September 25, 2019 | MacArthur Foundation
This month, the MacArthur Foundation announced its 2019 fellows. The "genius grants" honor "extraordinary originality" and "big-C creativity," and come with a no-strings-attached, 5-year, $625K grant. Honorees are artists, writers, historians, legal advocates, community activists and yes, scientists--including this year, plant biologist Dr. Zachary Lippman. His work at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory combines traditional plant breeding with genomics to optimize the balance of plant inflorescence and leaf production, using tomato as a model system. But the work has applicability to other fruits. Grapes, Dr. Lippman?
September 19, 2019 | National Science Foundation
Scientists at the University of California, Irvine have developed a machine learning-based model for predicting the size of a wildfire from the moment of ignition. "An analogy is what makes something go viral in social media," said PI Shane Coffield. "We can think about what properties of a tweet or post might make it become really popular--and how you might predict that the moment it's posted or even before it's posted."
September 12, 2019 | Newsweek
Following 25 years of study, researchers at Rutgers University say climate change is degrading the ability of soils to absorb water, which could impact its ability to store CO2. "Our results suggest that how water interacts with soil could change appreciably, and do so fairly rapidly," said co-PI Daniel Giménez.
September 10, 2019 | Morning Ag Clips
A research team led by Dr. Brandon Gaut of the University of California Irvine and Dr. Dario Cantu at UC Davis has deciphered the Chardonnay genome. Their results will further plant breeding by understanding how structural variants, or chromosome changes, in the genomes of Chardonnay (and Cabernet Sauvignon, used as a reference) determine differences in taste, color and more. Both varieties, they found, have about 37,000 genes.
September 10, 2019 | Wine Business Monthly
A promising new treatment therapy to enhance grapevine immunity to Pierce's Disease is being developed by researchers in New Mexico. It uses grape-derived peptides that can be applied to grapevines infected with Xylella fastidiosa, the causative bacterial agent of Pierce's Disease, in order to prevent, suppress or cure PD and increase the productive life of grapevines. Field studies are being supported by CDFA Pierce's Disease/Glassy-winged Sharpshooter Board.
September 9, 2019 | Wine Business
The spotted lanternfly first touched down in Berks Co., PA, in 2014. Not surprisingly, Penn State researchers have been at the forefront of efforts to stop its spread. Click to this great research roundup to learn what they and others have found.
September 8, 2019 | La Cruces Sun News
A study by New Mexico State University seeks to find out how much water is used by three varieties of wine grapes grown in New Mexico vs. how much water the plants receive. The goal, says PI Dr. Gill Giese, is to understand how much water is needed to produce the quantity and quality for the desired production goal, and specific type and style of wine.
September 8, 2019 | Fortune
A little luck and a lot of knowledge can go a long way. The famed Sanford & Benedict Vineyard (with wines from Sanford Winery) was the product of a scientist (Michael Benedict) testing his model for an ideal vineyard environment with a marine-mountain influence.
September 5, 2019 | Genetic Literacy Project
Got time for a little "murder mystery"? This podcast shines a light on how scientists cracked the case of Pierce's Disease.
September 4, 2019 | Wine-Searcher
Phylloxera has been found for the first time in Washington's Walla Walla Valley. It's likely that the pest has been present for at least a decade, as symptoms take 10 to 15 years to manifest. The region is particularly vulnerable to phylloxera because many growers there plant grapevines on their own roots, rather than grafting them onto phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.
September 1, 2019 | Wine Science
In grapes' last stages of ripening (e.g., now), insecticides can't be used to fight the fruit fly, Drosophila suzukii. But there are some biocontrols, including parasitic wasps, nematodes, bacteria, fungi and viruses, that might do the trick.
August 29, 2019 | Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
Scientists at RIT have sequenced the microbiome of tumors of grapevines afflicted with crown gall disease. The study sheds light on the complex interaction between the grapevine and its microbial community, which could lead to better management of one of the most debilitating--and costly--bacterial diseases of grapevines.
August 29, 2019 | The University of Melbourne
Researchers at the University of Adelaide have developed non-destructive, high-tech tools to identify smoke-affected grapes, including infrared thermal image analysis and machine learning modeling based on pattern recognition. "Thermal infrared cameras and near-infrared spectrometers are increasingly available as drone-mounted or handheld instruments that can be attached to smartphones. This makes them more affordable for growers with analysis software in the form of apps," says PI Dr. Sigfredo Fuentes. "We realized that with a relatively small investment and the right software, winemakers could have a solution to smoke taint in their pocket."
August 29, 2019 | Phys.org
A newly published review of grape harvest dates spanning the past 664 years--the longest continuous record ever constructed--shows that wine grapes in Burgundy have been picked an average of 13 days earlier since 1988 than they were in the previous six centuries. Grape harvest dates can be used as a proxy to study climate because wine grapes are very sensitive to temperature and rainfall.
August 27, 2019 | New York Times
Did you know that chemistry's periodic table is 150 years old this year? Some scientists believe it's time to give the table of elements a fresh perspective, as in upside down. And some are trying to expand it, pursuing the "island of stability," a fabled region of the table populated by superheavy elements 119 and 120 with greater longevity. Cue the "Weird Science" soundtrack...
August 26, 2019 | Science Trends
Identifying the effects of smoke exposure on winegrapes is complex. Here, researchers from Stellenbosch University used 12 candidate wines to see whether subthreshold chemistry could affect the wines' aroma, "arguably the most important intrinsic factor used to judge wine quality." One surprising finding: Guaiacol (the phenol most commonly associated with smoke exposure) did not cause the perception of "smoke" unless it was in combination with other phenols.
August 19, 2019 | USDA
Dr. Rodrigo Krugner, an entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, has found an innovative way to control the dreaded glassy-winged sharpshooter: tapping into (and scrambling) the vibrational signals they use as mating calls.
August 6, 2019 | EcoWatch
A University of Vermont study underway now at Shelburne Vineyard is looking at the ecological and economic advantages of grazing sheep in vineyards. Researchers will examine the sheep's impact on the soil, foliage, fruit, farming costs and even the thoughts of Shelburne's customers.
May 20, 2018 | Food Republic
Did you know there are more than 10,000 varieties of winegrapes alone? Yet, of them, only about 1,300 are used in winemaking. Another fun fact: according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 70% of grapes grown worldwide become wine. This article spotlights some wine, table and juice grape varieties you might (or might not) know and love.