MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Grapes have been susceptible to herbicide risks this growing season, they have also been at risk of fungal mold due to the increased moisture.
In the vineyard at the North Central Research Extension Center, it’s time to harvest grapes.
Harvesting began at the end of August, and the goal is to finish before the first frost date in a few weeks.
“It’s pretty close to normal time. We started out really late this year with the cold and with the ice storm, but then we had all at that heat in the end of August and the beginning of September that really pushed things along,” said Chris Asmundson, an ag research tech.
Although the grapes had a few concerns this growing season, Asmundson says the yield will be decent.
“It’s looking really good. My clusters are a little bigger than average, but the berries are a little smaller than average because they were in such a hurry once the temperatures rose. But all in all, it’s pretty average,” said Asmundson.
Now that the grapes are ripe, there are some new risks.
“I had a flock of about 40 turkeys in here last week. And they can pick off quite a few because they can land on top and then they’ll jump up from the bottom. Woodpeckers, robins, wasps are a big one too,” said Asmundson.
Growing grapes at home in North Dakota is possible.
As long as you choose a variety that can withstand the state’s weather.
And if you do grow your own grapes, there is something you need to have, to know when your grapes are ready to be harvested.
“The best thing you can get is a refractometer. You can get them for $20 on Amazon and what it does is it measures the sugar levels in your grapes. A lot of people pick them too early. When grapes turn red, they’ve still got between two weeks to a month before they’re ready. You’ve got to wait for the sugars to develop and the acid to go down,” said Asmundson.
She says she wants grape growers to remember even if they’re red, that doesn’t mean they’re ripe.
Asmundson says if someone wants to start growing their own grapevines, they should talk to someone who has grown grapes and do some research.