November 2021
One postharvest path for Concord grapes: Grape Pie*
NGRA holds three Board meetings each year, and we plan all three a year in advance. Normally, the mid-year (June/July) and end-of-year (November) meetings take place in different grape-growing regions around the country, while our first-of-year (January) meeting is always held in Sacramento, CA, where NGRA is based, the week of the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium.

Like most gatherings, our Board meetings moved to a virtual format in 2020. But a year ago, we audaciously scheduled our November 2021 End-of-Year Board meeting to be back in person, in St. Louis, MO, timed to coincide with the “Grafting the Grape” exhibition at the Missouri Botanical Garden and hosted by longstanding NGRA member-organization the Missouri Wine and Grape Board. But Covid concerns drove us back online, and the meeting took place on November 18, via Zoom.

I am thrilled to say that, barring an Omicron curveball, NGRA will resume in-person Board meetings this January. Our Annual Meeting of the Members and First-of-Year Board meeting will take place on Monday, January 24, 2022, in Sacramento, kicking off the week of Unified (which is back to its in-person format this year, too).

That week also will bring the live presentation of the Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award. Since its creation in 2017, the award has always been conferred by The Smith Family and the three sponsoring organizations (NGRA, WineAmerica and Winegrape Growers of America) at the WGA Annual Leadership Luncheon during Unified. Last year, due to the pandemic, it was presented to honoree Donniella Winchell via Zoom. Not this time! Join us to surprise and honor the 2022 winner in Sacramento at this year’s WGA Leadership Luncheon on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Tickets are on sale now.

National organizations, by definition, rely largely on technology to carry out our work with far-flung stakeholders and supporters. Email and Zoom are the backbone of our communications. I’m grateful for these tools and can’t imagine trying to operate without them. But the last two years have underscored the value of meeting face-to-face. When you’re in the same room, crosstalk and eye contact and body language elevate and enrich the conversation. And there’s the ritual of the Board meeting: the cadence of the thrice-annual schedule, the pre-meeting dinner for those flying in, the catching up among colleagues and friends, the indulgence (as it seems now) of a day-long agenda and, it has to be said, the occasion to wear heeled shoes and pants with a waistband. Oh, how I have missed these things!

We cannot wait to gather with our stakeholders again, and restore the magic of meeting with other humans, live, in three dimensions. From the Board meeting to the conference to the award presentation luncheon, the week of January 24 will be a slice of heaven. I hope to see you there!
Donnell Brown
This Concord Grape Pie comes courtesy of Philadelphia-based blogger Lynn Plagman; her recipe is here. Fun fact: The Grape Pie originated in the 1960s in Naples, NY, now known as the “Grape Pie Capital of the World.” (And we thought the Finger Lakes region was famous for wine!) The pie is traditionally made with Concord grapes and is beloved among bakers wherever Concords are grown. Get more history and a recipe from this Canadian foodie.

USDA Funds $243M in Specialty Crops Research
Late last month, the USDA announced an investment of more than $243 million in grants to support specialty crops through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) and Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). Forty-two grape-related research projects in 18 states received block grants and one—the smoke exposure research project led by Oregon State's Elizabeth Tomasino—won an SCRI grant. Read the funding announcement or see the relevant industry projects on our ongoingly updated listing of all grape research grants on the NGRA website.
US Joins with Other Countries to Launch AIM for Climate
On November 2, 2021, at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the United States and United Arab Emirates officially launched the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) alongside 31 countries and more than 48 non-government partners. In remarks at the World Leaders Summit, President Biden announced that the US intends to mobilize $1 billion in investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation from now till 2025.

Previewed at President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate in April, AIM for Climate focuses on increasing investment and enabling greater public-private and cross-sector partnerships to raise global climate ambition and underpin transformative climate action in the agriculture sector in all countries. Its intent is to increase and accelerate investment in climate-smart agricultural innovation in the areas of:

