grapevines using multiple applications of Amigo Oil and NAA.  Results from this project are now being used by growers in the  Midwest who experience problems with late spring freeze events.  Ben’s believes that, “To be a successful grape grower in a cold climate you must have a great ability to adapt to the ever-changing weather induced obstacles.  Learning to manage and adjust, rather than conquering what nature throws at you each year is the key to growing grapes in a cold climate region.”

Bradley Beam, Enology Specialist, Illinois Grape Growing Wine Association, Carbondale, Illinois, USA

Bradley Beam, enology specialist for the Illinois Growers and Vintners Association, has been active in cold climate grape and wine production since 1998.  He started as a viticulture student in Southern Illinois, conducting research on bud break delay with degummed soybean oil, and then headed to the University of Minnesota where he served as the research winemaker for the UMN Grape Breeding Project.  He then returned to Illinois to serve as the enology specialist for the Illinois grape and wine industry, where he’s proudly served since 2006.  His current focus is using sensory evaluation of grapes and wine as a tool for the determination of appropriate harvest timing, fault correction, and wine production strategies.

Chris Foss, Head, Wine Department, Plumpton College, United Kingdom

Chris Foss, Head of Wine Department at Plumpton College (UK), is half-French and Bordeaux-trained. After completing a Microbiology degree in the UK, he moved to France to study wine and manage the family vineyard in the Entre-Deux-Mers. During this time, he also worked in Sauternes (Chateau d’Yquem) and St Emilion, becoming Winemaker for the GFA Leclerc vineyard group. In 1988, he started developing the Wine Department at Plumpton College a new Masters course in Viticulture & Oenology and 11 part-time wine courses.

Chris is also a Council Member of the UK Vineyards Association, and Chairs the South East Vineyards Association, the English Wine Research & Development Group, the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium 2016 Programme Workstream and the Vineyard Managers Forum. He also developed the WineSkills industry training project, delivering courses to wine professionals all over the UK. Chris has published and presented research on vineyard site identification, climate change, sustainability and wine benchmarking.

Ethan Joseph, Winemaker, Shelburne Winery, Burlington, Vermont, USA

Ethan has been growing grapes and making wine at Shelburne Vineyard since 2008. He is responsible for approximately 16 acres of predominantly cold hardy varietals including Marquette, Petite Pearl, LaCrescent, and Louise Swenson, in addition to smaller plantings of Prairie Star and St Croix.  He also grows Vidal Blanc and Riesling. The winery produces 4000+ cases annually, with a diversity of styles. Ethan firmly believes in quality viticulture and enjoys being part of the full cycle of winegrowing. He is committed to highlighting the potential of the northern varietals through sound viticulture and premium winemaking. Ethan also serves as Treasurer for the Vermont Grape and Wine Council and is in the process of starting a consulting business centered around cold climate winegrowing.

Gaëlle Dubé, Agronomist & Viticulturist Consultant, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Gaëlle Dubé, from St-Lambert-de-Lauzon, Québec, has worked as an agronomist and viticulture consultant since 2007. She works with grapegrowers in different areas around province of Québec, Canada, to  increase their quality and productivity by trying to find solutions in crop protection, fertilization and vineyard management. She is involved in several scientific projects to increase knowledge on cold climate viticulture. From 2008 to 2011, Gaëlle managed a project on rose chafer control in organic vineyard. She is coauthor of the Identification Guide of Grapevines Grown in a Cold Climate, published in 2011. The book provides detailed ampelographic descriptions of most of the wine varieties grown in Québec. Interested in designation of Origin, she collaborates on the specification of the Québec Ice Wine Protected Geographical Indication certification and Québec Wine Protected Geographical Indication certification. Passionate about grapevines, Gaelle thinks that collaboration with each other is the best way to develop cold climate viticulture.

