December 2018
Advancing research to maximize the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness
 of the American grape industries.

The New Year's Eve Grape Drop: A thematic tradition in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country*

What a year! The National Grape Research Alliance did and achieved a lot in the last 12 months. As we count down the hours to 2019, I thought I'd share a snapshot of how NGRA helped to advance research to support and improve the U.S. grape and wine industry in 2018, and into 2019 as well.
In This Issue
Operationally, our three top areas of focus this year were:
  • Ensuring delivery of our research mission - Research is at the heart of all we do. We work to align priorities for research across all sectors and all regions of the grape and wine industry, and in 2018 changed our name to underscore that fact. We also established a Research Fund, initiated and/or put our weight behind projects in areas that are top-of-mind for industry, and engaged with our colleagues at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service to align with their scientists on grape issues.
  • Driving a sense of community among those who believe in and advance the industry through science - We who believe in research are a unique breed. We know that solving discrete challenges through applied science and broadening our functional understanding through basic research will pay dividends well into the future. We embrace those who feel the same by communicating regularly, sharing information proactively and listening for researchable issues at as many industry events nationwide as possible.
  • Strengthening our organization - It'd be hard to deliver on our research mission and build a sense of community among our peers if we didn't have a strong base of operations. We work hard to improve the efficiency and effectiveness, transparency and process orientation of our organization. Onboarding new Board members and new staff, and creating new policies and reports are just a few of the ways we worked to ensure that NGRA is a vital and vibrant organization.
As you might suspect, behind this summary there is a long list of accomplishments in each of these areas for 2018. I invite you to pour a glass of wine, sip some grape juice, and/or grab a handful of raisins or table grapes, and savor the fruits of our collective labor.
We raise a toast to you and your steadfast support of research. None of what we do would be possible without your time and attention, interest and engagement. Cheers to a vinous new year!
Donnell Brown
*Photo credit: Visit Temecula Valley
With the December 22 expiration of continuing resolution for the last federal budget and failure to negotiate a new one, the U.S. government is in partial shutdown. As reported by Science, the shutdown will not directly affect the major science agencies that are already fully funded under previously approved spending bills, such as the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and departments of energy and defense. But it will largely shutter the National Science Foundation, Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture and others. Until a new budget is negotiated, government agencies must furlough about 380,000 employees under their official shutdown plans. An additional 420,000 "essential" personnel, such as those involved in air traffic control and military missions, or keeping spacecraft flying and laboratory animals alive, will be required to work without pay.
If you've never seen the bluebonnets in bloom across the Texas Hill Country, now's your chance! This year's National Viticulture & Enology Extension Leadership Conference (NVEELC) will be held in Fredericksburg, Texas, April 7-9, with an optional viticulture and enology workshop on April 10. It's primetime for bluebonnet viewing and for visiting the blossoming wine industry in this emerging region. Save the date!
Co-hosted in 2019 by Texas Tech University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, NVEELC is a grassroots event, held annually since 2006, that's planned and organized by the community of practice with support from NGRA. This year's event promises a robust, well-designed program in the heart of Texas wine country, designed to provide professional development, best-practice sharing and network-building specifically for extension and outreach professionals serving the grape and wine industry . Stay tuned, not only for ticket information but for scholarship and sponsorship opportunities!
In an effort close to our hearts, NGRA again worked with the Winegrape Growers of America (WGA), WineAmerica and the Smith Family to bestow the third-annual Rich Smith Distinguished Service AwardThe winner will be announced at the WGA Leadership Luncheon on January 30, 2019, in Sacramento. If you nominated a colleague for this highest honor of collegiality and science-oriented service, be sure you're in the audience to share your congrats!
Foundation Plant Services (FPS), UC Davis, has released several chapters of an online book entitled Winegrapes of UC Davis, written by FPS staff historian Nancy Sweet. These and future chapters will profile the history of the clean plant program at FPS, the growth of the wholesale grapevine nursery industry in California, and profiles of the cultivars and selections in the FPS foundation vineyards in Davis, focusing on winegrapes but also including some table grapes, too.
These first few chapters feature the first of a two-part story describing the evolution of FPS at UC Davis, and cover important grapes in the FPS grape collection, including: Black Grapes of Bordeaux; Malbec; Sauvignon blanc and the Sauternes; the Pinot group of cultivars; Chardonnay and other white grapes of Burgundy; The Story of Zinfandel and Croatia; and chapters on Barbera and Riesling.
The book's content will be derived in large part from documents and photographs in the FPS archives and files of the Department of Special Collections, Shields Library, UC Davis. Because the intended scope of the publication is extensive and ambitious, the book will be a work in progress for some time, Nancy says. New chapters will be posted as they become available.
The November 2018 ASEV Technical Update  features more than 50 interpretive abstracts written by authors of articles published in the four issues of the society's 2017 American Journal of Enology and Viticulture (AJEV). Delve into topics like...
  • Mitigating the Economic Impact of Grapevine Red Blotch: Optimizing Disease Management Strategies in U.S. Vineyards
  • Cold Hardiness of Vitis Vinifera Roots
  • Double-Pruning Grapevines as a Management Tool to Delay Berry Ripening and Control Yield
  • Dry Matter Accumulation and Nitrogen and Potassium Partitioning in the Roots and Trunk of Field-Grown Thompson Seedless Grapevines
  • Bioactive Gibberellins Show Differential Abundance at Key Phenological Stages for Berry Growth in Table Grapes

