Sunday, August 21, 2016


      I'm back at it!  This will be the new home of all things North American summer grape (Vitis ├Žstivalis) from the initial perspective of ten years at Chateau Z Vineyard.  I hope to get most of my summer grape breeding information from 2003-2013 back on line and provide a place for observations about North America's hope for a sustainable viticulture that does not depend so heavily on fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and other pesticides and off-farm inputs in order to produce grapes for juice, jelly, and wine of "Euro-Cal" quality.  We can do this!  We in eastern North America live among the wild stock needed to move North American viticulture along in a direction of wisdom and knowledge instead of continuing to force it into the Old World traditions of fashion and exclusion.  No industry insider will believe it is possible or worthy of trial until it is already done.  The process started itself at the time of the Revolutionary War with the accident of the Red Bland grape found on Virginia's Eastern Shore (and other accidents of the time, followed by Dr. Norton's grape).  This evidence was almost missed save for a few observant lovers of the vine who NOTICED.  Let's see if we can notice our way into an entirely new way of thinking about our wild grapes in this new century.  It is not really new, we just forgot to go to the library and see what was done before we were born! 
     What is more exciting is that now we have the science of genetics on our side that is revealing all sorts of amazing things about all life on Earth.  Grapes are no exception and with the cost of analysis dropping quickly it is believed that soon we will be able to afford very detailed analysis at the hobby level.  What an amazing thing to consider from the nineteenth century perspective of the big names in American viticulture: Munson, Hedrick, Jaeger, the Bushbergs, Norton, Prince and others.  They would never have dreamed of the things that be told of an infant vine from a sample of its green tissue.  Here we sit, however, on the edge of great change.

More to come, soon!     - C. Ambers, previously of Chateau Z Vineyard

Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor from near Polk, Ohio, and grown in Virginia.  Not the bicolor leaves (top and bottom sides), huge leaves, thickness, leatheriness, and blue waxy bloom on the leaf undersides.  Many, many more images to come!