  • Scientific breakthroughs via basic agricultural research through national-level government and academic research institutions
  • Public and private applied research, including through support to international research centers, institutions and laboratory networks
  • Development, demonstration and deployment of practical, actionable and innovative products, services and knowledge to producers and other market participants, including through national agricultural research extension systems
Learn more at
NASA Launches OpenET
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in cooperation with other public agencies and private industry partners, launched the OpenET online platform on October 21 to make water use data from Landsat satellite imagery and models free and accessible to farmers, water managers and others to better manage irrigation based on evapotranspiration (ET). OpenET uses publicly available data, open-source models and the Google Earth Engine to provide satellite-based information on water consumption in areas as small as one quarter of an acre at monthly and yearly intervals, and will provide daily intervals by the end of 2021. These are satellite-based estimates of the total amount of water transferred through evaporation from the land surface and transpiration from plants to the atmosphere through ET, also referred to as "actual ET."
OpenET data covers 17 western US states, stretching from California, Oregon and Washington on the West to Texas on the south and east, North Dakota on the north, and all states in between. Learn more at
Progress in Naming USDA Research Administrators
On November 17, 2021, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry held the confirmation hearing for Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, nominated as USDA’s Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist. It is anticipated that her confirmation will follow.

Two days prior, Dr. Shefali Mehta was named Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. She comes to USDA from Open Rivers Consulting Associates, where she served as the Founder and Principal of strategy and implementation. Prior to Open Rivers, Dr. Mehta was the Executive Director at the Soil Health Partnership, the flagship sustainability program of the National Corn Growers Association.
California Green Medal Awards Now Accepting Applications
Apply now through February 4, 2022, for the 2022 California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards. Who’s eligible? California vineyards and wineries that have participated in a sustainability program in the last 12 months and have demonstrated outstanding achievement in any of the four award categories: Leader Award, Environment Award, Community Award and Business Award. Learn more and apply.
Organic Ag Institute Forms New Knowledge Network
In its first major public initiative, the Organic Agriculture Institute—a program of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, formed in January 2020—is conducting a statewide needs assessment for California’s organic agriculture. It’s also forming a knowledge-sharing network—the Cal OAK (Organic Agriculture Knowledge) Network—to connect UC experts with growers, processors, producer organizations, certifiers, crop consultants, community groups and state agencies to facilitate the ongoing development and adoption of organic production practices in the state. Read more about the Institute and this new initiative.
Ohio Grape Industries Funds Two Research Projects
The Ohio Grape Industries Committee has awarded Kent State Ashtabula a $180,000 grant for two applied research projects. To be conducted over the next two years at Markko Vineyard in Conneaut, OH, the projects are: 1) the evaluation of sour rot thresholds for wine quality and 2) analysis of the effects of production intervention on the stability of pétillant naturel sparkling wine. Learn more about the award, which is included on NGRA’s listing of grape research grants.
Arizona Adds a Third AVA
Arizona has three major wine-growing regions, but until now, only two of them were recognized by the federal government as official wine-growing areas. On November 10, 2021, more than four years after local winemakers first submitted a petition, the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau designated a roughly 200-square mile area in Yavapai County as the Verde Valley Viticultural Area. With the federal designation, the Verde Valley officially joins Willcox and Sonoita as an official American Viticultural Area. There are 19 commercial vineyards in the new AVA, growing more than 40 varieties.
USDA Scholarships Lift Students at Minority-Serving Institutions
Applications are being accepted now through January 31, 2022, for two USDA scholarship programs for students at historically black and tribal land-grant colleges and universities: the 1890 National Scholars Program and the 1994 Tribal Scholars Program. These partnerships with the 19 1890 land-grant universities and 35 tribal colleges and universities are among USDA’s efforts to develop the next generation of food and agriculture leaders and build an agriculture workforce that is more representative of America. Administered through USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), these full scholarships “empower students at minority-serving institutions to pursue careers in agriculture,” said Dr. Lisa Ramirez, OPPE Director.
Scholarships Available for Future Table Grape Colleagues
The California Table Grape Commission, an NGRA member-organization, is offering three $25,000 agricultural scholarships for students in the table grape growing regions of California who’d like to study agriculture at a California college or university and join the table grape industry or do relevant grape research one day. Two other types of scholarships are offered for field workers. Deadline to apply is February 11, 2022.
By Donnell Brown, NGRA
Raise your hand if this has happened to you: You’ve been invited to speak at an industry conference in three months. Plenty of time. You work at a university, so you have classes to teach, office hours to keep, papers to grade, grant proposals to write. Or you work in industry and have a lab or department or company to lead, employees to supervise, people to meet with, reports to write. You may have trials to check on, field work to do and, if you’re lucky, a weekend or vacation day to take. And suddenly, the conference is tomorrow. You’re an expert in your field; you’ve been working on the research in question for years. No problem. You’ll update the numbers in the presentation you gave to another group four months ago.

