Spent the this past Friday on the back of the John Deere, going back and forth and back and forth across a field. This wasn’t because I was bored, nor was it because I was just looking for something to do. You see I have this soft spot for a lovely little French Hybrid, that I want to plant, grow and make wine, to share with all of you.

So in order to plant next spring, you start to prep the ground at the very least the  fall before. Ideally if you have all the time in the world, you would prep a year or more in advance. This way you could plow it in the fall. Disc it the next spring. Cultivate to get rid of the weeds and trash. (Trash is basically the dead weeds and grasses.) Grow a cover crop to smother the weeds that are always growing. Cut the cover crop and plow it under to increase the organic matter. Then repeat the whole process as many times as possible before you plant your vines. In my case, because I have a day job, I have to squeeze things in when I can, and this sometimes means leaving things till the very last minute. So I must say thank you for a mild and relatively dry week before the winter solstice.

Now that the field is plowed, the winter snow, and the freeze and thaw cycles will break down the furrows. Then come the spring I can run over the field with the disc, and hopefully if there is time the cultivator a few times and get it ready for you guys to come out and help me plant some vines. That’s right, you guys can come and help plant vines. RSVP to wine@threedogwine.com.

Back to that lovely little French Hybrid. The one that I fell in love with many years ago is Kuhlmann 188-2. Most of you probably know it as Marechal Foch (pronounced “mar-esh-shall-fosh”). Us lovers of the little grape just call Foch. Foch was bred in the Alsace region of France, by Eugene Kuhlmann (1858-1932).  Basically it a cross of Millardet et DeGrasset 101-14 x Goldriesling. Although one reference, (The Brooks and Olmo Register of Fruit & Nut Varieties. Third Edition. 1997) states that it could be a hybrid of  Oberlin 595 x Pinot Noir. That could explain my love affair with it, because it shares that same earthy/gaminess that Pinot has. That wonderful stick your nose in the glass and get a snoot full of some wonderfully delicious and different every time.

Foch is a great grape to grow in Ontario. It is hardy to -30 Celsius, ripens by the end of September or early October, even in cold crappy summers. That said there is very few wineries producing Foch in Prince Edward County or even Ontario. Sandbanks Winery and Malivoire are really the only 2 producing it regularly. BC seems to have more producers, Quails Gate is where I was introduced and fell in love with it. If you can get your hands on the Family Reserve Old Vines Foch, I guarantee you will love it.


Again we look forward to seeing you out, getting your hands dirty helping us plant a few vines. We are planning on June 8, 2013 for the planting party. Please rsvp towine@threedogwine.com.

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