Your Account  |  Log In
Cart 0 items: $0.00

Atwater Vineyards

Atwater Vineyards
 
April 9, 2020 | Atwater Vineyards

Trellis Management at Atwater Vineyards in the Finger Lakes of New York

Trellis Management
Chris King, Vineyard Manager


Understanding and effectively utilizing our resources is key to growing grapes and that begins with canopy management. Canopy management defines how we use the space in the vineyard and refers to anything that physically manipulates how the vines grow. It starts with plant spacing and includes pruning, tying, leaf removal, shoot and fruit thinning, hedging, and trellising. In this post, we will discuss trellising and how we train the vines to grow in the way that most benefits our winemaking goals.

Many different trellis designs and systems are used throughout the world, some simple, and some very complex. Atwater exists in a cool climate growing region, so our major concern is maximizing sun exposure for better fruit quality and disease control. The characteristics of the different varieties we are growing help us to decide how to trellis them. We consider such things as growth habit, susceptibility to disease, and the ripening characteristics of each variety. Hybrid and native varieties are typically more disease resistant and easier to ripen consistently than are vinifera varieties, for example.

Vinifera Grapes

At Atwater Vineyards, 90% of our vineyard is comprised of vinifera varieties which can make unique and complex wines and are highly influenced by growing practices. For these types of grapes, we use either a Vertical Shoot Positioned (VSP) or, more typically, a Scott Henry (SH) system. In VSP, all of the growing shoots are trained up (vertically) with sets of “catch wires.” Scott Henry is also a VSP system, but it is divided so that half of the shoots are trained down instead of up.

VSP vs. SH  credit: Sunlight into Wine by Richard Smart

VSP vs. SH
credit: Sunlight into Wine by Richard Smart

When we divide the canopy, the fruit is more exposed and all of the space is utilized which reduces disease pressure, promotes fruitfulness of the shoots, and increases ripeness. To do this, we make several passes through the vineyard to move wires and train shoots. Around bloom (mid-June), we separate the top and bottom tiers and begin rolling the bottom part of the canopy down as well as training the top part of the canopy up. As the shoots continue to grow, we make another pass or two to train shoots between the top set of catch wires.

When we divide the canopy, the fruit is more exposed and all of the space is utilized which reduces disease pressure, promotes fruitfulness of the shoots, and increases ripeness. To do this, we make several passes through the vineyard to move wires and train shoots. Around bloom (mid-June), we separate the top and bottom tiers and begin rolling the bottom part of the canopy down as well as training the top part of the canopy up. As the shoots continue to grow, we make another pass or two to train shoots between the top set of catch wires.

Photo of black clips used to manage vineyard wires.

The black clips in the picture allow wires to be hooked and unhooked from those particular locations. We start with them in positions below the growing shoots and move them up as the shoots grow longer.

Photo of vines, an open canopy with good fruit exposure that makes beautiful wine.

The result is an open canopy with good fruit exposure that makes beautiful wine.

Hybird Grapes

We use Umbrella Kniffin and High Wire Cordon systems for hybrid grapes because they are very low maintenance and well-suited to hybrids since they encourage a naturally open canopy.

Drawing of trellis system.

Umbrella Kniffin

High Wire Cordon

credit: Sunlight into Wine by Richard Smart 

Umbrella Kniffin is a cane pruned system, and High Wire Cordon is a spur pruned system. When we prune our vines, we can either leave canes or cordons. Fruit is produced on new growth coming from two-year-old wood. We can either remove all but a few canes (usually two to four) that grew the previous season or we can shorten many of the canes that grew last year to very short canes or “spurs.”  While pruning is a discussion unto itself, the basic premise is that we are trying to judge how many buds we can leave so that we have enough green growth (leaves and shoots) to support the amount of fruit that is growing. If we have too much fruit and not enough leaves, the grapes will not ripen properly and the vines will weaken over time, and if we have too many leaves and not enough fruit, the fruit will also not ripen properly and disease will be more prevalent.  Both of Umbrella Kniffin and High Wire Cordon encourage shoots to naturally grow in a way that gives good fruit exposure when pruned properly and paired with the appropriate variety. 

By beginning with effective trellis management, we are able to produce the maximum amount of healthy, flavorful grapes at harvest.

Time Posted: Apr 9, 2020 at 9:45 AM
Atwater Vineyards
 
March 15, 2020 | Atwater Vineyards

The Atwater Times - March 2020

View from Atwater's deck overlooking Seneca Lake.Be sure to tune in to our LIVE webcam to watch March transition from a lion to a lamb.

Divider.