But how much do you know about the audience you’ll be addressing tomorrow?
In a podcast interview about her new book, Getting to the Heart of Science Communication: A Guide to Effective Engagement, Faith Kearns opens with an experience that “changed my entire orientation to my work.” And arguably, to the people she speaks to.

In Fall 2008, when she was working at a wildfire research center at UC Berkeley, Faith and two colleagues were speaking at a fire safety demonstration day in a town in Northern California, presenting their work around the idea that houses could be built to withstand or at least reduce the risk of wildfire. What they didn’t factor into their presentation was the fact that massive wildfires had ripped through that community just a few months prior. (According to Wikipedia, the 2008 California wildfire season was one of the most devastating since the turn of the 21st century.)

“They had just been through a very traumatic event and we were there, in this very factual way, saying, ‘You could’ve prevented that,’” or that’s how it landed with one kind audience member who spoke with Faith after the talk that day. He had lost his home to fire that summer. “It made me realize that not paying attention to the context you’re going into can be really harmful to your work and to the people who your work will ultimately impact.”

In her current role at the California Institute for Water Resources, Faith coordinates research and outreach programs around the Institute’s work on the environment and water resources. “I work in a cooperative extension role. I do very place-based work,” she says. “It’s not possible to come into a place, say something, then leave,” she says. And she notes that, often, in extension roles like hers, the people receiving science communications know more about the place itself than the scientist does.

But the traditional training scientists typically receive about messaging doesn’t take that into account, she says. “It can be counterproductive to focus on the thing that ‘I need to say’ as opposed to trying to be in relationship with people and understand what they’re looking for” and the kind of science-based information they need.

In my own role at NGRA, I’ve experienced the difficulty in communicating scientific concepts to non-scientists (of which I am one). I’ve seen the curtain of inattention fall over the eyes of a grower to whom I’m excitedly relating advances in genetics research. And there’s the story that was related to me by an academic-turned-industry-scientist who learned painfully how quickly scattergrams and Gant charts could turn off a C-suite audience. At a Board meeting in the early days of his corporate career, midway through a research presentation, his CEO pounded the table and shouted, “Dammit, man! What does all this mean to my bottom line?” Now, he focuses on deliverables and outcomes.

As the polarizing topics of climate change, gene modification and the Covid-19 pandemic have shown us, it’s no longer enough for scientists to just communicate facts and figures. Dropped into the center of controversial or economically critical issues, “they must not only be experts in their fields of study, but also experts in navigating the thoughts, feelings and opinions of members of the public they engage with, and with each other,” Faith explains, referencing, too, the increasingly fraught waters of discourse online. Even if the subject matter isn’t as emotionally charged as the wildfire example above or the water resources research Faith does now, communicating science can be more effective when scientists connect their work to their audiences’ points of view and how their science can help.

According to her publisher, Faith’s book is “a guide for navigating the human relationships critical to the success of practice-based science. (It) help(s) scientists see the value of listening as well as talking, understanding power dynamics in relationships, and addressing the roles of trauma, loss, grief and healing” to take science communication to the next, “relational” level—especially for researchers in applied sciences who work closely with the public.

It’s a good message, not just for early-career scientists, but any of us, at any stage of our careers, who work to extend research findings to the people who comprise the community or industry we seek to improve. And it’s good food for thought. As Faith says at the end of interview about the book, “Science will always need to be communicated. The question to me is how. Just asking the question changes the practice.” Maybe even if/how you prepare for a talk!

The quotes used here come from these two references (mostly the latter):
Pitch to Present a Poster at AWITC
Poster abstract submissions are now being accepted for the 18th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference, to be held in Adelaide, Australia, June 26-28, 2022. This once-every-three-years conference provides the opportunity to present research posters in two sessions: Fresh Science or the Student Forum: In the Wine Light. Abstract submissions of up to 250 words are due by March 11, 2022. Learn more.
Funding Opportunities
Sharpen your pencils! These research funding programs have upcoming deadlines.
AFRI is the flagship grant program of the USDA-NIFA, and its Foundational and Applied Science program offers grants in six priority areas: 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 in this Request for Applications (RFA). The deadline to apply is December 15, 2021.
Arguably the most important competitive grant program for research for specialty crops, SCRI offers funding for three types of projects: 1) Standard Research and Extension Projects (SREPs) are funded for up to four years and up to $1,000,000 per year; 2) larger-scope, systems-oriented Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs) are funded up to four years and up to $2,000,000 per year; and 3) Research and Extension Planning Projects are funded for one year at up to $50,000 to provide planning assistance in the development of quality SREP or CAP proposals. Matching funds have been waived per the current federal continuing resolution, in effect through early December 2021. As needed, NIFA will revise the pre-application and full application RFA based on any changes to statutory authority. The deadline for SCRI pre-applications is January 21, 2022.

