Vineyard Visits and Education Session

Friday, June 7, 2024

 Hello Readers!

I hope you enjoyed the Apple Blossom festivities. It was my first one, and it was a lovely way to welcome springtime. A big congratulations goes out to GGANS for being awarded 2nd place for their float creativity!

I was told that it invariably rains each year, and as predicted, rain did make an appearance. I am sure however, that our growers welcomed the precipitation. As you are probably already aware, it has been a much drier season than the historical average.

Going forward, I will be providing weekly precipitation and GDD updates. The tables are included at the bottom of this post for your reference.

What are we seeing on site currently in terms of growth stage?

·       5-7 leaves separated for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay.

·       6-8 leaves separated for L’Acadie, Frontenac, NY Muscat.

·       8-9 leaves for Marquette.

*Please remember that these observations are site dependent.

Are we behind or ahead?

  Most growers are at the tail end of tying down if not already finished, and looking at following up with a spray within this week or the next- weather dependent.

Pests and Disease:

Some growers- depending on the variety are seeing signs of Phylloxera and Erineum mite. While out for my growth stage observations, I have come across Erineum Mite in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir myself.  

Crown Gall, as most of you are familiar, is an ongoing concern as is Downy Mildew which overwintered from last year.


Be sure to spray and achieve good coverage in every row in the early part of the season. As the vine continues to grow, new growth will not be covered, so make sure to watch the weather and respond accordingly.

Upcoming Visits:

With Lisa and Kevin, we visited the Malagash area two weeks ago, and will be making our way to the Bear River area mid June. Thank you all very much for your emails and communications; I may take a few days to respond but rest assured that my goal is to meet you in person over the next couple of months.


Through the OFCAF initiative, we will be hosting a Cover Crop information session on Wednesday, July 24th.

We have several speakers lined up to speak to the subject from varying perspectives:

Organics, Conventional, Cover Cropping through the eyes of a specialist, and cover crops in annual systems.  The discussion will be followed by a networking session. I understand that for some of our growers, this may be quite a long drive, so we will be live streaming the session for everyone’s participation.

I will be announcing the speakers closer to the date of the event. We can all meet and chat in person.  

Date: Wednesday, July 24th.

Time: 5-7:30pm.

Venue: Benjamin Bridge Estate Winery.


Thank you all again for your time this week, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Please be sure to check out the weather and GDD updates below.





Growing degree days, base of 10 °C starting on April 1

Current Year

10-Year Average



A table with numbers and a number of months

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Table 1: Monthly Precipitation.                                                                      Table 2: GDD.

*Up to June 3, 2024          


* Growing degree days, calculated using the average method, and Sine degree days up to June 3. All data are taken from the Environment and Climate Change Canada weather station located at the Kentville Research and Development Centre.

News and Webinar Links

Monday, May 27, 2024


Hi Dear Readers!

Spring is definitely upon us, and I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather. Thank you for attending the most recent webinars. They are posted on the Perennia You Tube channel along with the PDFs from each session. The links are provided below. You are welcome to refer to all the content at your convenience.

There were a couple of questions about critical temperature that came up at the Spring Frost webinar session that I would like to address as I feel they are worth additional the attention.

A question was asked about how long tissue needs to be exposed to freezing temperatures for injury to occur. Some literature suggested 30 minutes or less below 0 degrees, but this is highly variable. There are many factors that influence tissue injury. We know that ambient air  temperature at  0˚ C or cooler  may last for several hours. The longer the exposure to those temperatures, the higher the likelihood that the buds or leaves (actively growing tissue) may be damaged. It is advisable to have a plan in place to mitigate potential frost injury as we are never fully sure how long the cold event may last.

If your site is prone to frost and you have the ability to utilize wind machines, you should start them before temperature reaches  0˚ C. To have the machines effectively utilize an inversion layer, most growers would start the machine at 3 or 4 ˚ C. 

The idea is to mitigate the threat instead of reacting to it once it begins.  Machines do not have to run once the ambient air temperatures reach above freezing. In most cases this is around 90 minutes after sunrise. The coldest time of night is actually just before sunrise, so keep that in mind. You are likely to have a sleepless night, but accurately monitoring the air temperature as it declines then rises in the morning makes for the most effective use of wind machines.  