A link to the article in the AJEV online appears at the end of each abstract. Articles are free to access by ASEV members or $10 per article for non-members. 

Do you know a well-qualified person seeking a master's degree in viticulture or enology? New students entering their first fall semester should check out the Jordan and Harvey Graduate Awards scholarship program at  Fresno State. At stake is up to $36,000! Applicants must apply to the Graduate Coordinator of the program for which they seek admission (for Viticulture & Enology, it's Dr. Luca Brillante) by February 1, 2019.
Iowa State University seeks an Assistant Professor (or Associate if enough experience is exhibited) of Enology to focus on its research objectives. The position is based in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. The breakdown of responsibilities for this tenure-track position is 55% extension and outreach, 40% research and 5% teaching. Applications must be received by January 30, 2019.   Learn more and apply here.

On December 20, 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (a.k.a. the Farm Bill) was signed into law and will remain in effect for the next five years. WineAmerica was one of the many specialty crop organizations fighting for a robust bill. As Jim Trezise, WineAmerica President and NGRA Board member, says, "The Farm Bill is a massive and complex $867 billion piece of legislation whose multi-year funding can't be overemphasized, as it makes longer term planning possible, particularly in areas like research where it is vital."
Indeed, Farm Bill 2018 includes many critical provisions for research for the grape and wine industry. This summary of the bill's research impacts is excerpted from an overview compiled by the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance that NGRA was a part of.  See the complete summary here.
  • Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI): One of the most important funding mechanisms for grape and wine industry research, SCRI has been restored to its full $80 million per year allocation. The bill provides $25 million per year for the creation of a citrus trust fund to help combat citrus greening-an amount that in the previous Farm Bill was carved out of the total. The new provisions are effectively a $125 million increase over the 2014 level funding over a five-year Farm Bill.
  • Specialty Crop Block Grants: The $85 million per year funding in this program represents a significant increase over the Farm Bill's five-year lifespan, from $375 million to $425 million. The new bill also eases hurdles in existing law that have made funding of multi-state projects more difficult.
  • Mechanization: Recognizing the growing need for mechanization in labor-intensive agricultural commodities, the new bill's research title includes language that bolsters mechanization as a research priority throughout. In particular, the pilot program, Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AGARDA), prioritizes critical research and development needs for specialty crops; the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) now has a research priority that accelerates the use of automation and mechanization for labor-intensive tasks; and the bill requires the Secretary to review and assess how USDA programs can be used to support development of mechanization tools for specialty crops.
  • Pest and Disease: The legislation maintains funding at $75 million per year to combat invasive pests and diseases, and incorporates language to help coordinate research projects to ensure better utilization of existing resources. It also reauthorizes the National Clean Plant Network.
Although not research-related, it should be noted that Farm Bill 2018 also continues the Market Access Program that's so vital for international trade. Administered by the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, MAP holds steady at $200 million per year. These funds are allocated to directly to commodity groups, including those for wine, table grapes, juice and raisins. (To get a feel for these allocations, see the 2018 list here.) As Jim Trezise says, "Building markets anywhere, but especially overseas, takes lots of time and money, and MAP provides both. The MAP program has been a great investment for the American economy, with participating commodities representing 15% of total U.S. export revenues generated between 1977 and 2017."
Many thanks to the policymakers and specialty crop organizations who put countless hours toward ensuring the future of the Farm Bill and its research provisions. The monies guaranteed in Farm Bill 2018 will enable research today whose outcomes will extend well beyond the five-year scope of this important legislation.

WSU Earns Federal Funds for Grape and Vineyard Research
December 26, 2018 | Good Fruit Grower
Two research projects supported by Washington State grape growers and wineries won new grants from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Washington State University scientists Dr. Michelle Moyer and Dr. Manoj Karkee, respectively, are leading them projects. One seeks to understand and reduce the impact of fungicide resistance to powdery mildew, and the other will translate large sets of data into actionable information for grape and fruit growers for irrigation scheduling.