Harlene Hatterman-Valenti, Ph.D., professor North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

Harlene oversees the grape germplasm enhancement project at NDSU and conducts research and outreach on cold-hardy grapes.  Her emphasis is weed science, but most research is production related.  Harlene initiated her grape research in 2001 after ND state legislature made commercial wineries possible. Harlene has been involved with the NE1020 (Multi-state Evaluation of Wine Grape Cultivars and Clones) project activities since 2009 and is the ND representative for the 13 state Northern Grapes SCRI grant.  She also maintains the NDSU-Grapes listserv with over 200 subscribers and is a member of the board for the North Dakota Grape and Wine Association.  Harlene is a Board of Directors member for ASEV-ES.

Imed Dami, Ph.D., Assocociate professor and extension viticulture specialist, Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio, USA

His research interests include cold hardiness of grapevines and developing methods of cold protection; improving fruit and wine quality using cultural practices; and germplasm evaluation and matching varieties with climates and sites. Dr. Dami participated in research assignments and educational tours in Canada, Chile, Italy, Tunisia, and USA (California), and has been invited to speak nationally and internationally including Australia, Canada, Chile, Italy, New Zealand, and Tunisia. Dr. Dami was the editor and lead-author of an Extension book titled “Midwest Grape Production Guide” and co-authored “Winter Injury to Grapevines and Methods of Protection”, both were awarded best extension publications by American Society of Horticultural Sciences. He was also recognized for the 2014 best article titled “Winter Survival of Vidal Blanc Vines for Ice Wine Production” published in Wines and Vines magazine. Dr. Dami served as Chair of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture-Eastern Section (ASEV-ES) (2010-2011), and Board Director in ASEV-E (2007-2009), and currently serves on the national ASEV.

Jason Londo, Ph.D., US Department of Agriculture , Grape Genetics Research Unit, Geneva, NY, USA

Dr. Jason Londo is a Research Geneticist with the United States Department of Agriculture, Grape Genetics Research Unit in Geneva, NY.  Jason specializes in the genetics and physiology of cold hardiness in grapevine and his research program draws heavily on understanding the adaptive responses of wild grapevine to cold stress.  His research attempts to integrate field based phenotyping of dormancy, midwinter hardiness, and deacclimation with lab based gene expression and molecular mapping.  The long term goal of this research is to identify elite germplasm for cold hardiness breeding programs and gain an understanding of the biological mechanisms which contribute to cold hardiness in grape. In addition to his work with the USDA, Jason is a Co-PI on the USDA-SCRI funded “VitisGen” project, which aims to use next-generation sequencing technologies to advance grapevine trait identification and  accelerate grapevine breeding.

Jens Madsen, Kokaenrwine, Christianstad, Denmark

Now retired, Jens Madsen was educated in Europe as a Chef and Head through which he developed his skills for tasting, evaluating and appreciating wine.  Many years later he tasted a wine produced in Denmark from the hybrid grape ‘Rondo’. He disliked the taste and began to study wine chemistry to understand why. (He discovered that the Metoxpyrasines in ‘Rondo’ were the  culprits).  So he started out on a path to find other varieties for wine production in Denmark.  That path now seems terribly long and difficult!  The Danish climate is extremely challenging for grape growing. Short growing season – wet – cool – frost in May – mildew.  But the challenges have motivated him to study vine growing as a test grower and winemaker, sharing information and working together with other growers in cold and cool climates. Currently, Jens is exploring the effects of Harpin protein materials on grapevine disease in outdoor culture in Denmark, collaborating with Tom Plocher on grape breeding, and working with thermovinification techniques.

