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Grape-growing workshop set

October 09, 2006

A workshop about growing grapes for wine is being offered Thursday, Oct. 12, at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research and Education Center in Keedysville.

The seminar, part one of a two-part series, will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and provide an overview of what is involved with getting a commercial vineyard started in Maryland. The second workshop, to be offered in the spring of 2007, will discuss the ins and outs of starting a winery.

There has been tremendous interest in wine-grape production throughout Maryland, and there are many locations in the Maryland mountains and Piedmont where high-quality grapes can be grown.

However, successfully establishing a grape vineyard requires keen management and attention to details. New growers can attend this workshop to learn the specifics of vineyard establishment, variety selection and economics.

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Offered in a classroom format, the workshop will present a broad overview of commercial vineyard development from pre-plant planning into the third year, including economics and marketing information; variety, clone and rootstock choices; site selection and preparation; pre-plant decisions; and equipment and supply requirements. The basics of ordering, planting and tending vines through the third year of growth, as well as best practices for training, canopy management and pest management, also will be covered. There will be a vineyard demonstration at the end.

The cost of the workshop is typically $135, but has been reduced to $20 for Maryland residents, thanks to subsidies from the Maryland Wineries Association and Maryland Grape Growers Association via the Governor's Commission on Grapes and Wine. To take advantage of this reduced rate, registration must be received by today. Registration after today or at the door will be $160, if space allows.

For more information, go to www.westernmaryland.umd.edu/viticulture.htm; call 301-432-2767, ext. 315 or 301; or send e-mail to pthomas@umd.edu or cmason@umd.edu.

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