Penn State undergrads from all academic fields and all campuses are encouraged to apply for a 2022 Erickson Discovery Grant to fund student-initiated projects next summer. Grants provide $3,500 toward living expenses and project costs. Student projects of all kinds are welcome: the arts, engineering, humanities, sciences and social sciences. Projects should primarily be the student’s own work, but they can be related to the supervising faculty member’s research or scholarly interests. Fifty grants will be awarded for summer 2022. The deadline to apply is February 13, 2022.

Based on the need to better prepare a career-ready STEM workforce, this fellowship from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research provides professional development, "soft skills" and career guidance to the next generation of food and agriculture scientists. It cultivates supportive relationships between graduate student fellows and industry, government and NGO peers to facilitate their transition to the workforce as future leaders. Fellows will be co-mentored over the three-year program by university and industry representatives, and engage with their peers in professional development programming both virtually and at the annual one-week residential sessions. Applications for the 2022 cohort are due February 22, 2022.

As the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards for early-career faculty, the CAREER program recognizes the potential of new scientists to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from early-career faculty at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply. The next full proposal deadline is July 25, 2022. 
November 22, 2021 │ SevenFiftyDaily
Fodder for empirical observations for your holiday wine selection: Recent research has identified a link between lower sulfur dioxide usage and higher levels of headache-inducing biogenic amines. Many natural winemakers forego adding SO2. Could this finding affect the practice?

November 22, 2021 │ National Science Foundation
This discovery may have Western grape growers dreaming of space travel: Astrophysicists have found water and carbon monoxide in a galaxy nearly 13 billion light years from Earth. The research is the most distant detection of water in a star-forming galaxy.

November 22, 2021 │ Lodi Winegrowers
Delayed spring growth (DSG) is an issue in California growing regions prone to drought and cold damage. Post-harvest vineyard management practices can help prevent DSG, as discussed at a recent workshop hosted by NGRA member-organizations the Lodi Winegrape Commission and E. & J. Gallo Winery.

November 18, 2021 | Good Fruit Grower
Coming this January, the Washington wine industry will have a third-party sustainability certification program tailored to the state's unique pest pressure, water availability, soils and climate. The program will offer the opportunity to label wines made with certified sustainable grapes.
November 18, 2021 │ Instagram
While not research per se, this terrific interview by Tablas Creek Vineyard’s Jason Haas with Michael Kaiser of WineAmerica will give you insight into what this important public policy organization (and NGRA member) is and does, and how Michael and his colleagues advocate for the wine industry at the national level.

November 12, 2021 │ Wine Australia
Australia is developing a new Grapevine Propagation Standard for its grape and wine industry. It's an effort to minimize the biosecurity risk for growers and maintain the country's relatively "low virus and trunk disease status compared to other wine-producing countries," which they say is on the rise.
November 11, 2021 | Wine Industry Network
The first commercial US wines made from the Italian grape San Marco are ready for release by Bellview Winery. A cross between Teroldego and Lagrein, San Marco was created in Italy in 1993 and was adopted by growers in New Jersey's Outer Coastal Plain AVA for its climatic similarity.

November 10, 2021 │ Good Fruit Grower
For decades, Washington’s own-rooted vineyards were a point of pride. But the recent discovery of phylloxera in the state has been troubling. Now, it's motivating many Walla Walla wine growers to begin planting on rootstocksand seeing that as an opportunity.
November 8, 2021 | National Science Foundation
The greenhouse gas nitrous oxide has a warming potential 300x that of CO2. Fertilizer runoff from farms increases the nitrogen washing into rivers and streams where microbes convert it to N2O, which is then released into the atmosphere. New research elucidates howand how much ofthe runoff becomes N2O and what steps can be taken to mitigate emissions.

