In the latest newletter, it is mentioned that Italy has organic vineyards; it almost seems natural. Why is it so hard to grow grapes organically in New Jersey? Are the variety of grapes grown in Italy more hardy? If that is the answer, then where can we get these varieties?

Kathy Fiegauf
New Jersey



New Farm senior writer Laura Sayre, who visited organic vineyards in Italy and who wrote the article in question, had this to say:

I think most of the advantages enjoyed by Italian organic vineyard managers have to do with a favorable climate, although I'm sure the huge diversity of vine varieties (including some that are literally ancient) available over there lends some benefit. In general though, as in parts of California and France, organic grape growing is relatively easy in dry climates with few pest and disease problems. This is not the case in New Jersey! You might be interested to read a couple of articles I wrote last year about East Coast U.S. growers trying to reduce chemical use:

From table to farm
Manhattan restaurateurs and local food supporters turn to sustainable
wine-grape growing on Long Island's North Fork

Pennsylvania wine-grape grower pioneers sustainable vineyard management methods
The Roth family has been part of southern Pennsylvania's fruit world for four generations. Reigning patriarch Phil Roth—now in his seventh decade—is challenging himself and his fellow growers to cut back on chemicals

Compost tea research enters its second year
Study aims to shed light on current debates over the safety and efficacy of compost tea as an organic material

A good place to start for more information on varieties is Lon Rombough's The Grape Grower: A Guide to Organic Viticulture (Chelsea Green, 2002). You might also check out Growing Organic Winegrapes: An Introductory Handbook for Growers (Fetzer Vineyards, 2003) www.fetzer.com , although, again, it's speaking to a CA audience.

Hope that's some help!






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