IN THE VINEYARDS

Vineyards overlooking Seneca Lake

We’ve passed the time of year when we expect to get our major cold events and have not seen significant bud damage, so we decided to push through and finish pruning the vineyards. Now we hope we don’t have a frost event after the vines have started to grow in the spring!

With pruning done, we’ve returned to trellis work to get things ready for tying. We’re repairing posts and wires now so that we can then tighten the wires. The canes left after pruning will be wrapped around the wires for support. The wires need to be tight so that they can support the weight of the fruit as the vines grow.

Divider
WINE CELLAR UPDATES 

Our winemakers have been undertaking blending trials of skin-fermented, barrel-aged Vignoles 2016, Riesling 2016, and Gewürztraminer 2017. Vinny and George are also preparing to bottle our 2019 Vignoles and Stone Bridge White at the end of March.

Bottle of Fahrenheit on a table overlooking Seneca Lake

New Release
Fahrenheit 2016

Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were handpicked and frozen for three weeks then whole-clustered pressed, cold-settled, racked and fermented in stainless steel. After fermentation was stopped, the wine was aged in stainless steel tanks. The wine has aromas of fresh strawberries, raspberries, and orange marmalade, intriguing flavors of apricot, honey, allspice, and strawberry jam, and a delightful silky texture.

Purchase Fahrenheit

Divider
FROM THE TASTING ROOM

Tasting room photo showing tables in the tasting room.

We've rearranged our tasting room to give you more room to sit and enjoy our wines. Please join us for a tasting and see our new look!

Spring holidays are on the horizon, and we will be posting wine cocktail recipes Amanda developed for you to use for brunches and other special events. Our first featured drink is the MoonWalk. Check out our social media in the upcoming weeks for more delicious cocktails.

MoonWalk

Combine:

1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
1 oz. orange liqueur
3 drops rose water

Shake with ice

Top with Sparking Gewürztraminer 2013

 Photo of MoonWalk cocktail in a champagne flute.

 

Divider
CLUB HOUSE

Club party hayride.

Our annual Wine Club Party will be held on June 13th from 5:00 until sunset. Enjoy hayride tours throughout the vineyards, vertical wine tastings with the winemakers, great music with Aaron Lipp & the Slacktones, catered hors d'oeuvres with a full buffet dinner and delectable desserts. Close the evening by watching the sun set over the vineyards and Seneca Lake. Get your tickets here.

Time Posted: Mar 15, 2020 at 9:04 AM
Atwater Vineyards
 
February 17, 2020 | Atwater Vineyards

The Atwater Times - February 2020

Snow-covered vineyard overlooking Seneca Lake.

Be sure to tune in to our LIVE webcam to watch the winter weather.

Our vineyard is covered in snow from recent storms, but Punxsutawney Phil predicts we only have six more weeks of winter.


IN THE VINEYARD 

Now that we are in the heart of winter, the vineyard staff’s primary activity has been pruning. Although only about a quarter of the way through the vineyards, they are starting to pick up the pace since we will turn the corner toward spring very soon. 

It is also a good time to prepare for the upcoming season by doing equipment maintenance and repairs since we don’t use our tractors and equipment as much use this time of year. In the heat of the growing season, it is important to have everything running properly so that we don’t have a breakdown at a critical stage. 

WINE CELLAR UPDATES

Rose bottles ready to test.

The 2019 rosés are officially on deck for the first bottling run of 2020 season.

We sent all the rosés through their initial filtration to help clarify and aerate the wine, delivered samples for lab analysis to check the chemistry, and finally ran cold stability trials to ensure their integrity. 

If all goes according to plan we should have what is shaping up to be an excellent batch of rosés coming this spring.

PURCHASE CURRENT ROSÉS NOW

FROM THE TASTING ROOM

Cabernet Franc sitting on a barrel in the snow.

New Release

2018 Cabernet Franc

Our Cabernet Franc underwent 61% spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel tank, 39% fermentation in open top bin and was aged nine months in neutral French oak barrels.

Its grapes produce delicate flavors of red cherry, raspberries, and sweet tobacco.


THE VINEYARD TABLE

We are pleased to announce dates for our greatly anticipated Vineyard Table dinners.

Experience fine dining prepared table-side by acclaimed local chefs Giulietta Racciatti and Rune Hilt of Red Dove Tavern while nestled in Atwater’s beautiful vineyards overlooking Seneca Lake. Giulietta and Rune craft menus that focus on local and seasonal ingredients and are thoughtfully paired with Atwater wines. Meet our winemakers, learn about the chefs and the passion they bring to their craft, and enjoy lively conversation with friends. 

