by Lisa Tome
Cecil's vineyard industry is growing like grapes on a vine.
But finding people with the training to nurture the grapes can be a challenge. Doris Behnke owns a vineyard near North East. "We have four vineyards (in the county). It's a growing industry and we need vineyard workers," said Behnke.
She said it's a specialized field and is working to reach out to those, such as Cecil's School of Technology, which could potentially train these workers. "We need people who know how to rub buds off the trunk to provide good canopy development," she said. There are other techniques - chute tucking to promote sun exposure, keeping mold off, thinning grape clusters, canopy management, and harvesting that also need to be learned.
"It's very time consuming. It's not technical but you have to do a lot in a short period of time. The grapes are not going to wait," said Behnke. "You can't fall behind with it." Chateau Bu-De is the newest of them of Cecil's vineyards. That is joining the existing vineyards Dove Valley near Rising Sun, Elk Manor, and Turkey Point Vineyard. Turkey Point Vineyard has a tasting room in downtown North East. There are opportunities for expansion.
The University of Maryland Extension - Cecil County- is hosting a Round Table Discussion to address questions and needs of those interested or currently involved in some capacity in this field.
This Round Table will include all interest levels, and will help develop an educational/training series on Vineyard Management which will be provided by University of Maryland Extension - Cecil County.
If you are interested in participating in the Round Table, please call Doris Behnke at University of Maryland Extension - Cecil County at 410-996-5280.
This information will be used to contact you this year to set up the initial date and time for the Round Table Discussion. This initial meeting will help to guide the Round Table Discussion group to determine the dates/times and educational training/workshops that will be offered.