If you own a vineyard, want to start growing grapes, or enjoy Oklahoma wine tours and want to learn more about the winemaking process, consider attending OSU’s 2023 Grape Management Course. The course will have one class every month from March through September.
The Grape Management Course is presented by Aaron Essary, the Assistant Extension Specialist of Viticulture and Enology at OSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. He and various special presenters will advise current and potential grape growers on management requirements throughout the growing season.
The course will include discussions, practical exercises, and the opportunity to travel Oklahoma vineyards and wineries. In addition to gaining valuable knowledge and skills, participants will receive a handbook of Oklahoma vineyard establishment and management, a pocket guide to common grape pests in Oklahoma, networking opportunities with other growers, and a certificate of course completion.
The registration deadline is February 17, 2023, and it is limited to the first 50 registrants. You can register for the 2023 Grape Management Course on the OSU Extension website.
Grape Management Course Outline
While monthly topics and dates are subject to change, the course will provide a general overview of what occurs at a vineyard during each stage of the grape-growing process.
Class 1: Thursday, March 2
Participants will focus on what to do at a vineyard when the vines are dormant. This class includes a management overview, information on selecting the best site and establishing your vineyard, and an introduction to pruning. You will also learn how to manage diseases and assess injuries to your plants that occurred during the winter.
Class 2: Thursday, April 6
This class will focus on the bud burst vine stage. It will begin with a discussion of the prominent grape species, cultivars, and rootstocks in Oklahoma. Participants will discuss mesonet tools, proper sprayer calibration, and how to select and construct trellises. There will also be training on how to plant grapes.
Class 3: Thursday, May 11
Participants will focus on a vineyard’s pre-bloom activities. This class includes grapevine training, canopy management, and how to evaluate soil and water quality. You will also learn how to manage insects. It will include helpful budget tips and economic advice to help your vineyard thrive.
Class 4: Thursday, June 8
This class focuses on the vine’s mid-season. Participants will discuss proper methods for grapevine irrigation and fertilization. You will also learn about petiole sampling, weed management, and the table grapes and muscadines that are prominent in Oklahoma.
Class 5: Thursday, July 13
You will learn what to do during veraison – the stage where grapes start to ripen. For this class, you will prepare for harvest, discuss business plans, and learn the best way to market your vineyard and grapes. You will also experience part of the Oklahoma wine trails by visiting a winery.
Class 6: Thursday, August 10
This class covers what to expect during harvest. You will learn about diagnostic labs, pesticide sensitivity, pesticide applicator licensing, and essential considerations for fall and winter. Participants will also discuss sensory evaluation, which can make Oklahoma wine tours even more enjoyable.
Class 7: Thursday, September 14
During the final class, you will learn about what happens during the postharvest season. This phase will teach you about winery operations. You will also take a course evaluation. To gain even more in-person experience, participants will travel Oklahoma vineyards and wineries.
Travel Oklahoma Wine Trails
The Oklahoma Grape Industry Council is here to promote education and build a strong community throughout our industry. Please visit our events page or sign up for our newsletter to learn about upcoming events.