On Saturday, May 21, the University of Wyoming Extension will offer a one-day educational program on growing grapes in Wyoming, to be held at Central Wyoming College in Lander. Led by UW Extension educator Jeremiah Vardiman, the symposium will provide attendees with the information they need to start their own vineyards as well as a hands-on demonstration at a local vineyard.
Vardiman, a northwest area UW Extension agriculture and horticulturalist educator, says that although the symposium is designed with beginners in mind, “anyone interested in growing grapes, is currently growing grapes, or who wants to expand their knowledge of grapes, is welcome to attend.”
The classroom session will begin at 8 a.m. on Central Wyoming College’s Lander campus, located at 120 Enterprise Boulevard, and will focus on the basics of growing grapes in Wyoming. Featured topics will include site selection and the varieties of grapes best suited to the state’s climate and soils. Lunch, as well as refreshments in the morning and afternoon, is included in the $35 registration fee.
In the afternoon, participants will tour a local vineyard. It’s a great opportunity to take the discussion outdoors and see what growers are doing in the area, says Vardiman. During this session, attendees will learn about planting vines, training and pruning, pest management, harvest timing, and more.
The symposium will wrap up at 5 p.m.
Growing grapes is a new venture in Wyoming, Vardiman explains, but interest is growing. He says it’s feasible to grow grapes in many parts of the state. The main requirement is that the growing season must include a frost-free period.
Currently, vineyards are cultivated in Cheyenne, Torrington and Huntley in the southeast portion of the state; Casper, Riverton and Lander in central Wyoming; and Sheridan and nearby communities in northern Wyoming. Powell and Worland also have climates suitable for grape production.
Funded by a grant from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, the upcoming symposium in Lander is the UW Extension’s second grape-growing workshop this spring.
Vardiman reports the recent two-day vineyard program in Casper was well received. “There was a lot of discussion and positive feedback—people enjoyed the course and learned from it. I’m looking forward to doing more.”
For more information and to register for the event, click here.