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Grape growers invited to tour local vineyards

As warmer temperatures begin to beat down on the Yakima Valley, the Washington State Grape Society is working to ensure that grape growers throughout the area are making the most efficient use of their water.

Thursday, July 14, the Washington State Grape Society is hosting a summer tour as a benefit to its members. The tour will touch on the vital issues that are affecting vineyard production, including drip irrigation, moisture monitoring, grafting, chlorosis and minimal pruning.

Those interested in taking part in the summer tour are invited to congregate at the first stop, Airport Ranches, located north of Sunnyside. The tour will begin at 8:30 a.m. To find the block of grapes where the tour will start take exit 69 off of Interstate 82, then travel north on Highway 241, crossing Yakima Valley Highway. Turn east on to Factory Road, until it meets County Line Road. Turn north onto County Line Road, follow the road over the hill, past the gravel pit to the irrigation lateral between a block of wine grapes and Concord grapes on the west side of the road. Enter the lane on the south side of the lateral, between the Concord grapes and the lateral. Tour participants are asked to park in a single-file line along the top of the vineyard.

At 10 a.m. the tour will change locations, moving to the Washington State University Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center research vineyard outside of Prosser. The vineyard can be found by taking exit 80 off of Interstate 82, then turning north onto Gap Road. At Hanks Road turn east to Crosby Road. Take Crosby Road north for about half a mile, after crossing Evans Road, look for the entrance to the Roza Unit on the right. After entering the Roza Unity, the research vineyard is the second vineyard on the left.

The final stop on the tour will be Olsen Brothers Ranches. The tour will stop by the ranch at 11:15 a.m. To find Olsen Brothers take exit 80 off of Interstate 82 then turn north onto Gap Road to Hanks Road. Travel east on Hanks Road until it meets District Line Road. Turn north onto District Line Road and travel for about one mile to Evans Road. Turn left on Evans Road and the vineyard is next to the road.

No reservations are needed for the Washington State Grape Society summer tour.

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