Grapes to be topic of educational series this summer - The Buffalo News

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Grapes to be topic of educational series this summer

WESTFIELD – The Grape Discovery Center and the Cornell Lake Erie Regional Grape Program later this month will present a series of programs titled “From Grape Bud to Taste Bud: A Novice Introduction to Grape Production and Viticulture.”

The first program will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. May 17, at the center in Westfield. Other sessions will be scheduled throughout the summer.

The series presenter will be Luke Haggerty, viticulture extension specialist with Cornell University.

Haggerty received his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and joined the team of Cornell and Pennsylvania State University researchers and extension associates last year. He provides educational programs on grape cultural practices to the grape farmers cultivating 30,000 acres of grapes grown in New York and Pennsylvania.

“These workshops are planned for the person who wants to grow some table or wine grapes in their backyard or has a small acreage and wants to gain a greater appreciation of the art and science of grape production,” said Andy Dufresne, a volunteer with the center.

“The first session will be a general introduction to grape species and varieties, contrasting theLabrusca varieties or ‘Concords’ that dominate the Northeast to those of California, other states and Old World varieties around the globe,” Dufresne said.

In the first session, Haggerty will provide an introduction to the “annual life cycle of the grape vine.” Viticulturists track some 20 different stages of annual development in the vineyard. These different stages trigger the proper timing of many management practices. Haggerty will provide an introduction to grape planting, propagation and pruning along with other basic cultural management practices.

Future sessions will focus on disease and pest identification and management as the growing season unfolds. Care and feeding of the vines also will be covered. The final session will get closer to the taste bud as Haggerty discusses multiple grape varieties and harvesting for table and bottle.

The program is free to the public and reservations are requested for planning purposes since space may be limited. Those who are interested are asked to send an email to or call 326-2003

The center is located at 8305 West Main Road (Route 20), one mile west of the village of Westfield.

The exhibits and displays tell the story of more than 150 years of grape growing in the Lake Erie Grape Region. Tastings of pure Concord grape juice and wines from the region are available along with shopping for gifts and local foods and crafts.

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