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January 23, 2007


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Ryan F

Greetings Tom! It has been abnormally cold of late. Your ice sculpture is really quite amazing, thank godness your vines can sustain the weather. One question, what do you think would happen to your vines if it dropped below 10 degrees F?


Hey Ryan old buddy

The question about "winter kill" is, fortunately, something we don't have to deal with. At temps under 10, the vine tissue dies back depending on how long and how cold. They can bounce back if there's live tissue (don't get me started on "A Walk in the Clouds") but it would require retraining, etc. In regions where they plan on some winter kill, they actually train the vine trunks low and then bury them with dirt, then pull the dirt away when it warms up. Life on the fringe. (fridge? sorry)

Ryan F

Interesting...do you think the vine dies because the water in the xylem freezes and fails to make it to the needed tissue for photosynthesis/glycolysis/other plant metabolic pathways. If that is the case, warming the area surrounding the rootstock would theoretically combat "winter kill." I dont know though, i studied human physiology, not plant biology (even though it is incredibly interesting) ; )

Thank god this is the coldest time of the year. I have a feeling Spring is right around the corner.

Ryan F

Just submitted this post to wine life today. Everyone should vote it up to the homepage...



On "winter kill," ya got me on that one. My UCDavis days are way back there but I don't think anyone actually explained the reasons the tissue dies. With your human physiology background may have a clue, actually, because I get the sense that it's much like frostbite. I think the cells die, possibly trouble with the mitochondria or osmotic pressure in the cell walls? Hope I never have to know first-hand.

Reminds me that I should blog about the UC Davis vine and wine program sometime. Look for a post "so ya wanna be a winemaker?"

Ryan F

That sounds great Tom, do you have an RSS feed for your blog. I would definitely sign up...

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