February 2019
Advancing research to maximize the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness
 of the American grape industries.

Pruning at Veritas Vineyard and Winery in Virginia

Research is at the heart of NGRA's mission. And now, with several new projects in the works, made possible by our active  Research Theme Committees, committed scientific partners and the new NGRA Research Fund, research is very much part of our day-to-day work.
In This Issue
At NGRA's first-of-year Board meeting in January, each of our Research Theme Committees presented proposals for planning grants to explore researchable topics that emerged from brainstorming meetings they held in summer 2018. All three project ideas were approved, making these the first recipients of funding from our Research Fund:
  • Integrated Production Systems: "High-Resolution Grape and Grapevine Nutrient-Management Tools," focusing on the development of sensors and/or other tools for the non-destructive assessment of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in grapevines
  • Natural Resources & Environment: "Getting to the Root of the Grapevine Growth Model," seeking to develop a growth model in the context of climate change
  • Genetics & Grapevine Improvement: "Functional Grapevine Genomics for Insect Pest Resistance," which will target genetic markers for economically important insect pests--particularly mealybug and foliar phylloxera
And these aren't the only new research projects we're looking to advance! In November 2017, at the Grape Research Workshop we held with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), NGRA offered a planning grant for the topic that resonated most significantly across three separate breakout groups, which was decision support systems and precision viticulture to improve quality and productivity. That planning meeting took place in August 2018, and from there, a project emerged, led by Dr. Walt Mahaffee, USDA-ARS, Corvallis, OR, titled "Ag-RISCS: Risk Inference, Simulation and Cyber-Physical System for Converting Data to Actionable Information in Viticulture." Walt and his scientific team applied for a grant from the USDA's Specialty Crop Research Initiative. We have our fingers crossed for good news.
We are grateful to our colleagues from across the industry, in academia and at the USDA for their support of grape research. It is gratifying to watch ideas move from brainstorm topics to funding proposals and, hopefully, to full projects that will advance the industry. Of course, as with all broad-scale research, it could take years before the work has direct applications in the field. But all journeys start with one small step.
Donnell Brown

P.S. In case you missed the news earlier this month, we are delighted to welcome  Tom Smith of E. & J. Gallo Winery as NGRA's new Vice Chair. Tom was elected at our January annual meeting, where we also re-elected our other awesome officers and elected Board Reps. Click to (re)read the announcement.

With presentations from extension specialists from across the country, tours of the emerging Texas Hill Country wine region and the facilities of both Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Texas Tech University there, and an update from USDA-NIFA's Tom Bewick, this year's National Viticulture & Enology Extension Leadership Conference (NVEELC) is one you won't want to miss! NVEELC 2019 will be held in Fredericksburg, Texas, April 7-9, with an optional viticulture and enology workshop on April 10. Click here to see the complete 2019 program. And click here to register now . We look forward to seeing you in Fredericksburg!
T he  44th Annual Conference of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture-Eastern Section (ASEV-ES) will take place  in Geneva, NY , on  July 16-18, 2019 . Notably, this year's conference, to be held at the Hobart and William Smith Colleges, will reprise the beloved Nelson J. Shaulis Symposium with the theme, "Digital Viticulture: New Tools for Precision Management of Vineyards." Registration is now open for the conference, which will be proudly sponsored in part by NGRA.
ASEV-ES is still accepting abstracts for presentations and posters to be given at the conference. Submit abstracts online or by email by April 15, 2019.  Learn more.
Congratulations to these outstanding scientists who'll be recognized at the 70th-annual  American Society for Enology & Viticulture (ASEV) 2019 National Conference in Napa, CA, June 17-20, 2019, and giving the following award presentations:
  • Merit Award Presentation - Dr. Sara Spayd, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, Emeritus
  • Extension Distinction Award Presentation - Dr. Monica Cooper, University of California Cooperative Extension, Napa County
  • Honorary Research Lecturer - Dr. Sue Ebeler, UC Davis
We look forward to their inspired remarks! Conference registration opens in April.
Registration is now open for the biannual 2019 North American Grape Breeders meeting to be held August 15-16, 2019, at Missouri State University's Fruit Experiment Station in Mountain Grove, MO. The two-day agenda includes vineyard and facility visits, station reports and presentations. Registration is $200; students and post-docs are $100.  Register here. For questions, email Leslie Akers at Missouri State.
Earlier this month, the USDA-ARS rolled out its new online communications platform, Tellus, replacing its legacy AgResearch online magazine. The mobile-enabled platform continues to deliver informative stories about ARS research to stakeholders nationwide, and now includes feature photos, infographics, photo essays and videos. Like ARS' mission, the site's content will range from human nutrition and food safety, to crop and animal production. To subscribe sign up here.
ARS is the USDA's chief scientific in-house research agency, focusing on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America.  Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.

This week, New York Senator Chuck Schumer announced $68.9 million in funding to build a new laboratory for the USDA-ARS Grape Genetics Research Unit (GGRU) at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, NY. The GGRU provides critical information to grape growers across the country through a variety of innovative research programs, including cold tolerance and improved resistance to crop-killing diseases.

Funding for the new GGRU lab will come from the ARS Building and Facilities budget, and was included in the recently passed budget from Congress that ended the federal government shutdown.

"This new facility will provide much needed infrastructure for us to pursue our world-class research," said Gan-Yuan Zhong , Research Leader at the GGRU. "It will accelerate the genetic improvement of grapevines and allow more opportunities for on-site collaborative work connecting cutting-edge genetics research to grow the sustainability and the competitiveness of the U.S. grape industry."

