January 27, 2020 | Good Fruit Grower
Michigan growers are finding it harder to manage powdery mildew and botrytis bunch rot as both pathogens display abundant resistance to commonly used fungicides in the state, says Timothy Miles, who manages the Michigan State University Small Fruit Pathology Lab. "There's a lot we use over and over again," he says, and unfortunately, new fungicides are a rarity for grape growers. Tim is part of the national, SCRI-funded FRAME Network, searching for solutions.
January 22, 2020 | Wine Spectator
Phylloxera was found in the traditionally own-rooted vines of Washington's Walla Walla AVA last fall. Washington State University scientists are now working to map the infection and contain the spread. Michelle Moyer at the WSU-IAREC says they will help vintners mitigate the decline of infected plants, with mulches, fertilizers and irrigation strategies. In the end, vineyards will need to be replanted, grafted onto phylloxera-resistant rootstocks. But they say the state's vintners and wine fans need not panic. "I don't think it's as devastating as we originally thought," says WSU's Gwen Hoheisel.
January 21, 2020 | EurekAlert
New journal alert: The newly launched, open-access and peer-reviewed Viticulture Data Journal encourages international collaboration and fosters "open science." It covers viticulture topics ranging from genetics and food safety to rootstock and clonal evaluation and climate change adaptation, and focuses on "non-conventional" research such as models, methods, software, data analytics pipelines and visualization methods. It is a collaboration between Pensoft Publishers the EU project AGINFRA+.
January 20, 2020 | Good Fruit Grower
Ben-Min Chang at the WSU-IAREC Is developing a new concept for evaporative cooling. "We need to wet leaves but not the soil (or the fruit)," he says, "so cooling doesn't interfere with deficit irrigation, promote disease or waste water." With an infrared radiometer to assess leaf temperature and a leaf wetness sensor, the system signals a solenoid to turn misting nozzles on and off. It's only in prototype now, but cooperators at Ciel du Cheval Vineyard say, "it's an awesome idea."
January 16, 2020 | Wine Spectator
Until last month, the Dalai Lama, the most prominent practitioner of humility, owned the world's smallest commercial vineyard: three vines in Switzerland's Valais region. A couple in Sussex, England, has one-downed the Tibetan spiritual leader with their mere two vines, now licensed for commercial winemaking. "I read [the Dalai Lama] has three vines, so I thought, 'I can go one better!'" said owner Dominic Buckwell. Wine Spectator columnist Shawn Zylberberg writes, "We'll leave to philosophers the question of whether it is, in fact, actually prideful to out-humble the earthly incarnation of compassion."
January 16, 2020 | AgNet West
UC Berkeley's Kent Daane is leading a project that seeks to develop a practical, area-wide strategy for addressing vine mealybug populations and determine the most cost-effective way for mitigating damage associated with grape leafroll associated virus. "We need to understand where these infections are coming from," Kent notes. "Is it from the nurseries? From mealybugs in the root remnants? Being blown in from next-door neighbors? Until we control the source of the infection, we cannot economically constantly rogue if we're roguing every single year." Lodi Winegrowers, an NGRA member, is a collaborator with Central Coast growers.
January 15, 2020 | The University of Adelaide
Helping growers optimize water use is a primary goal of a $5 million digital technologies project supporting on-farm decision making for winegrape production. An open-source digital platform called VitiVisor will collect and analyze sensor data to assess vineyard performance and advise on management practices such as irrigation, pruning, and the application of fertilizer, fungicides and pesticides. The project is led by The University of Adelaide; Riverland Wine and Wine Australia are collaborators.
January 14, 2020 | Wine Business Monthly
A French organization called Nouveaux Champs (new fields), has developed a Zero Pesticide Residue (ZPR) seal that will soon appear on the first wines there, including three from forerunner Les Vignerons de Tutiac. The ZPR designation certifies that sustainable practices were used in the field and guarantees there is no pesticide contamination in the finished product. It also enables growers to sell their products at a price 30% higher than usual.
January 3, 2020 | Wine Business Monthly
Dr. Pierre Galet, considered the "father of ampelography," died last week. He was 98. The English-language version of his work, "A Practical Ampelography: Grapevine Identification," was translated by Virginia's Lucie Morton, his first American student, and published in 1979. It remains the definitive reference on the "methods for grapevine identification together with his descriptions of commercially important American and European grape varieties and rootstocks." Thank you for all you gave us, Dr. Galet.