As always, we encourage you to keep records of cold events, their duration, severity, vine growth stage, cultivar differences, amount of injury observed and if there are damage differences based on location in your vineyard. These will inform your viticultural decisions for the future.


News to share:

·       We have started to document vine growth stages at several sites and will continue to do for the foreseeable future. Gathering this data will provide us with a historical record and become an additional tool with which to provide sound advice for the advancement of the industry.

·       Dr. Kevin Ker will be visiting in June, so we will be on the road again meeting many more growers. 

Please refer to the following links for the recorded presentations and a PDF format of the slides.

Thank you for your time, and enjoy the week ahead.



Viticulture Specialist
Perennia Food and Agriculture
Office 902-678-7722

Cell 902-599-1390

Do I Scout a New Viticulture Specialist at Perennia?

Thursday, April 25, 2024

 Hello Dear Readers!

Thank you all for the warm welcome and introduction at the GGANS Annual General Meeting. I am very excited to be here, and look forward to seeing, working with you and contributing my knowledge and skills to this vibrant industry.

To briefly introduce myself- I just relocated from BC where I worked at Cedar Creek Estate Winery and later taught at the UBC Okanagan Campus. I hold an MSc in Viticulture, Oenology and Business from the University of Bordeaux Science Agro and the WSET Diploma level 4. My employment background includes sales, marketing, import and of course vineyard and winery work in Canada and abroad. These experiences have enabled me to engage with and understand the industry from various perspectives and bring a holistic approach to help the growers achieve their viticultural goals.

What have I observed thus far?

The Nova Scotia grape and wine industry is built on the commitment and hard work of its members. Despite recent challenges, there exists a strong bond within the community driving collaborative efforts to overcome obstacles and promote growth within the sector.

What can you expect from me?

We visited several farms recently with Dr. Kevin Ker and Lisa Harkness and will be visiting more in the coming weeks and months. I am a very “hands on” person, I encourage in-person interactions and collaborations, so expect to see more visits, vineyard demonstrations, guest speakers and webinars covering topics relevant and tailored to the local industry. For your convenience, fact sheets, recorded webinars and presentation pdfs will be posted here: Grapes – Perennia.

As we look to the future, I will do my best to be your source of information for all things vine related. If I cannot answer your questions, I will try to find a solution, or guide you in the right direction. Dr. Kevin Ker and Lisa Harkness will remain on hand for support.

To begin, we will have two webinars:

Grape Pest Scouting Basics: 6 May 2024 at 12:00-13:30

Register here: Grape Pest Scouting Basics – Perennia

Frost Protection for Grapes: 13 May 2024 at 12:00-13:30

Register here: Frost Protection for Grapes – Perennia

Thank you again for your warm welcome, and I look forward to working with you, and seeing you at the upcoming events and webinars. Feel free to contact me at the contact details below.


Office: 902-678-7722
Cell: 902-599-1390

Now Available: Perennia's New Online Pest Guide Tool

Monday, April 15, 2024

We are excited to introduce Perennia’s online pest management guide tool. With this new tool, you will be able to access relevant and up-to-date information about pesticide options in an easy-to-use way. This interactive tool is searchable and will help you save time and improve decision making when selecting pest management products. Organized in tables, these guides can be printed and can be accessed in a way that works best for you.

Access the tool on our website where you will also find a tutorial video and how-to-use guide.

Tree fruit growers will benefit from new features, such as:

  • New columns specifying product re-entry intervals for hand thinning, maximum applications per season, and application interval
  • A new column called 'status' to report product registration changes
  • All conventional and organic products are listed by default so that biological products may be considered in conventional situations where appropriate
  • New ability to filter and search to quickly find answers to your questions
  • Feature to sort the table results based on categories of interest (REI, PHI, etc)
  • The cherry guides are now combined for sweet and sour cherries

Viticulture Webinars March 2024 - Recorded Videos and Presentations

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The series of viticulture webinars held in March 2024 can now be viewed on Perennia's YouTube channel, and copies of the PowerPoint Presentations can be accessed on the Perennia website.

