Advancing research to maximize the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness
of the American grape industries.
Morning fog over vineyards in the Salinas Valley Highlands near Monterey
WELCOME, NEW MEMBERS
The NGRA Mid-Year Board Meeting took place on June 22 in Monterey, CA, following the national conference of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV), which took place June 18-21. Both events were well-attended, super-informative and included a terrific mix of returning and new faces. But the headline, for me, was the
three new board directors inducted at our board meeting!
|These new board appointees represent brand-new members of NGRA. Welcome to:
- Jessica Youngblood, Youngblood Vineyard, Ray, MI - Midwest Regional Representative
Youngblood Vineyard is the largest commercial vineyard in Eastern Michigan, growing six varieties of cold-hardy wine grapes whose first commercial harvest is expected this year. Jessica is very active in the Michigan wine industry, serving as a board member on the Michigan Wine Collaborative and a founding member of the Great Lakes Sustainable Wine Alliance. Youngblood Vineyard is also a partner and approved practicum site for the Viticulture & Enology Science & Technology Alliance (VESTA) in cooperation with Michigan State University.
- Andy Timmons, Lost Draw Vineyards & Cellars, Texas Wine Company, Brownfield, TX - Native/Hybrid Species Commodity Sector Representative
A crop scientist by training, Andy is one of the biggest growers in the Lone Star State. He and his family farm 100 miles of land in the High Plains AVA near Lubbock, 350 acres of which are winegrapes. He also established a custom crush facility to help serve the production needs of the growing industry in Texas. Andy believes firmly in the Texas wine industry, has served (as has his brother, Dusty) as Board President of the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association.
- Melissa Hansen, Washington State Wine Commission - At-Large Representative
Melissa is the first research program manager for Washington State Wine, working to advance the state's vision: to establish Washington as a recognized leader in viticulture and enology research. Under her direction, Washington has awarded more than $1 million in research grants each of the last two years, and instituted education and outreach seminars to inform the industry of research outcomes. Professionally, Melissa has more than 30 years' experience working for grape and tree fruit growers, including the California Table Grape Commission.
In addition to these new appointees, the NGRA board is newly joined by
Lodi Winegrape Commission's Grower Communications & Sustainable Winegrowing Director Stephanie Bolton
, who runs a robust grower communications and education program in her region. Lodi is not new to NGRA, but Stephanie succeeds Wendy Brannen as the commission's delegate, serving as an At-Large Representative on our board.
Sadly, though, our June 22 board meeting was the last for long-time board director Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers. Nat retired this week after 18 years of service. He will be missed!
HOUSE AND SENATE PASS THEIR FARM BILLS
This month, both the House and Senate passed their versions of Farm Bill 2018. Regarding Title VII for Research, which authorizes the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), the Senate's version is preferable. Here's why: The House bill continues annual funding of SCRI at $80 million, but retains the citrus carve-out for citrus greening, leaving only $55 million for all specialty crop research. The Senate bill also fully funds SCRI at $80 million per year, but provides an
additional $25 million for citrus through a trade trust fund, funded through customs user-fees. (The trust fund structure is consistent with the citrus industry's original 2014 proposal.) Together, SCRI and the citrus trade fund authorize research funding of $105 million per year, restoring SCRI to $80 million for all specialty crop research through 2023. A
conference committee between the House and Senate will be formed, where the two bills will be reconciled before going to the President for his signature.
The 2014 Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2018.
JACK OKAMURO NAMED ACTING DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR
Following the retirement of the Dr. Maureen Whalen in May, Dr. Jack Okamuro has been named Acting Deputy Administrator - Crop Production and Protection at USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Jack remains National Program Leader for the agency's National Program 301: Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics and Genetic Improvement Strategic Vision.
CHANGES COMING TO MICHIGAN GRAPE AND WINE COUNCIL
The 30-year-old Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council will be renamed the Michigan Craft Beverage Council (MCBC), focusing not just on wine but on beer, hard cider and spirits. It is hoped that, by funding research and marketing programs for barley and hops,
these sectors will do for Michigan beer what wine grapes have done for the state's wine industry, whose economic impact stands at $5.4 billion. (By comparison, beer's impact currently totals $600 million.)
Funding will continue to be augmented by Michigan's liquor control commission fees from producers.
At least half the MCBC budget will be used to conduct research projects; other projects will include marketing initiatives, such as festivals.
he shift to spanning
wine, beer, hard cider and spirits
will result in a reduction from three full-time staff to one and a half, said Executive Director Karel Bush. Effective October 1, the Michigan Craft Beverage Council will be housed in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with Ms. Bush reporting to Peter Anastor, Director of the Agricultural Development Division.
Read the full story here.
CATALYST SEEKS SUBMISSIONS
Extension specialists and others who have been and are collecting data that may be of practical use to the grape and wine industries across the U.S. are encouraged to submit articles to
Catalyst: Discovery into Practice
. A journal published by the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV), it focuses on extending fundamental discoveries in the scientific disciplines to sustain and advance winemaking and grapegrowing. Catalyst was first published in February 2017 and is a companion journal to the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, also published by ASEV. ASEV welcomes submissions to Catalyst via its online submission site,
. Publishing in Catalyst is an excellent opportunity to extend research results to colleagues and make a significant impact in the industry.