January 2, 2020 | Wine Business Monthly
The pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is used not only on grapes, but walnuts, almonds and other crops, will be phased out by the end of 2020 in California. The California Department of Food and Agriculture will ban sales beginning February 6. Growers will not be allowed to store chlorpyrifos after December 31. The state has set aside more than $5.7 million in research grants to develop sustainable alternatives.
December 29, 2019 | Wine Business Monthly
Thanks to Wine Business Monthly for this overview of some of the tech presented at our NGRA-ARS Sensor Technology Workshop in November! As writer Ted Rieger notes, the event "presented current sensor knowledge and applications by research scientists working throughout the U.S. representing academia, industry and government agencies." The article includes notes on soil-moisture and light sensors, and the Efficient Vineyard, Open ET, GRAPEX projects.
December 28, 2019 | The New York Times
This article by science reporters Brad Plumer and Coral Davenport of The New York Times cites the relocation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture--and the ensuing attrition--as one example of how "science (is) under attack" in America. "At a time when the United States is pulling back from world leadership in other areas like human rights or diplomatic accords, experts warn that the retreat from science is no less significant," they write. "Many of the achievements of the past century that helped make the United States an envied global power, including gains in life expectancy, lowered air pollution and increased farm productivity are the result of the kinds of government research now under pressure."
December 23, 2019 | Isreal21c
What if the health benefits of a daily glass of red wine could be supersized? Israeli agricultural researchers are working on it. By stressing test vines, s
cientists at Tel-Hai College are
trying to raise the naturally occurring levels of resveratrol, seeking to
make the resulting wine many times healthier, effectively turning it into a superfood that confers exceptional health benefits due to its nutrient density.
December 23, 2019 | Popular Mechanics
Scientists at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have developed a gene-edited tomato plant with shortened vines and clusters of fruit--just like grapes. They used CRISPR technology to alter three genes in the plant's DNA to make it easier to grow tomatoes in extremely challenging conditions like space.
December 17, 2019 | University of California
Four new studies from UC Agriculture & Natural Resources provide details about trellis type, planting density, cost and potential benefit of vineyard mechanization for wine grapes. Each study focuses on a single variety--Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Rubired and Colombard--planted in the southern San Joaquin Valley. "Based on these studies, fully implemented mechanization reduces the production cost from $3,000 to $2,500 per acre and that represents 17% cost reduction," says George Zhuang, UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor for Fresno County.
December 2019 | The Center for Rural Pennsylvania
How much damage could the spotted lanternfly inflict in a single state? Penn State economists released a report estimating the potentially severe economic consequences to Pennsylvania agriculture if the SLF is not contained. At worst (e.g., no mitigation against the spread of the pest), losses could reach as high as $554 million per year and nearly 5,000 jobs--in Pennsylvania alone.
October 3, 2019 | Seven Fifty Daily
Research by Dr. Justine Vanden Heuvel at Cornell University shows that cover crops can benefit vineyards in a number of ways, helping to preserve soil, enrich its health, nutritive properties and water availability, manage vine vigor, and improve even depleted vineyards' yield and productivity. Her study also found that maintaining cover crops instead of using herbicides reduces viticulture costs. "This idea that we can grow vines with open, bare soil, is not a good one," she says.
September 2019 | Oregon State University
'Tis the season...for pruning. Dr. Patty Skinkis at Oregon State University conducted a research trial comparing cane and spur pruning in Oregon, finding that pinot noir can be spur-pruned without yield losses.
September 2019 | Oregon State University
Oregon State University's Drs. James Osborne and Elizabeth Tomasino produced a helpful five-page primer on smoke exposure in grapes. "While there's still a lot we don't know, " they write, "certain practices can help grape growers identify affected grape lots early and reduce skin contact during processing (to) reduce the impact of smoke on the sensory characteristics of wine."
August 27, 2019 | Growing Produce
If you've ever wondered how molecular methods differ from traditional breeding, read this helpful explanation by legendary grape (and berry) breeder Dr. John Clark of the University of Arkansas. For a "traditional plant breeder," he writes, "most decisions (are) based on the phenotype and very little emphasis on the genotype present in the plant."
July 31, 2019 | ABC News
Got goals this new year? Here's some inspiration from an aspiring scientist at Scotland's University of Dundee.
Slovenian Convention Bureau
Did you know that the oldest fruit-bearing grapevine is more than 450 years old? Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, the "Stara Trta" (old vine) has survived since the Middle Ages! It is the variety zametovka and grows in Maribor, Slovenia. Pruning is a ceremonial event and grafts are sent to cities around the world.