40 episodes

What if you could hang out with experienced grape growers, ask them about the science of grape growing, vineyard operations, and more; then take an insight or two to improve your vineyard and ultimately the quality of the wines you produce? That’s what we do each week on the Vineyard Underground. Hosted by Fritz Westover –– viticulture expert more than 20 years of experience in the vineyard industry –– every episode is an in-depth look at grape growing methods, care, and even complicated matters of fertilization and pest and disease management? The goal is to provide you with an understanding of the complicated aspects of viticulture science so that experienced and even first-time grape growers will be able to understand and implement new practices in their vineyard.

Vineyard Underground Fritz Westover

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 56 Ratings

What if you could hang out with experienced grape growers, ask them about the science of grape growing, vineyard operations, and more; then take an insight or two to improve your vineyard and ultimately the quality of the wines you produce? That’s what we do each week on the Vineyard Underground. Hosted by Fritz Westover –– viticulture expert more than 20 years of experience in the vineyard industry –– every episode is an in-depth look at grape growing methods, care, and even complicated matters of fertilization and pest and disease management? The goal is to provide you with an understanding of the complicated aspects of viticulture science so that experienced and even first-time grape growers will be able to understand and implement new practices in their vineyard.

    039: Effective Vineyard Spraying with Dr. Andrew Landers

    039: Effective Vineyard Spraying with Dr. Andrew Landers

    A common conversation in vineyard management is knowing how to spray your vineyard effectively. On today's episode, we have a conversation with Dr. Andrew Landers, who wrote the book on vineyard spraying. He brings more than 30 years of research and development on vineyard and orchard spraying technologies and techniques to share with us.
    In this episode, we discuss various tools and techniques to get the most out of your equipment and your product. This ranges from backpack sprayers when first starting to the best types of nozzles and how to calibrate your equipment for the most effective-sized droplets. Blasting clouds of spray into the air is a waste of product and something we’d like to leave in our past. Dr. Landers focuses on effectively getting the droplets from the nozzle to the plant and ensuring long-lasting equipment and a well-sprayed vineyard.
    Listen in to learn all about effectively spraying your vineyard and helping your grapes thrive.
    In this episode, you will hear:
    What factors affect an effective spray, and why air blasting is a thing of the past.
    Strategies for optimizing sprayer airflow and coverage.
    The product concentration in the tank versus the actual product rate per acre.
    How to know that the product is hitting the target.
    Difference between a canopy and herbicide nozzle.
    Common mistakes in vineyard spraying
    Sprayer technologies that Dr. Landers thinks have the most potential.
    Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click the ‘+ Follow’ button in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second, and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
    Resources:
    Visit effectivespraying.com to purchase Dr. Andrew Landers’ book Effective Vineyard Spraying or his other books - Effective Orchard Spraying and the Farm Machinery Book.
    If you have questions about today’s episode or other grape growing questions, go to VineyardUndergroundPodcast.com and click the Ask Fritz button. 
    Come grow with Fritz through VirtualViticultureAcademy.com! Save $75 off your first year of membership with the code Underground at checkout.
    Today’s Guest:
    Dr. Andrew Landers is an award-winning researcher and author and currently works as a consultant in precision spray technology. Previously, he directed the application technology program for Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, where he focused on using engineering solutions to provide more effective and safer spraying. 
    Connect with Andrew:
    Website: https://effectivespraying.com/ 
    Email: effectivespraying@gmail.com 
    Episode Sponsor:
    Thank you to our friends at Bahco for their sponsorship of today’s episode. As innovators for more than 165 years, Bahco has introduced the most advanced tools in the world, and Bacho products are manufactured in factories across Europe. I exclusively prune with the Bacho ERGO™ Bypass Secateurs with Elastomer Coated Fixed Handle (size medium).  Visit www.bahco.com/int_en to find a dealer near you to get the best pruning tools on the market, along with hedging tools, tying tools, picking tools, and more.
    Episode Credits
    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com. Let them know we sent you.