NOTABLE SCIENTISTS HONORED AT ASEV CONFERENCE
At last week's ASEV national conference, three of the grape industries' most respected scientists were honored:
- Dr. Terry Acree, Cornell University - 2018 Merit Award, ASEV's highest honor
Chemosensory professor in Cornell's food science department and Flavornet co-founder, Dr. Acree is a leading researcher on aroma and flavor perception. As reflected in his presentation at the conference, "From Methyl Anthranylate to Mercaptohexanol: Measuring Wine Qualia," his work primarily focuses on food composition and its relationship to the chemosensory perception of flavor.
- Dr. Patty Skinkis, Oregon State University - 2018 Extension Distinction Award
A viticulture extension specialist and associate professor, Dr. Skinkis is highly regarded in the Oregon wine industry, particularly for her approach to "Engaging Industry Citizen Scientists to Address Fundamental Production Issues," as she presented at conference. Her research focuses on whole plant physiology studies designed to understand vine vigor, and the physiology of vine balance and its impact on fruit composition and wine quality, often engaging industry citizen scientists to help conduct long-term yield management research.
Note: Patty is a member of NGRA's Integrated Production Systems Research Theme Committee.
- Dr. Veronique Cheynier, Institut National de Recherche Agronomique - Honorary Research Lecture
Considered one of the world's foremost experts in phenolic compound research, especially in grape and wine phenolics, Dr. Cheynier is Director of Research INRA's Joint Research Unit, Sciences for Enology, Montpellier SupAgro, Université de Montpellier. Her presentation, "Wine Tannins and Pigments: An Overview of 30 Years of Research," was a trove of insights from her three decades of study.
Congratulations to and thank you to all three for their contributions to the industry!
EFFICIENT VINEYARD MONTHLY WEBINAR SERIES CONTINUES
The SCRI-funded, NGRA-supported Efficient Vineyard project continues its monthly webinar series. The second installment, "Looking Deeper: A Subsurface Vineyard Exploration," takes place July 10. It will focus on how inherent variability in soil properties can be measured spatially using off-the-shelf sensors and how "work smarter, not harder" translates to soil sampling.
Learn more and register here.
CLASSIC UC GRAPE LECTURES NOW PLAYING ONLINE
CATCH THE NEXT WAVEx ON JULY 11
The next installment of the Washington Wine Commission's popular Washington Advancements in Viticulture and Enology (WAVE) seminars is just a couple weeks away. Co-sponsored by the Wine Commission and Washington State University, the July 11 WAVEx meeting focuses on "Making Better Wine through Chemistry." WAVE and the condensed, practical-application-focused WAVEx seminars are designed to bring viticulture and enology research results into the hands of users and raise awareness of the value of research among grape growers and winemakers.
Learn more and register to attend.
OREGON TECHNICAL NEWSLETTER: A GREAT RESOURCE
The Oregon Wine Research Institute (OWRI) Technical Newsletter is packed with research updates and a comprehensive list of publications summarizing research conducted by faculty of the OWRI at Oregon State University. The
Summer 2018 edition
is now available. In it,
Dr. R. Paul Schreiner, USDA-ARS Research Plant Physiologist, gives a research update on pinot noir nutrient needs and tissue test guidelines for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Dr. James Osborne, OSU Enology Extension Specialist and Associate Professor, along with Dr. Michael Qian, OSU Professor, and Dr. Elizabeth Tomasino, OSU Associate Professor, provide valuable information on their research on the role of grape microflora on pinot noir aroma. And Drs. Alexander Levin and Achala KC, OSU-Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC) Assistant Professors, provide a timely article about deficit irrigation and grapevine red blotch virus concerns.
Download a copy and sign up for more.
AFRI GRANT RFA ANNOUNCED; DEADLINE SEPT. 30
The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has released its request for applications (RFA) for the
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational and Applied Science Program.
Six AFRI priority areas are covered by this program, seeking to advance knowledge in fundamental and applied sciences in: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health; Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Agriculture Systems and Technology; and Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities. Research-only, extension-only, and integrated research, education and/or extension projects are solicited. Estimated total program funding is $182 million.
Letters of Intent are required for many of the grant areas; deadlines are as follows:
- Agricultural Microbiomes in Plant Systems and Natural Resources - deadline July 18, 2018
- Agricultural Biosecurity Coordination Network - deadline July 24, 2018
- Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics Tools (FACT) - deadline July 25, 2018
- Critical Agricultural Research and Extension (CARE) - deadline July 25, 2018
- Exploratory Research - click through for program area priority deadlines
June 26, 2018 │ The Scientist
A leader in the Drosophila community, the University of California-San Diego professor pioneered fruit fly genetics with his book,
Genetic Variations of Drosophila Melanogaster,
commonly known as the "Red Book."
"Dan Lindsley was one of the preeminent geneticists of the 20th century," says William McGinnis, Dean of Biological Sciences at UCSD.
June 22, 2018 │ The Washington Post
Virginia's wine community is mourning the loss of one of its giants, Dennis Horton of
the maverick vintner who defied conventional wisdom by planting grapes few people had heard of, and in so doing convinced many skeptical oenophiles that Virginia could make great wine. There will be a celebration of Horton's life at the vineyard on July 9.
June 11, 2018 │ SevenFifty Daily
Thanks to extensive DNA testing, resistance research, winemaking analysis and patent and licensing work, it takes at least 15 years to conceive and release a new winegrape variety like Marquette (red) or Itasca (white), the products of renowned grape breeding program at
University of Minnesota
. Still, UMN is putting cold-climate winemakers like
Lincoln Peak Vineyard
in Vermont "well on our way to making some very nice wine."