Space is limited to 22 guests, so book your experience early to guarantee a spot. Club members receive $10 off per ticket (limit 2).

PURCHASE VINEYARD TABLE TICKETS NOW


SHIPPING NEWS

We are pleased to announce that we are now able to ship orders to customers in Arizona!

CLUB HOUSE

 

FEBRUARY PICK-UP PARTY

Thank you to our Wine Club members who came out for the first pick-up party of 2020! From our cozy tasting room, we watched the snow hide Seneca Lake while tasting an array of wines including pre-releases and library wines and enjoying small bites. George brought winemaking equipment and barrel samples from the cellar for show-and-tell. Our next wine club shipment and party is in May. 


ANNUAL WINE CLUB PARTY

Save the Date: June 13th

Our annual Wine Club Party will be held on June 13th from 5:00 until sunset. Enjoy hayride tours throughout the vineyards, vertical wine tastings with the winemakers, great music with Aaron Lipp & the Slacktones, catered hors d'oeuvres with a full buffet dinner and delectable desserts. Close the evening by watching the sun set over the vineyards and Seneca Lake.

If you are not yet a member, please join our wine-loving community! Visit our website for more details.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Check out our Events Calendar for the latest events at and around Atwater Vineyards.

Time Posted: Feb 17, 2020 at 3:46 PM
Atwater Vineyards
 
January 15, 2020 | Atwater Vineyards

The Atwater Times - January 2020

Be sure to tune in to our LIVE webcam to watch the winter weather.

2020 marks Atwater’s 20th anniversary.
We are excited to meet this milestone and hope you will join us in celebrating throughout the year.


IN THE VINEYARD 

Man doing work on the vineyard poles and trellis system.

On cold days, we've begun pruning our hardier varieties which is ideal since we can bundle up and stay warm. Each vine is pruned by hand so that we can assess how it is doing. Proper pruning is the foundation for managing the growth, crop load, and health of our vines. On January 31, we will be participating in the second annual Felco East Pruning Competition at Anthony Road Winery for a friendly test of our pruning skills.

Warmer weather during December and January, however, has allowed us to keep doing trellis work, which we need to have more dexterity (i.e., thinner gloves) for. It has also been wet, which makes it hard to get tractors into the vineyard. Even so, we’ve already gotten much more tractor work in than average for this time of year. 

IN THE WINERY

Vinny managing blending trials with a number of wines in front of him.

The winemakers are closing in on most of the major blending decisions for the 2019 whites and rosés, with only a few more adjustments as we head toward the bottling season. In the barrel room, our reds are just finishing up malolactic fermentation and will soon be ready for their winter hibernation. With the benefit of time, we can report with more confidence that the wine quality of last fall’s vintage appears quite strong across the board.

FROM THE TASTING ROOM

Charcuterie board aside a glass of wine sitting in the snow.

Cheese Plates and Charcuterie Boards

Cheese plates and charcuterie boards are available throughout the winter and are perfect to enjoy with a glass of wine or with one of our tantalizing wine cocktails in our cozy tasting room overlooking the sleeping vineyards.
 

SLWT Bargain Bash

Held January 11-20 after the busy holiday, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s Bargain Bash is an inventory reduction and clearance sale with many wineries providing discounts on wine and a variety of retail items. It is free to attend and no tickets are required. We will be offering can’t-miss deals such as:

Dry Rosé of Blaufränkisch 2017: $7 per bottle
Atwater White: $6.50 per bottle
Finger Lakes Wine Glasses (Set of 12): $35 normally $70

Available in tasting room only while supplies last. No additional discounts apply.
 

SLWT Global Eats and Local Wine

International flavor comes to Seneca Lake during the Global Eats and Local Wine event! Enjoy a tour around Seneca Lake while exploring the unique, delicious pairings of Seneca Lake wines with foods from a variety of nations and cultures at twenty-one participating Seneca Lake Wine Trail wineries. At Atwater, we are pairing Apple Butter Rugelach, a taste of Poland, with our Riesling 2015. Tickets, available through the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, are $40 per person, $20 for designated drivers.

Photo of Atwater wines and the Global Eats Passport

SLWT Wine Weekday Passports

Seneca Lake Wine Trail Wine Weekday Passports are available in our tasting room or through the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Good through June 30, 2020, these passports allow one guest a tasting at each of fifteen participating wineries and are valid Monday through Friday during regular business hours. They can be used in a single week or over the course of several and provide a convenient way to enjoy many of the wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Check out our Events Calendar for the latest events at and around Atwater Vineyards.

Time Posted: Jan 15, 2020 at 11:11 AM