Perennia's YouTube channel

Recorded Video Links:

Grape Nutrition: Making Sense of Soil and Tissue Analyses (March 11, 2024)

Vineyard Weed Management (March 18, 2024)

Early Season Vineyard Pest Management (March 25, 2024)

PowerPoint Presentations Pathway: > Agriculture > Production Information > Fruit Crops > Grapes > Viticulture 2024 Webinar Presentations

AAFC Bud Hardiness Report 5 Season 2023-2024

Thursday, April 4, 2024

This is the 5th and final bud hardiness report of the 2023-2024 dormancy season, prepared by Jeff Franklin and Dr. Harrison Wright at AAFC.  You can find the information below. 

Perennia Website Pathway: > Agriculture > Production Information > Fruit Crops > Grapes > AAFC Bud Hardiness

A New Growing Season Begins

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Last Saturday, March 9 we were fortunate to have great weather for the 2024 Grape Pruning Workshop.  Together, Dr. Kevin Ker, Perennia's Viticulture Consultant, and Steve Ells, President of GGANS, demonstrated different types of pruning methods for a variety of hybrid and vinifera cultivars.  Special focus was placed on learning how to deal with vineyard pruning challenges as a result of the Polar Vortex, for example, pruning for recovery and reestablishment of vines and training systems.  Thanks to everyone who attended to make this a successful event, and to Ellslea Farms Ltd. and Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards for hosting us.  We hope you took away some valuable information you can use in your vineyards.

Ellslea Farms Ltd.
Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards
Dr. Kevin Ker, Perennia's Viticulture Consultant and Steve Ells, President of GGANS
tag teaming a pruning demo in a vinifera block.

Best of luck to everyone pruning, as a new growing season begins!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Perennia Viticulture Team.

AAFC Bud Hardiness Report 4 Season 2023-2024

Friday, February 23, 2024

This is the 4th bud hardiness report of the 2023-2024 season, prepared by Jeff Franklin and Dr. Harrison Wright at AAFC.  You can find the information below. 

Perennia Website Pathway: > Agriculture > Production Information > Fruit Crops > Grapes > AAFC Bud Hardiness

Viticulture Events in March 2024

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Grape Pruning Workshop

Saturday, March 9
9:00 AM - 2:45 PM

Session One: Pruning Hybrids
9:00 AM - 11:30 AM Ellslea Farms Ltd. (925 Bains Rd, Canning, NS, B0P 1H0)

Session Two: Pruning Vinifera
1:00 PM - 2:45 PM Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards (11143 Evangeline Trail, Wolfville, NS B4P 2R1)

Join Perennia and the Grape Growers Association of Nova Scotia for a hands-on grape pruning workshop on Saturday, March 9!  At two sessions during the day, attendees will learn to prune hybrid cultivars (Session One) and vinifera cultivars (Session Two) and deal with the aftermath of the 2023 Polar Vortex. 

Please bring your own pruners, as this is a hands-on practical workshop. 
Lunch will not be provided. 

CEU's are available for this session. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday Webinar Series

Vineyard Nutrition 2024 - Soil and Tissue Sampling and Interpreting the Results for Nova Scotia
Monday, March 11, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Join Perennia’s Soil Specialist, Caitlin McCavour and Perennia’s Viticulture Consultant, Dr. Kevin Ker, on March 11 for a virtual session on vineyard nutrition.  Topics for this session include how to take proper soil samples and interpret the Nova Scotia soil test report, as well as how to interpret tissue sample results for Nova Scotia. Participants will have access to factsheets on general soil sampling and soil report interpretation and an updated version for petiole results to reflect Nova Scotia soils and target values applicable to Nova Scotia conditions.

CEU's are available for this session. 

Early Season Vineyard Weed Management 
Monday, March 18, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Join Perennia’s Berry Specialist, Sonny Murray and Perennia’s Viticulture Consultant, Dr. Kevin Ker, on March 11 for a virtual session on early season vineyard weed management. Topics for this session include reasons for good weed control, herbicide rate calculations, understanding herbicide labels, product choices and weed species controlled, optimum timing of herbicide use, dealing with new vineyard establishment, young vines and established vineyards (including interplanted vineyards). 

