Over 60 Maryland Grape growers or potential grape growers met June 12th to hear from the experts and tour a newly planted vineyard owned and managed by Jennie and Hans Schmidt and family.
The field day was organized by the Maryland Grape Growers Association and provided presentations by viticulture specialists and other agricultural agents. Dr. Tony Wolf from Virginia Tech provided detailed recommendations for new vineyards and provided a demonstration tour of the Sudlersville vineyard. Paul Gunther and Dave Myers from the Maryland Cooperative Extension also provided presentations relating to viticulture, integrated pest management, pesticide re-certification and tractor safety. The day was filled with valuable information for anyone exploring the alternative crop of wine grapes and for those already growing grapes.
Association president Bill Rohrer, a Marydel grape grower, is certain that Agriculture's future will involve wine-grape production. "Currently Maryland has 12 wineries and approximately 200 acres of grape production. The Maryland and other Delmarva wineries are forced to buy grapes from farms in Pennsylvania and Virginia because local grapes are not available. The demand is hear and the industry continues to grow. Our neighboring grape-growers in Virginia annually harvest a crop valued between 6 and 7 million dollars."