2019 Predictions: How Will the Food Industry Change?
December 21, 2018 | FoodBev Media
Health and wellness, low-sugar and natural snacks, and sustainably sourced products are among the food predictions that bode well for the grape and wine industry in the year ahead.

December 21, 2018 | USDA
The USDA has retained Ernst & Young to help with the relocation of the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and announced the site selection criteria for the agencies' new home(s).

December 20, 2018 | Science
An effort by House Democrats could block the relocation of the USDA's Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

December 17, 2018 | USDA
The USDA's just published 2017 Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary shows that more than 99% of the samples tested had pesticide residues well below benchmarks established by the EPA, making our food (and therefore, grape) supply among the safest on the planet.

December 11, 2018 | The Scientist
Although this study uses data from scientists in other fields (not viticulture or enology), its findings are troubling. About half of scientists drop out of their discipline after five years. (In the 1960s, it was 35 years before scientists moved on to other professions.) The study also finds that more scientists spend their entire careers in supporting roles, rather than leading their own research programs.

December 10, 2018 | Capital Press
Drift issues are nothing new to vineyard managers but having cannibis growers next door takes concerns to a new...high.

December 9, 2018 | Morning Ag Clips
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last week announced new initiatives to strengthen the state's Concord grape industry, including an investment of more than $1.3 million in the Vineyard Improvement Program and, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and New York Wine & Grape Foundation, $450,000 in funding for research at Cornell University to develop new Concord grape products.

December 7, 2018 | The Los Angeles Times
Upon the University of California's December 31 subscription deadline with Reed Elsevier, the battle between the university and the publisher of academic journals may help to define the concept of "open access." At its core, says one UC Davis law professor, open access means that "research should be immediately and freely available to the public upon publication, and not behind a paywall." Elsevier disagrees.
December 6, 2018 | Wine Business
The Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis is welcoming two new viticulture faculty members in the new year. Meet Dr. Elisabeth Forrestel and Dr. Megan Bartlett, and read about their respective areas of study, including grapevine physiology and cultivar diversity, and grapevine responses to heat, drought and climate change.
December 5, 2018 | Wine Business
Spherical vats, biodynamic barrels, advanced sprayers and sorters, and autonomous, self-guided vineyard vehicles that can pivot. These are a few of the innovations spotted at the Vinitech Sifel trade show in Bordeaux last month.
November 30, 2018 | Associated Press
They're cute and compact, lightweight and tireless. But these agri-tech robots, still in testing, aren't just any Tom, Dick or Harry.
November 14, 2018 | USDA
Dr. Richard Redak's UC Riverside lab focused efforts on refining the existing standardized quarantine treatment protocols for shipping nursery material throughout California so that Glassy-Winged Sharpshooters, which spread Pierce's Disease, are eliminated from nursery stock. So far, the program has been 100% effective in preventing the commercial spread of this pest.
November 2018 | Cornell University
Leafroll, nutrition issue or Red Blotch Disease? Cornell University PhD candidate Elizabeth Cieniewicz and plant pathology Professor Marc Fuchs, both also of Cornell AgriTech, discuss their research looking at Grapevine Red Blotch Virus and associated disease, how it spreads and the implications for management.

Find these stories and more, published as we find them, on the NGRA Facebook page.

January 12-16, 2019
San Diego, CA

January 16-17, 2019
Washington State Wine Commission's Research Review
Prosser, WA

January 28, 2019
NGRA First-of-Year Board Meeting & Annual Meeting of the Members
Sacramento, CA

January 29-31, 2019
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
Sacramento, CA

January 30, 2019
Winegrape Growers of America Annual Leadership Luncheon
Includes presentation of the Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award
Sacramento, CA

February 11-14, 2019
Washington Winegrowers 2019 Convention & Trade Show
Includes Research Poster Session February 12
Kennewick, WA

February 12-13, 2019
Oregon Wine Symposium
Por tland, OR

February 12-14, 2019
World Ag Expo
Tulare, CA

February 21, 2019
California Table Grape Seminar
Visalia, CA

February 21-22, 2019
Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research Annual Conference
Ferndale, WA

February 21-22, 2019
USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum
Arlington, VA

February 21-23, 2019
Pick TN Conference
Franklin, TN

February 27, 2019
UC Davis Current Wine and Winegrape Research
Davis, CA

February 27-March 1, 2019
Henrietta, NY
Find all upcoming events on the NGRA website.