November 5, 2021 | Veraison to Harvest
You may have heard that UV light, applied at night, shows promise in controlling powdery mildew. Now, scientists at Cornell AgriTech have found that use of the tech significantly reduced sour rot incidence in Vignoles, a variety prone to it. (See page 6 at link.)
November 5, 2021 | Familia Torres
Familia Torres has designed an innovative system to capture the CO2 generated during wine fermentation and reuse it as headspace during storage. The company estimates it will be able to capture and reuse around 20 tons of CO2 per year, equivalent to one-third of the gas the winery purchases.

November 5, 2021 | WSU Viticulture & Enology Extension
The Washington State University V&E Extension team has updated its website to include a resource page fully dedicated to phylloxera, including a risk map for Washington vineyards based on soil sand content and soil temperature.

November 4, 2021 | Morning Ag Clips
An established population of spotted lanternfly was found in Hillsville, VA, less than 20 miles from the VA-NC state line. It's the closest infestation to NC to date.

November 3, 2021 │ The Independent
Is marijuana taint a real concern? As cannabis grow operations seek to move into premium wine regions like Napa and Santa Barbara Counties, UC Davis Enology Extension Agent Anita Oberholster says that “terpenes biosynthesized into wine grapes during the growing and winemaking process could ‘change the character of the wine significantly.’”

November 3, 2021 │ Good Fruit Grower
Washington State University researchers are collaborating to expand the application of UV-C light to control grape powdery mildew, a project originally initiated at Cornell. The tech could offer growers a non-chemical tool to fight the fungal disease, particularly in the early season, and help combat fungicide resistance.

November 1, 2021 │ Western Farmer Stockman
Oregon State University’s Elizabeth Tomasino and co-PIs Anita Oberholster (UC Davis) and Tom Collins (Washington State University) won a $7.65 million SCRI grant to study the impact of smoke exposure on grapes and wine. The project will provide critical, timely knowledge to grape growers and winery owners severely impacted by widespread wildfire smoke in recent years.

November 1, 2021 │ Growing Produce
Managing diseases would be a lot easier if grape growers could set sprayers to one speed all season. But canopy growth prevents a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. Here, UCCE Central Sierra Farm Advisor Lynn Wunderlich talks sprayer calibration, fans and nozzles, and more.
October 27, 2021 │ Winetitles Media
A founding objective of the International Wineries for Climate Action was to develop a standardized methodology for wineries to account for annual GHG emissions. The organization has developed a GHG calculator and now has a pilot version available for US wineries.

October 27, 2021 │ Buckeye Appellation
Growers in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota are reporting more yellow jackets, hornets, bees, wasps in their vineyards this fall. Theories for their abundance include the transition to newer selective insecticides that are safer for stinging insects, or that insect populations are cyclical and there may just be more of them this year.
October 5, 2021 │ American Vineyard Magazine
Ever wonder why grow tubes are removed in the winter? Originally designed for tree seedlings, they absorb sunlight and increase the temperature inside the tube. In wintertime, that could trick a grapevine into deacclimation, making it susceptible to winter injury and trunk disease.

August 10, 2021 │ Wine Business Monthly
Drone technology is being trialed and/or applied to spraying and the release of beneficial insects as biocontrol agents against pests. NGRA Board member Stephanie Bolton of the Lodi Winegrape Commission is quoted.

Find these stories and more, published daily, on NGRA's Facebook and Twitter feeds.
December 2, 2021
Santa Rosa, CA

December 3, 2021
College Station, TX

December 7, 2021
Virtual event

December 8, 2021
Davis, CA

December 13-15, 2021
Corvallis, OR

December 14, 2021
Virtual event

December 14-15, 2021
Virtual event

January 8-12, 2022
San Diego, CA

January 18-19, 2022
Glendale, AZ

January 24, 2022
NGRA Annual Meeting of the Members and First-of-Year Board Meeting
Sacramento, CA

January 25-27, 2022
Sacramento, CA

January 26, 2022
Sacramento, CA
Includes presentation of the 2022 Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award

February 7-10, 2022
Kennewick, WA

February 8-10, 2022
Tulare, CA

February 15-17, 2022
Virtual event

February 17-19, 2022
Denton, TX

February 21-22, 2022
Dublin, OH

February 24-25, 2022
Virtual event

February 27-March 3, 2022
Blended event with virtual sessions and in-person meetings in various locations

Find all upcoming events on the NGRA website.

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