Enrollment now open for OSU’s 2015 Grape Management Course

Jan 30, 2015

If you have wanted to learn more about grape growing and production, now is your chance.

In an effort to familiarize current and potential grape growers with vital information of what it takes to be a successful grape producer, Oklahoma State University will once again offer its popular Oklahoma Grape Management course, said Becky Carroll, OSU Cooperative Extension assistant specialist, fruit crops and pecans.

“We started offering this course in 2001 and since that time nearly 700 people have gone through the course,” Carroll said. “We’ve seen an increase with just four wineries when we began, to more than 60 wineries across the state today.”

The 2015 Oklahoma Grape Management course will meet one Thursday per month beginning March 5 and continue through Sept. 10. Classes will take place at the Cimarron Valley Research Station near Perkins and each class will meet from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Registration is $250 per person and the course is limited to 70 participants. Preregistration is required and is due by Feb. 25. Registration information can be found online at https://secure.touchnet.com/C20271_ustores/web/index.jsp. Click on the Horticulture/Landscape store, and then select Short Courses and Schools. Click on “2015 Oklahoma Grape Management.” For more information, please contact Stephanie Larimer at 405-744-5404, or email at stephanie.larimer@okstate.edu.

“The interest in growing grapes in Oklahoma has risen steadily over the last several years, and we see this trend continuing,” Carroll said. “Participants really get a great amount of information that’s beneficial to a current business owner or a potential business endeavor.”

The course is designed to cover all aspects of the grape growing industry and is geared toward those who have established their vineyard, as well as those who are still in the planning stage or those who simply want more information.

“This course definitely has something for everyone, from those who have been growing grapes for a while, to those who are just getting started,” she said.

Participants will experience both the classroom learning environment in addition to hands-on experiences during each class. The hands-on lessons will take place in the demonstration vineyard at the Cimarron Valley Research Station.

Carroll said each class will cover a variety of topics such as site selection and vineyard establishment, pruning and training, soils/water, insect and disease management, irrigation, weed control, economics, fertilization, propagation, rootstocks, canopy management, harvest preparation and petiole sampling.

Each meeting correlates time wise with what is actually happening in grape production. For example, the first meeting will encompass information about the dormant vine stage, which is what happens in March.

There are a number of industry professionals, as well as OSU experts, who will be on hand during each of the classes to share their expertise and research-based information.

“Something new we’ve added this year is access to class videos that were recorded during the 2011 and 2013 courses. The videos will be available to class members with password protection,” she said. “This has been made possible through the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Viticulture and Enology grant to film and upload the lectures for those who missed a class or would like to review the lecture. The videos are searchable for specific topics for speakers.”

Because of the growth in the grape industry in Oklahoma, Carroll said OSU researchers believe the industry will continue to have a significant impact on the state’s economy, as well as provide those who are interested with another agricultural outlet.