    • 49 min
    038: Understanding Pruning Wounds & Protection Options with Dr. Akif Eskalen

    038: Understanding Pruning Wounds & Protection Options with Dr. Akif Eskalen

    Do you understand pruning wounds, infections of pruning wounds, and how to protect your vines? Grapevine pruning is an essential vineyard management practice that helps maintain plant health and fruit quality. However, this practice also exposes vines to various fungal diseases that can be detrimental to vineyard health. It’s important to know how to prevent harm and promote recovery if your vines become infected.
    In this episode, we have a conversation with Dr. Akif Eskalen from the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology on pruning wound protection and the new products available for protecting pruning wounds. Dr. Akif specializes in the identification, biology, epidemiology, and control of fungal pathogens on vines, small fruits, berries, and palm fruits in California. He is also an expert in conventional and biological products that can help your vineyard thrive.
    Listen in for a multitude of tips to protect your vineyard from infections.
    In this episode, you will hear:
    How infections enter vines through pruning wounds. How spores then find their way into pruning wounds and cause infection. If pruning shears are a concern for contaminating a pruning wound. How to deal with the sap flow and protect against reinfection. The synthetic products that work and don’t work. The field of biologicals and alternative products. How the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) works. Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click the ‘+ Follow’ button in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second, and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
    Resources:
    The biologicals mentioned by name in today’s episode are Bio-Tam, Vintec, & Botector.
    If you want to learn more about protecting your pruning wounds, you can check out the FREE grower guide Preventing Grapevine Trunk Diseases available at VirtualViticultureAcademy.com.
    If you have questions about today’s episode or other grape growing questions, go to VineyardUndergroundPodcast.com and click the Ask Fritz button.  
    Come grow with Fritz through VirtualViticultureAcademy.com! Save $75 off your first year of membership with the code Underground at checkout.
    Today’s Guest:
    Dr. Akif Eskalen is a plant pathologist with UC Davis specializing in the identification, biology, epidemiology, and control of fungal pathogens on vines, small fruits and berries, and pome fruits in California.
    Connect with Akif:
    Research Website: https://ucanr.edu/sites/eskalenlab/ Fruit Crop Fungicide Efficacy Trials: https://ucanr.edu/sites/eskalenlab/Fruit_Crop_Fungicide_Trials/ Email: aeskalen@ucdavis.edu Episode Credits
    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com. Let them know we sent you.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Unique or Alternative Pruning Methods with John Thull and Marco Tessari

    Unique or Alternative Pruning Methods with John Thull and Marco Tessari

    In today's episode, we are talking about unique or alternative pruning scenarios and methods with guests John Thull and Marco Tessari. We discuss viticulture for cold climates, unique pruning techniques from around the globe, and more. John has a degree in biology with a plant focus and spent time in Germany doing an apprenticeship. He now lives in Minnesota, where the temperatures can get well below freezing, and specializes in grape breeding and enology, with a focus on cold-climate grapes and wine. Marco is from Italy and is back on the episode for the second time to discuss two unusual pruning techniques: the Sylvoz and Cazenave methods.
    Listen in as we talk about these non-traditional vineyard pruning techniques.
    In this episode, you will hear:
    How John pioneered cold-hardy grapes at the University of Minnesota that can withstand extreme winter temperatures.
    What techniques, such as 'insurance buds' and 'spare parts pruning' are.
    The unique pruning methods for maintaining vine health and grape quality in cold climates.
    Global variations in vine pruning practices from Marco.
    Vineyard management challenges in cold climates.
    Descriptions of the Sylvoz and Cazenave pruning techniques.
    Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click the ‘+ Follow’ button in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second, and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
    Resources:
    Register for Fritz’s free live virtual learning event, Vine Pruning Strategies That Most Growers are Missing, happening on Monday, February 5th at 6 PM CST.
    Get Fritz’s Young Vine Training & Vineyard Innovations video course covering bonus canes and spurs and some other unique pruning scenarios.  This member-only content is available to podcast listeners through March 31st.
    The pruning methods that Marco describes are the Sylvoz and Cazenave techniques.
    Come grow with Fritz through VirtualViticultureAcademy.com! Save $75 off your first year of membership with the code Underground at checkout.
    If you have questions about today’s episode or other grape growing questions, go to VineyardUndergroundPodcast.com and click the Ask Fritz button. 
    Today’s Guest:
    John Thull is a researcher at the University of Minnesota. John specializes in Grape Breeding and Enology with a focus on cold climate grapes and wine. 
    Connect with John - Website | Email | Instagram
    Marco Tessari is an international pruning expert based out of Montebelluna, Italy. Marco works with vineyards all over the world in person and virtually and is revolutionizing the art and science of vineyard pruning. 
    Connect with Marco – Email
    Episode Sponsor:
    Thank you to our friends at Bahco for their sponsorship of today’s episode. As innovators for more than 165 years, Bahco has introduced the most advanced tools in the world, and Bacho products are manufactured in factories across Europe. I exclusively prune with the Bacho ERGO™ Bypass Secateurs with Elastomer Coated Fixed Handle (size medium).  Visit https://www.bahco.com/int_en/ to find a dealer near you to get the best pruning tools on the market, along with hedging tools, tying tools, picking tools, and more.
    Episode Credits
    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com. Let them know we sent you.

