March 2017
Drive research to maximize the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness
 of the American grape industries.


Donnell Brown
Donnell Brown has been hired as the new NGWI President effective April 3. Brown succeeds Camron King as President of the organization.

Brown has worked within the wine industry since 2009, operating a private consulting firm, Between the Vines, LLC; served as senior marketing director for Wolffer Estate Vineyard, Sagaponack, NY; and as marketing director for Visit Temecula Valley. During her tenure operating 'Between the Vines', Brown also served as executive director of Long Island Merlot Alliance and was event planner and board member of Harvest East End, East End of Long Island.
In This Issue
Prior to the wine industry, Brown worked in corporate communications for GTE, Verizon Wireless, and Amdocs, Inc.
Brown was selected by a search committee that included board members Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission; Jerry Lohr, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines; John Martini, Anthony Road Wine Company; Nick Dokoozlian, E. & J. Gallo Winery; and John Aguirre, California Association of Winegrape Growers.
"The search committee made an excellent choice in Brown as president of NGWI and the board is looking forward to the guidance and leadership she will bring to the organization," said Craig Bardwell, National Grape Cooperative and NGWI chair.
"I am thrilled to join the National Grape & Wine Initiative," said Brown. "The organization is led by some of the most respected people in the American grape industries and is able to effect game-changing research through a unique collaborative effort. I look forward to supporting and growing NGWI as we work to improve the quality and competitiveness of U.S. table grapes, wine grapes, juice grapes and raisins."

Starting with the election of thirteen board members and new officers followed by the hiring of a new President, momentum is building as NGWI continues evolving to better meet industry needs.

A new logo was approved along with an improved website which is in the "wireframe" stage and content is being loaded this month. NGWI plans to unveil the new website later this spring.

The board also approved a retooling of the NGWI Research Committee structure and is now working to align roles and responsibilities of the committee, appoint members, organize research priorities, and begin preparations for the USDA ARS research workshop to be held in late November.

The appointment process for Research Committee members is currently underway and should wrap up next month.

Kendra Baumgartner, PhD, Research Plant Pathologist, USDA Ag Research Service, is working to develop early wood-canker detection tools in symptomless plants, detection from nursery stock and wood cankers, detection of inoculum in the field, and identification of disease-resistant plant material. The work is indicating that preventive practices can reduce negative effects. The project includes best preventative practices and an integrated economic and sociology component which has been used to develop outreach tools explaining the cost/benefit ratios associated with when various available preventive treatments commence.

Baumgartner stated, "Years ago, in the early stages of writing the grant, NGWI was very instrumental in helping us assemble a team of industry representatives. I don't think we would have gotten the grant without NGWI." She stated that previous NGWI staff organized conference calls and meetings and all of those conversations helped them focus on a set of objectives. Through NGWI's support and guidance, the team secured needed funding to conduct the research that addresses practical problems that grape growers experience.

Grape Pathology Information Center
SCRI Trunk Disease Project
Dr. Baumgartner's Bio
By Bruce Reisch, PhD, Cornell University, and Lance Cadle-Davidson, PhD, USDA ARS, Grape Genetics Research Unit

VitisGen project has sought to meet grape industry goals through the targeted improvement of grape cultivars. NGWI funding allowed VitisGen researchers to enhance and expand upon genetic analyses that had become backlogged.

Using advanced genetic technology, VitisGen researchers have worked to streamline the development of new cultivars, which can take 20+ years. To speed up the process they identified genetic markers (short DNA sequences that are easy to detect) associated with traits like powdery mildew resistance. Using genetic markers, breeders can then select seedlings with specific traits through a simple DNA test. Thus far, VitisGen researchers have identified more than 75 marker-trait associations, which are being used to select for traits such as disease resistance and wine characteristics.

The genetics and breeding teams worked together to test and apply markers. A new method (called "AmpSeq" technology) to detect these markers was developed by the genetics team. The breeding team submitted more than 20,500 seedling DNA samples for analysis, and quickly discarded more than 60% found to not harbor the desired genes/traits. More than 2,000 potential parents and breeding selections in breeding programs were also screened, helping breeders to identify elites for further testing. One example out of the Cornell University grape breeding program is the disease resistant red wine grape selection, NY06.0514.06. This advanced selection is being distributed to nurseries for further propagation and testing and will be entered into NE1020 national grape variety trials. Current research supported by NGWI has focused on further technological improvements in the analysis of AmpSeq data, and the completion of processing of AmpSeq data for USDA-Parlier that had not been completed at the conclusion of the VitisGen project.

Reisch Bio
Cornell University
Cadle-Davidson Bio
House Committee on Agriculture - March 16-2017

Senator Rodney Davis
Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, held a hearing to highlight the importance of agricultural research as part of the committee's hearing series on the next farm bill. Members heard from witnesses who stressed the important role research plays in ensuring that American agriculture remains competitive and capable of addressing growing needs around the world.

"The public-private partnership in agricultural research has allowed American agriculture to flourish over the last century, supplying our nation with a stable, abundant, and affordable food supply while contributing to America's competitiveness in the global marketplace. Today we learned more about the benefits of investing in agricultural research. As we begin our work on the next farm bill-and as we look at the future of American agriculture-it is vital that we invest in public agricultural research,"  said Subcommittee Chairman Davis.

"Investments in agricultural research have led to extraordinary gains in productivity over the past century. While the United States has been, and should remain, the leader in cutting-edge agricultural research, public funding for agricultural research has been on the decline. While the private-sector is offsetting part of those losses, private-sector research often depends on the fundamental research supported by public investment. If the U.S. is going to remain competitive going forward, we must continue making key investments in our agricultural research system and we must look for ways to do that in the most efficient manner possible,"said Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway.

Written testimony provided by the witnesses from the hearing is linked below. Click
here  for more information, including Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Davis'  opening statement   and the  archived webcast .
Upcoming Events

National Viticulture and Enology Extension Leadership Conference
April 2-5, 2017
Oakville Station, UC-Davis, California

National Grape & Wine Policy Conference
April 25-27, 2017
Washington, DC

NGWI Board of Directors Meeting
June 8, 2017
Sacramento, California

ARS Grape Research Workshop and NGWI Board Meeting
Wednesday, November 29 - Friday, December 1, 2017
West Coast Location, TBD
Please plan to arrive late Tuesday, November 28 and depart after 3PM on Friday, December 1.