Albert J. Winkler

Definition - What does Albert J. Winkler mean?

Albert J. Winkler was a famous horticulturalist who has been accredited for the successful expansion of the wine industry in California for his study of "degree days". These are the days from the months of April to October, which are included in the growing season and have the best temperature for the full maturation of grapevines. It was Albert J. Winkler, aka "Wink" who adopted this method and how best to grow vines and of which varietals were best in various zones with varying "degree days". It is this system, which is still in use today. He was also a famed professor and chair for the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis for over 20 years.


WineFrog explains Albert J. Winkler

Albert J. Winkler is also accredited for the "Winkler Vine". The vine was a graft of the Mission grape, a Vitis vinifera vine grafted to a rootstock of St. George, a Vitis rupestris vine.

Side note: The study of grafting for viticulture and enology is crucial in discovering more resilient fruits, clones and wine grapes of varying characteristics, which are better suited in certain environments and especially today with climate change.

It was Winkler who did intensive and in-depth study on the training of grape vines, pruning practices and the size of vines. His graft had been planted on an arbour measuring 60 by 60 feet, covering half an acre. It produced a ton of fruit, however, it was planted in 1979 and survived until 2008. It was the study of this vine that gave way to "big vine culture" of Winkler's study. Thanks to a successful and lengthy study of big vine culture, it was determined that the vine could express its own vigour rather than restricting it to a confined trellising system and that it could sustain sizeable and quality yields with balanced cropping. For older vineyards, this was a study which proved well for many vineyards.

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