Vine clinic: Causes of shatter.

Shatter (millerandage).

Shatter (millerandage).

Presenting Symptom:

My Montepulciano vines are showing a good amount of shatter.

There are some concomitant findings: The Montepulciano is in the middle of a fulminant Powdery Mildew infection. There is also some leaf discoloration that appeared after my initial sulfur spraying.

Pertinent Past History:

I had been holding off on water to control vigor (I know, I know… it was a dry winter…). I also skipped the soil amendments last year. In part, this was because I had a brutal year at home and in part because I felt I may have overdone it the previous year. In 2010, I had a soil analysis done. Results are here (upper block is where the Montepulciano is planted).

Unfortunately, helping care for a senile (and declining) grandmother and taking care of a 10 month-old infant during the day (on top of that pesky day job) tends to put a monkey wrench in the vigneorn lifestyle. The first spraying was on May 16th – before bloom was over. My second spraying was on June 3rd.

By then, the PM exploded. Interestingly, while Montepulciano is supposed to be more resistant to PM, but it is much more heavily affected this year.

Physical Examination:

Sulfur burn or mineral deficiency?

Sulfur burn or mineral deficiency?

Powdery Mildew or Sulfur burn?

Powdery Mildew or Sulfur burn?

Shatter. Cause: a) water deficit, b) Powdery Mildew, c) Sulfur Burn?

Shatter. Cause: a) water deficit, b) Powdery Mildew, c) Sulfur Burn?

Differential Diagnosis:

Which of the following is most likely the cause of the shatter (millerandage)?

  • A) Water deficiency
  • B) Powdery mildew
  • C) Sulfur burn (spraying before fruit set)
  • D) Other – please elaborate.


Father, husband, physician, amateur guitarist, wine lover, wine writer, wine grower and wine maker trying to do it all within eye shot of downtown Los Angeles.
This entry was posted in Vine Clinic. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Vine clinic: Causes of shatter.

  1. Pingback: Good Reads Wednesday « Artisan Family of Wines

  2. Hey Arthur, I found your site because I was rolling with laughter on your comments on the Steve Heimhoff blog. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with causes of shatter…

    Have you talked with anyone at Carol Shelton or other local peers?

    Here is some motivation:

    • SUAMW says:

      Thanks. Which comments would those be?

      • “I hear Nicki Minaj buys Fiano by the truckloads….”

        • SUAMW says:

          Ah, yes. She COULD help the SJV vintners that way. It could be the break grapes like Fiano need.

          What ¡Steve! misses is that the central valley wines need better cepage. The best wines from there are proprietary, branded blends that are not varietally labelled. The idea is to make “California” labelled wines that are tastier and more distinctive in a good way (not that ¡Steve! can tell the difference, anyway) than the oceans of Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah being made there now. Gallo’s Hearty Burgundy is a prime example. It has no Pinot Noir in it. It’s based on Ruby Cabernet and is a tasty wine. It has some good aromas and flavors unlike the tired, oreverripe, overwrought tasting varietally labelled wines I mentioned above.

          We’re talking about wines that would be everyday table wines that could sell overseas. After the exchange rate and local tariffs, these coastal, varietal wines are pricey for the average Polish or Taiwanese wine consumer. Gallo and such already export what we consider bargain, bottom shelf supermarket wines. The idea, I suspect is to make these wines better and more appealing to domestic and export markets.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s