• Ferocious Focus,  Grape Cultivation,  Japan,  Nagano,  Winery

    Trellis: Japan Vineyards Get Smart with Smart-Dyson

    Following up on Ferocious Focus: Trellis Systems, I will introduce the trellis system that Kusunoki Winery, a winery located in Suzaka, Nagano in Japan uses. But before that, let’s discuss some of the environmental factors that Kusunoki Winery considered when choosing its trellis system. The main factors are fertile soil and wet weather, which together cause rapid vine growth, or high vigor. Fertile Soil According to the Kusunoki Winery website, the winery is located on an alluvial fan called the Hitakihara. An alluvial fan is…

  • Ferocious Focus,  Grape Cultivation

    Ferocious Focus: Trellis Systems

    “Trellis systems” is a large topic to tackle in a single post. The plan is to provide a shorter explanation here to set up for a longer post next week on a specific trellis system that I have often seen used in Nagano, Japan. And, no, it is not the pergola-like budodana system. Although that is an interesting system in itself and should get a post at some point. What is a Trellis System? So, as mentioned, “trellis systems” is a large topic. To start,…

  • Grape Cultivation,  Japan

    Muscat Bailey A: Another Japanese Wine Grape

    You have probably heard about Koshu wine made from the native Japanese grape variety of the same name. This light and crisp wine is increasingly winning the hearts of international wine critics (click here for a great article from The Drinks Business). That is a great development for Japanese wine. But, Japan has more “native” grapes to offer. One that deserves attention is Muscat Bailey A. Muscat Bailey A (photo credit: Yamada, Masahiko and Akihiko Sato, “Advances in table grape breeding in Japan,” Breed Sci. 2016 Jan;…

  • Ferocious Focus,  Grape Cultivation

    Ferocious Focus: Rootstocks — Part 2 Other Benefits

    Part one of Ferocious Focus: Rootstocks, the first of a series that looks at the more technical parts of wine, was about phylloxera, the nasty insect that almost destroyed the global wine industry in the late 1800s, and the solution, grafting European varietals on American rootstocks. The use of rootstocks developed as a solution to protect vines against phylloxera vastatrix. This remains the main reason for using rootstocks and a rootstock’s level of resistance to phylloxera is a major factor that a grape grower considers…

  • Ferocious Focus,  Grape Cultivation

    Ferocious Focus: Rootstocks — Part 1 Phylloxera

    Let’s be honest, sometimes wine speak is ridiculous. We talk about flavors like a “sunset on your lovers brow” or how a wine has “nice legs.” Such talk can be fun and, for some, is part of the attraction to wine. I also like to dabble in such speak once in a while. There is, after all, a certain amount of art in winemaking. However, there is also quite a bit of science. And it too is as fascinating as the legs on any red…