CEU's and Pesticide CEP's are available for this session.

Early Season Vineyard Pest Management
Monday, March 25, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Join Perennia’s Viticulture Consultant, Dr. Kevin Ker, on March 25 for a virtual session on early season vineyard pest management. Topics for this session include a review of early season pests when they are first active (identifying activity with vine growth stage) and timing of control along with product selection, and resistance management strategies. Product choices will include registered materials along with organically approved options. A summary chart of pest activity will be part of the presentation. 

CEU's and Pesticide CEP's are available for this session.


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Perennia Viticulture Events happening in March 

Stay tuned for details!!!

Lecture Series: The Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) 

Taking place weekly on Wednesdays at 3:00 PM (AST).  Please take note of the three lectures highlighted below.  Click on the link to view the full lecture series and how to join virtually:

CCOVI Lecture Series – Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (

The Nova Scotia Grape and Wine Industry – After the Polar Vortex February 2023
Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Kevin Ker, CCOVI Research Associate, Brock University

The Importance of Clean Plant Program for Grapevines
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
Sudarsana Poojari, CCOVI Principal Scientist, Grapevine Virology

Understanding Vitis Vinifera Cold Hardiness in Ontario After a Decade
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Jim Willwerth, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Brock University

Webinar Series: Agriculture Resiliency - Growing after a Challenging Year

Nutrient Uptake in Adverse Weather Conditions
Thursday, February 8, 2024
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (AST)
For more information and to register, visit our website.

Pesticide Tank Mix: How to Get it Right
Thursday, February 15, 2024
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (AST)
For more information and to register, visit our website.

Practical Use of Weather Stations in Agricultural Production
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (AST)
For more information and to register, visit our website.

Cultural Practices to Improve Disease Control
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (AST)
For more information and to register, visit our website.

Nova Scotia Climate Smart Farming Forum

Register Here:  Nova Scotia Climate Smart Farming Forum – Perennia

February 29, 2024
9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Best Western Glengarry, Truro

This one-day event will provide insights into current Nova Scotia climate change projections and what this will mean for NS farmers. Participants will delve into discussions about climate change adaptation, regenerative agricultural practices and technologies to enhance resilience, and discover program and funding opportunities to support adoption of climate-smart farming practices in Nova Scotia.

Pesticide Information Impacting Horticulture and Field Crops

March 5, 2024
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Register now on our website.

During this annual session, crop specialists will discuss pesticide products that are being discontinued, announce new use patterns, and share new products that are registered. They will also discuss how to improve management with tips on integrated pest management. They cover all of this information to highlight important changes that growers should be aware of going into a new spray season. 

This webinar is a complement to the pesticide product guides that Perennia publishes each year for crops. The focal crops during the session are apples, wild blueberries, cranberries, vegetables, berries, cannabis, and field crops.

Pesticide Information Impacting Horticulture and Field Crops is NS Environment course T2417 and is worth 1.0 point in Pest Management. You must attend the entire session to receive points.

We're Rooting for You: Insights from the Field on Nematodes and Soil Health 

March 7, 2024
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Berwick Fire Hall, 300 Commercial Street, Berwick
Registration coming soon - SAVE THE DATE

Perennia specialists have completed a multi-year project in horticulture crops to better understand the presence of parasitic nematodes and to inform your management practices. Join us on Thursday, March 7, as we share the key project findings and hear from guest experts. Topics will include: 
  • Regional results about the primary plant parasitic nematode types and their distribution 
  • Efficacy of pre-plant and post-plant strategies, including cover crops and nematicides (focusing on orchard trials)
  • Insights into nematode population fluctuations observed throughout the growing season and tips for taking effective samples 
  • More on nematodes and soil health from guest experts 

Join us on March 7 at the Berwick Fire Hall for a free day of learning about integrated approaches to managing nematodes. Refreshments and lunch are provided.

Agenda to be determined. Speakers will include Michelle Cortens (Tree Fruit Specialist, Perennia), Matthew Peill (Molecular Biologist, Perennia), Caitlin McCavour (Soil Specialist, Perennia), Dr. Tom Forge (Nematologist, AAFC), Dr. Aaron Mills (AAFC) and more.