E. John Broadbent, Norwalk, Iowa, USA

In 2003, as a retirement hobby, John Broadbent planted two acres of Frontenac grapes on the family farm near Norwalk, Iowa. In 2008, the economy started going bad and he could not sell all the grapes he produced.  He got into distilling, starting Broadbent Distillery in 2009.  John spent months researching and learning about the equipment needed for grappa production. He updated his barn into a processing facility and, under a Federal Experimental Distilled Spirits License, developed his distillation formulas.  He built most of the equipment himself, including the reflux and continuous stills. Currently, Broadbent Distillery produces eight products, featuring Two Jay’s Grappa distilled from the grape pomace of local wineries.  The incredible reduction in mass from fresh grapes to finished grappa always fascinates him. He notes that he once bottled 50 cases of Grappa produced from the pomace of 30 tons of grapes!  Broadbent Distillery also produces one clear and one oaked corn whiskey, both using 100 % Iowa corn, as well as five liquors which use the whiskey as a base.  As the smallest licensed microdistillery in Iowa, John does 90 % of the work himself including all reporting and accounting, On frequent occasions, like bottling and tours, the rest of his family helps out which brings them all closer together. That is the most rewarding part of the business for him.

John Stenger, Ph.D., North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

John is a native of northwestern Minnesota and a Ph.D. candidate in plant sciences at North Dakota State University. Since it’s inception in 2010, he has been one of the leaders of the North Dakota grape germplasm enhancement program. The goal of this program is to develop hardy, adapted, high quality cultivars for wine production in North Dakota and surrounding regions.  John’s Ph.D dissertation research is on pre-breeding using S1 populations of V. riparia based hybrids with emphasis on improving fall acclimation stability.  He believes that vine stability in adaptation traits, survival, and production are of most importance to the region. After graduating this year and in the future, John would like to continue investigating methodologies for rapid introgression of traits from wild material.

Karine Pedneault, Ph.D. Research Scientist, CDBQ. Quebec Agriculture Development Center, La Pocatiere, Quebec, Canada

Dr. Karine Pedneault has a BSc in Biochemistry, and a MSc and a PhD in Plant Science from Université Laval (Québec, Canada) with a specialization in plant’s natural products extraction, analysis and characterization. After being research scientist at E&J Gallo Winery (Modesto, California), she came back in Quebec and started her research program on viticulture and winemaking in cold climate, at the Centre de développement bioalimentaire du Québec (AgriFood Development Center), in addition to have an adjunct professor appointment in Université Laval. Her research projects are oriented toward berry maturity in north climate, hybrid grape and wine chemistry, and sensory analyses. Her team, based in Quebec City, include six graduate students and one research assistant.

Larry Mawby,  L. Mawby Winery, Suttons Bary, Michigan, USA

Larry Mawby has been a winegrower on Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula since 1973, producing sparkling wines since 1984. Seeking to understand the winegrape cultivars and wine styles that most sustainably express the terroir of this cool growing region has led Larry to sparkling wines, both tank fermented and traditional method. Long term climate change presents interesting opportunities for the future: vine survivability, cropping potential, disease and pest resistance, grape flavor and aroma quality, and consumer enthusiasm are some of the key elements that come together to provide the roadmap into that future.

Mariana Maante, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia

Mariana Maante is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Horticulture at the Estonian University of Life Sciences in the city of Tartu. She is seeking a degree in Agricultural Sciences with a specialization in viticulture. The topic of her thesis is “The effect of genotype and habitat conditions on grapes bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity“. She also received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Estonian University of Life Sciences in Horticulture. On a geographical note, Estonia is a small country in Northern Europe, on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. Estonia’s neighbors are Russia in the East, Latvia in the South, Sweden in the West and Finland in the North. Very far north, between 58o and 59.5o latitude North.  Relatively cool summers and cold winters. Challenging for grape culture.  Marianna says, “Estonia is cultivating grapes and investigating them seriously now. At the moment, it’s most important for our growers to choose varieties and growing technologies which are suitable to our region to get good quality yield.”

Mark Hart, Mt. Ashwaby Vineyard & Orchard, Bayfield, Wisconsin, USA

Mark Hart has 25 years of experience growing grapes in northern states. His main focus has been grape breeding and viticultural research. Research projects have involved grape variety trials, grapevine physiology and genetics. Grape growing and breeding activities take place on the south shore of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. Summers at this location are quite cool (1050 GDD 10C) and the season is short. The primary focus of Mark’s breeding effort is to develop varieties that can ripen in very cool or short seasons and produce a high quality wine; while retaining sufficient disease resistance, productivity and winter hardiness.