    • 1 hr
    Pruning & Training Vinifera for Harsh Winter Survival with Joe Juniper

    Pruning & Training Vinifera for Harsh Winter Survival with Joe Juniper

    Happy New Year! In this episode, we welcome Joe Juniper of Vermillion Valley Vineyards, the second-largest vineyard in Ohio. In close proximity to Lake Erie, Joe is with us to discuss what it is like to grow vinifera in an area with very harsh winters. Joe has become an expert in managing extreme temperatures and precipitation variances, including mastering innovative cold pruning practices.
    Growers in northern climates typically grow cold-specific, hardy hybrids, but through some unique practices, Joe has mastered growing vinifera in a harsh winter climate. He may have some nice days to ripen vinifera during the season, but you won’t find how to survive the winters in vine training textbooks.
    Listen in as Joe shares some of his cold-weather pruning and vine training practices with us.
    In this episode, you will hear:
    Joe’s concept for vine pruning and how it differs in his location.
    The “bonus cane pruning system” and “spare parts viticulture.” 
    Strategies for vineyard design to prevent disease and promote vine health.
    The importance of bud count and spur positioning for ideal fruit yields.
    The differences between spur pruning and cane pruning.
    Pre-pruning practices to protect vines from winter damage.
    Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click the ‘+ Follow’ button in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
    Resources:
    Register for Fritz’s free live virtual learning event, Vine Pruning Strategies That Most Growers are Missing, happening on Monday, February 5th at 6 PM CST.
    Get Fritz’s Young Vine Training & Vineyard Innovations video course covering bonus canes and spurs and some other unique pruning scenarios. This member-only content is available to podcast listeners through March 31st.
    If you have questions about today’s episode or other grape growing questions, go to VineyardUndergroundPodcast.com and click the Ask Fritz button. 
    Come grow with Fritz through VirtualViticultureAcademy.com! Save $75 off your first year of membership with the code Underground at checkout.
    Today’s Guest:
    Joe Juniper is the co-owner and winemaker at Vermillion Valley Vineyards in Vermillion, Ohio.

    Connect with Joe - Website | Facebook | Instagram
    Episode Credits
    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com. Let them know we sent you.

    • 48 min
    Grower Questions Answered #3

    Grower Questions Answered #3

    We are closing out the year with a grower Q&A episode! In this episode, Fritz is answering questions from growers all across the country on topics ranging from pre-pruning to disease prevention for 2024 and all things in between.
    Listen in, as you may have had some of these same questions in your vineyard, and stay tuned for more grower Q&A episodes in the future!
    In this episode, you will hear:
    How much pre-pruning can I do before the final pruning, and how early can I get started with that pre-pruning?
    When/how do you recommend applying pre-bud burst sprays of products like sulfuric acid or lime sulfur to knock down disease inoculum?
    What are your suggestions for fungicides besides Topsin M for vine cuts and wounds?
    Is it better to do a diagonal cut through your canes or a blunt square cut? 
    What causes flat or bullwood to form in my grapes?
    Fritz’s recommended vine disease handbook.
    What can I do to prevent Pierce's disease in my Vitis vinifera vines?
    Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click the ‘+ Follow’ button in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
    Resources:
    If you have questions about today’s episode or other grape growing questions, go to VineyardUndergroundPodcast.com and click the Ask Fritz button. 
    Come grow with Fritz through VirtualViticultureAcademy.com! Save $75 off your first year of membership with the code Underground at checkout.
    Episode Sponsor:
    Thank you to our friends over at SensorInsight for their sponsorship of today’s episode. SensorInsight provides actionable information for your vineyard operations. Their mobile app and dashboard visualizations provide irrigation, weather, and soil moisture analytics from your sensor systems. Visit them today at https://sensorinsight.io. And don’t forget to mention the code Underground to receive a discount on your SensorInsight solution.
    Episode Credits
    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com. Let them know we sent you.