Jan Nyrop , Director of Cornell AgriTech and Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, added, " The new USDA grape research facility at Cornell AgriTech will set the stage for our campus to become the epicenter of grape research not only in New York state, but the world. New technologies and collaboration between our researchers at the facility will increase our capacity to develop higher quality, disease resistant grape varieties."

"It has been Cornell's privilege to lease space to the GGRU for many years," said Cornell President Martha Pollack, "and we are pleased that these world-class scientists will now have a world-class facility of their own."
NGRA proposed appropriations of $10 million annually in support of the GGRU  last year. We're honored and humbled to have helped contribute to the conversation that led to this funding victory!

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) Grants
A joint program of USDA-NIFA and the National Science Foundation, this new competitive grant program's goal is to develop the core system science needed to engineer complex cyber-physical systems that people can use or interact with and depend on. Deadline for applications is April 12, 2019. Learn more here.
Crop Protection and Pest Management Grants
The purpose of the Crop Protection and Pest Management program is to address high priority issues related to pests and their management using IPM approaches at the state, regional and national levels. It supports projects that will ensure food security and respond effectively to other major societal pest management challenges with comprehensive IPM approaches that are economically viable, ecologically prudent, and safe for human health. Deadline to apply is April 16, 2019. Learn more here.

February 21, 2019 | University of California
Because grapevine red blotch virus looks so much like the long-known grapevine leafroll-associated viruses, less is known about how it affects the fitness of the plant. But new research from UC Agriculture & Natural Resources shows that infected vines can't conduct water effectively, leaving the sugar created by photosynthesis stuck in the leaves, resulting in reduced sugar in the berries and lower-quality wine, said UC Cooperative Extension specialist Kaan Kurtural, one of the study authors. The team also deduced that allowing the grapes to hang on the vine longer will not equilibriate fruit composition due to these physiological limitations.
February 18, 2019 | Wine Business Monthly
A new project on Vancouver Island could help growers there and across British Columbia understand how their vines will respond to climate change. PI John Volpe, an ecologist at the University of Victoria, is working with Pinot Gris at three vineyards in the Cowichan Valley, to see how canopy thinning and kaolin clay applications affect grape maturity, physiological ripeness and fruit quality. Initial results should be ready by spring. "The primary benefit of John's research is to tease out how the climate intersects with grape quality," said winemaker Bailey Williamson at Blue Grouse Estate Winery. "It will certainly give credibility to what we're doing."
February 15, 2019 | Good Fruit Grower
Researchers at Washington State University are working with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission to demonstrate that decades-old regulations for pesticides applied via airblast sprayers likely overestimate the risk in modern orchards. The work--and less restrictive labels that could result--could benefit grape growers, too.
February 13, 2019 | Harpers
Could prisons become the next frontier for the growth of vineyard acres...and trained vineyard workers? This vineyard management company in Walla Walla Wine Country may be on to something.
February 8, 2019 | Wine Australia
A new study by Vinehealth Australia was conducted to improve the understanding, epidemiology and potential spread of Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus in the country. First identified in Italy in 2012, the virus was associated with symptoms of grapevine leaf mottling and deformation in Pinot Gris. Since then, it has been found in other wine, table and rootstock varieties across the globe, although many of them do not exhibit symptoms.
February 6, 2019 | Wine Business Monthly
MaryAnn Graf, co-founder of wine labs Vinquiry/Enartis with her husband Marty Bannister, passed away last week. Known as a trailblazer for women in wine, she was the first woman to earn a degree in Enology (then called Fermentation Sciences, in 1965) at UC Davis, the first female winemaker of the modern era in California, and the first woman to serve on the Board of the American Society for Enology & Viticulture. Our thanks to MaryAnn for her groundbreaking leadership
February 5, 2019 | Good Fruit Grower
You may have heard of HydroShield, a coating developed by Oregon State University researcher Clive Kaiser, to help reduce water use in small fruits. In testing it on wine grapes, a version of the substrate was found to attract spotted wing drosophilia. Now it's being tested for use as decoy fruit, "a behavioral disruptor" that reduces the pests' ability to find their soft-fruit targets.
January 31, 2019 | The New York times
The bitter cold over the Midwest last week left many wondering what happened to global warming. Here, The New York Times explains the difference between climate and weather.

January 31, 2019 | Frontiers in Plant Science
How are canopy architecture and access to sunlight expressed in the flavonol profile of wine grapes? As this technical paper from Kaan Kurtural and Johann Martinez (UC Davis) and Luca Brillante (Fresno State) shows, you can tell a lot about vineyard management from the chemistry of the grapes.
January 23, 2019 | Good Fruit Grower
Berry splitting is typically associated with an abundance of water. But one researcher at Washington State University's Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center is finding that drought stress can play a key role.
January 2019 | Ohio Grape Web
If you're a grower who's been hit with arctic temps this winter, the February edition of the Ohio Grape-Wine Electronic Newsletter can help. Click the link above for information on cold hardiness, winter injury (complete with videos to help assess your vines) and an explanation of cold events.

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

March 6, 2019
The Dalles, OR
March 19-21, 2019
Syracuse, NY
April 3, 2019
WAVEx-Smoke Exposure
Richland, WA
April 3, 2019
April 4, 2019
Stockton, CA
Find all upcoming events on the NGRA website.