Paul Troop, Owner, Omega Vines; Salt Spring Vineyards, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada

Paul Troop is the winemaker for Salt Spring Vineyards in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. He also manages several vineyards and is the owner of Omega Vines, providing grafted and self rooted Blattner varieties in Canada.  For many years Paul has been working on field and wine trials with disease resistant varieties, primarily with vines developed by Valentin Blattner. He has been active in the local growers association holding the position on Vice President several years and has served on steering committees for industry development. He has a passion for winemaking and a love of disease resistant plants.

Robert Byrnes, Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems, Lyons, Nebraska, USA

Robert Byrnes is an Organic Chemist from the University of Massachusetts and owner of Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems (NRES) and Nebraska Screw Press (NSP). His two companies are dedicated  to  developing decentralized renewable energy and food production across Nebraska and the US.  His project with Nebraska’s Silver Hills Vineyard and Winery resulted in first net zero winery in the Midwest, with the installation of a 5.6kW solar energy system in spring 2012. The energy used in the tasting room and processing facility is 100% renewable.  He has created a diverse array of products made from winery pomace, including premium quality grape seed oil and a grape seed meal that can be ground into a gluten free flour for use in baking or pastas.

Rod Ballinger, Owner & Winemaker, Bear Creek Winery, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

Rod Ballinger along with his wife, Sue, own and operate the Bear Creek Winery near Fargo, North Dakota. They have operated the winery since 2003. After the North Dakota Legislature invested resources six years ago to enhance the state’s research, promotion, marketing and education of the grape and wine industry, Rod was appointed Chairman of the legislative-mandated North Dakota Grape and Wine Program Committee. Today his main interest is working with and evaluating emerging grape varietals developed by private breeders and the North Dakota State University. Utilizing microvinification, he strives to make quality wine for enological evaluation from these new emerging grape varietals.  He also works with proven emerging cultivars on techniques for quality assurance in wine production. Currently, the Petite Pearl, Crimson Pearl, Verona (TP 1-1-34), La Crescent, and Frontenac Gris varietals are his main focus. Rod’s hope is to promote innovative viticulture and winemaking techniques that involve new and traditional methods to enhance all aspects of the industry.

Simon Naud, Owner & Winemaker, Vignoble LeBauge, Quebec, Canada

Simon Naud, is the owner of the Vignoble de la Bauge in Québec, a 20-acre vineyard mostly planted with the Minnesota varieties, but also with some French and German hybrids and a few Viniferas. He started to work at his parent’s vineyard in 1986 for a summer job, and he finally took charge of the business and the winemaking side in 1996. At that time the vineyard was mostly planted with Seyval Blanc that they used to hill up with soil for winter protection. In the 1990’s, Simon, together with Alain Breault, was one of the first to try the Swenson varieties in Québec, including Sabrevois and Prairie Star.  He founded the first research committee for the local winemaker’s association in 1998, and, with the help of Agriculture Canada, began to import some of the Minnesota’s varieties, Frontenac, Marquette, and LaCrescent. In 2002, he and other growers, worked to set up the first Wine Route in Québec.  Today he is the vice-president of the Association of the Québec’s Winemakers. Simon’s goal is to bring the best and finest wine he can to the people of Québec at an affordable price, but with respect for the environment and for his vineyard and winery workers.

Terry Heggemeier, Grape Grower Blackhoof Creek Winery, Barnum, Minnesota, USA

After 37 years in military service to our country I was looking for a new challenge. What could be more challenging than growing grapes in northern Minnesota near Lake Superior? We were told by the “experts” that our climate was too harsh. Blackhoof Creek Vineyard and Winery is located on five acres near Barnum, Minnesota. We grow 11 different varieties of grapes, 6 white, 5 red; half of which are experimental.  The winters are indeed harsh and long, but our greatest challenge is getting the grapes ripe prior to the first killing frost.  Frost avoidance practices to extend the ripening season have been the key to our success.  Blackhoof Creek Winery will produce its first commercial vintage in the Fall of 2015.