    • 30 min
    Why Sustainability Certification Programs for Vineyards Matter – with Beth Vukmanic

    Why Sustainability Certification Programs for Vineyards Matter – with Beth Vukmanic

    Have you considered having your grape growing operation sustainably certified? In this episode, I have a conversation with Beth Vukmanic from the Vineyard Team on the impact and importance of sustainability certification programs for vineyards. Beth spent 12 years overseeing the Vineyard Team's Sustainability in Practice (SIP) certification program and now serves as the executive director of the Vineyard Team.
    As it turns out, there are many benefits to having a SIP certification. These benefits range from having a positive environmental impact, access to different storefronts, better marketability, and increased financial benefits. The sustainability program has certified 47,000 vineyard acres, primarily in California but also in Oregon and Michigan as well as five wineries. Over 60 million bottles of wine have been produced in compliance with sustainability standards. 
    Listen in to learn how SIP started, where it has evolved to today, and how it is impacting vineyards on the West Coast and beyond.
    In this episode, you will hear:
    Background of the Vineyard Team and how it has evolved.
    What sustainability in agriculture is.
    What the SIP certification is and why it’s important.
    The importance of accountability and consistency in vineyard management.
    Where the SIP certification has evolved to today.
    The impact of a sustainability program on a winery.
    Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click the ‘+ Follow’ button in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
    SIP Certification Resources:
    https://www.sipcertified.org/info-hub/marketing-tips/details/business-niner-wine-estates/
    SIP Certified Database – get certified or take the free self-assessment: https://app.sipcertified.org/ 
    SIP Certified Newsletter: https://www.sipcertified.org/mailing-list/ 
    Sustainable Ag Expo: https://www.sustainableagexpo.org/ 
    Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast: https://www.vineyardteam.org/podcast/?id=1059 
    If you have questions about today’s episode or other grape growing questions, go to VineyardUndergroundPodcast.com and click the Ask Fritz button.  
    Come grow with Fritz through VirtualViticultureAcademy.com! Save $75 off your first year of membership with the code Underground at checkout.
    Today’s Guest:
    Beth Vukmanic is an expert in vineyard sustainability and serves as the Executive Director for the Vineyard Team in California. 
    Connect with Beth:
    Website: https://www.vineyardteam.org/ 
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thevineyardteam 
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thevineyardteam/ 
    Podcast: https://www.vineyardteam.org/podcast/ 
    Episode Sponsor:
    Thank you to our friends over at SensorInsight for their sponsorship of today’s episode. SensorInsight provides actionable information for your vineyard operations. Their mobile app and dashboard visualizations provide irrigation, weather, and soil moisture analytics from your sensor systems. Visit them today at https://sensorinsight.io. And don’t forget to mention the code Underground to receive a discount on your SensorInsight solution.
    Episode Credits
    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com. Let them know we sent you.

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
56 Ratings

56 Ratings

John Doe0113 ,

Makes grape growing information easy to understand and apply in the field.

Fritz has a knack for cutting through the scientific lingo. He breaks down the issues, techniques, and current research data of grape growing into easily digestible and usable information. Keep up the great work!!

Cheramie A ,

Good info!

Good info Fitz!

Mike@Longhorn ,

Thanks again Fritz

Fritz has been my go to vineyard guru for many years. What a wonderful new avenue to pass along to many the current science of viticulture and you wisdom and experience. Thank you Fritz for all your tutoring both electronic and live in person.

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