Tim Martinson, Ph.D., Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Geneva, New York, USA

Dr. Martinson has been involved in grape extension and research with Cornell University since 1991. In 1997, Tim was hired to be Grape Extension Specialist in the Finger Lakes region, serving a diverse clientele of 230 growers and 90 wineries. He led development of the Vine Balance sustainable viticulture program. 

Currently, he directs the multistate “Northern Grapes Project”, with 11 cooperating institutions in the upper Midwest and Northeastern states. Also he was a contributor and co-author of the multi-state extension publication Winter Injury to Grapevines and Methods of Protection, and the Eastern Grape Production Guide.

Tom Plocher,  Northern Winework, Inc., Hugo, Minnesota, USA

Tom Plocher is perhaps best known for co-authoring (with Bob Parke) the book Northern Winework: Growing Grapes and Making Wine in Cold Climates and for his grape, ‘Petite Pearl’.  Tom has returned to China many times and travelled extensively around the northern provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin, and the northwestern provinces of Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu, and Xinjiang.  During his China travels Tom has met with many local grape producers and researchers. He has studied grape varieties, viticulture practices in these cold winter provinces, and their emerging wine industries. One of his lasting memories is the prevalence, throughout the cold climate provinces in China, of unheated greenhouse grape culture for the production of premium seedless table grapes.  His goal is to see profitable local grape culture expand throughout the cold and cool climate world through the development of new grape varieties and application of innovative technology for grape culture.

Torben Toldam-Andersen, Ph.D., Copenhagen University (KU), Copenhagen, Denmark

Dr. Toldam-Andersen received his MSc in Horticultural Sciences (1991) and PhD in Pomology (1995) from The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University,  Copenhagen. He did a Post doc at Bonn University, Germany (1995-96) before  joining the faculty in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Copenhagen University (KU). His interest in grapes began in the mid-1990’s,  when he planted a collection of about 100 grape cultivars at the Pometum.  Since  2006, Dr. Toldam-Andersen has been responsible for the course ‘Cool Climate Viticulture and Enology’ at KU. More recently, he also has taught the course ‘Applied Cool Climate Viticulture and Enology’.  He started experimental wine making in 2007 and has been cooperating on research with the University in Geisenheim and with LGW in Veitsuchtheim, Franken, as well as the Food Science Department at KU.  Dr. Toldam-Andersen’s research in enology and viticulture includes work with yeast strains and vinification techniques for the new German “PIWI” cultivars, as well as a major project on table grape growing in  high tunnels. His stated goals in cool climate viticulture and enology are to optimize the management of yield and quality components of cool climate cultivars and support the development of cultivar-specific vinification techniques for Solaris and other ‘piwi’ cultivars.

Valentin Blattner, Wadenswil, Switzerland

Valentin Blattner ‘s research station for ecology and grape breeding is based in Soyhieres, in a little village in the country Jura in the Jurassic mountains in Switzerland near Basel. This year is the 30th Anniversary of breeding new selections of grapes. Our focus is mainly disease resistance to peronosphora, but also oidium and botrytis is a major concern. Anthracnose and black-rot are part of our program too. Cold resistance is also on the agenda. The breeding material include a lot of amurensis and riparia, which give a lot of disease resistance but also a very good cold hardiness.  Another focus is tropical varieties like muscadinia and caribea, which bring interesting genes for disease resistance, but need to be made more cold hardy. This is manly achieved  by using Minnesota material. So our goal is to breed super resistant grapes that bring top quality wine. The varieties on the market like Cab-blanc, 32-07 or Cab-Jura frequently win gold medals in competition. A new release will be Cal 6-04, which is just waiting for a name. All these varieties grow in our commercial 8ha vineyard in Switzerland  and also are exported to other parts of the world.