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

Deck the halls with grapevines, as Michigan's Youngblood Vineyard does with pruned Petite Pearl canes
It's our last newsletter of the year and normally that would mean a round-up of the year's best. But since I covered NGRA's research accomplishments of 2019 last month, here, I thought I'd share three moments of pride or progress that help make NGRA a better organization or me a better steward of it, that may not otherwise register on a list of things we achieved.
In This Issue
A highlight of 2019 was NGRA's office move. We had been at our old location across from the California State Capitol for so long that it was hard to imagine the business anywhere else. But in August, we found ourselves in brand-new digs in a locally owned co-working space called The Urban Hive . The light and energy in our new office is so different from the more traditional space we were in that it's hard to imagine being there now! We're surrounded by creative, entrepreneurial types who, like us, come to work eager to move the needle every day. We welcome visitors, so if you're in Sacramento, please swing by!
Also in August, I was inducted into an organization called Les Dames d'Escoffier International (LDEI). Membership in LDEI is by invitation only; there are fewer than 2,500 members worldwide, representing the fields of contemporary gastronomy, agriculture, viticulture and enology, and hospitality. Joining LDEI had been a dream of mine since I first entered the wine industry and met Dr. Louisa Hargrave, the pioneer (with her then-husband) of the Long Island, NY, wine region. Louisa was the first "Dame" I ever met, and since then, all the Dames I've known have been women I have greatly admired and respected, women at the top of their game, like NGRA members Dolores Cakebread, co-founder of Cakebread Cellars, and Nicole Salengo, winemaker at Beryessa Gap Vineyards . I wasn't sure when or how I'd ever be worthy of membership, but in 2019, I was asked to join. It's an honor for me and gives a new visibility and credibility to NGRA and my role here.
Lastly, two emails arrived just before Christmas that made my heart swell with pride. Two of the research projects NGRA supplied planning grants for in 2019 and for which pre-proposals were submitted for SCRI grants were invited to make full proposals this cycle. Of course, it's no guarantee of funding. But it is an affirmation that we're on the right track with our Research Fund. The relatively low cost of bringing scientists together with industry members to transform an idea into a research team and structured project brings clarity and relevance to the science, and thereby gives a competitive edge to their applications for funding. We'll keep our fingers crossed for both projects in 2020.
I hope your own 2019 was filled with shining moments and that 2020 promises many successes, too--particularly as they relate to advancing the wine and grape industry through science!
Happy New Year,
Donnell Brown
The next annual National Viticulture and Enology Extension Leadership Conference (NVEELC) will be held April 26-29, 2020, in Ithaca, NY. Co-chaired by Anna Katharine Mansfield and Hans Walter-Peterson of Cornell University, the event will kick off with a welcome reception on Sunday evening, April 26, and conclude with an optional half-day workshop on data visualization on Wednesday, April 29. If you're an outreach or extension specialist in the grape and wine industry, mark your calendar! More details to come. NGRA is proud to support this annual grassroots event.
This month, UC Davis officially released five new (and newly named) Pierce's Disease-resistant winegrape varieties, the product of Dr. Andy Walker's traditional breeding program. The highly anticipated new varieties include three red selections and two whites, and have V. vinifera parentage as high as 97%. The five varieties are ready for patenting and release. There will be limited amounts of plant material available for propagation in 2020 as only a few of the grape nurseries participated in a pre-release multiplication program. Much more will be available in 2021. The Pierce's disease resistance breeding program continues, and more selections are approaching release.
Who's the fastest pruner in the Northeast? We'll find out January 31 at the  second-annual pruning contest, sponsored by FELCO and hosted by Cornell University's Viticulture & Enology Program and held at NGRA member Anthony Road Wine Company.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF, an NGRA member-organization) launched a new Facebook-based advertising campaign to promote New York State's Concord grape industry. The ads seek to appeal to small to mid-sized wineries to consider Concord grapes and bulk juice as an additional source of quality product. NYWGF will target Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, where there are 1,609 U.S. wineries that aren't currently growing or making wines with Concord grapes. With taglines like, "If you want a big seller, you don't need a big cellar," the ads highlight the ease of accessing New York State-grown Concord grape juice and its potential to help increase production and boost profits. The marketing effort is funded by a $50,000 Specialty Crop Block Grant, and is one of several steps being taken to help strengthen the state's juice-grape industry by expanding research, investing in product and market development, and expanding marketing and promotional programs to increase growth.
The California Association of Winegrape Growers, an NGRA-member organization, annually awards  college scholarships to students whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California winegrape grower. Awards are up to $8,000; the deadline to apply is March 6, 2020.  Learn more.
In honor of Bill Power, honor the late owner of Badger Mountain Winery, the Washington Wine Industry Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2020 Powers Sabbatical. Each year, it awards up to $5,000 for a winegrape grower or winemaker to take a sabbatical in an established wine-producing region of the world to learn more about the trade, further their professional career and ultimately benefit Washington's grape and wine industry in the spirit of Mr. Powers. The deadline for applications is April 30, 2020.  Learn more about the 2020 Powers Sabbatical and apply.

This past harvest season, the California Table Grape Commission supported field testing of an autonomous robot called Burro, developed by Augean Robotics. Using computer vision and artificial intelligence, the Burro autonomous cart improved productivity in table grape vineyards, where a small fleet was tested in place of manual wheelbarrows. The patent-pending Burro enabled crews of 8 to 12 people to pick and pack 42% more fruit in a day, according to Augean, which is now taking orders for Spring 2020 delivery. The company also is developing attachments for the Burro, including a sprayer and a trailer towing package.  See videos of the Burro at work .  
Project Director Dr. Anita Oberholster and fellow scientists at UC Davis, UC Berkeley and Oregon State University were awarded a four-year, $3 million SCRI grant from USDA-NIFA to study Grapevine Red Blotch Disease, including its spread and potential vectors, and the economic impact of the disease (and any treatment) on grape production and wine quality. "Red blotch is a huge new problem for the grape industry, and this is the first large government grant to study it," says Dr. Oberholster. NGRA proudly serves on the advisory panel for this project, entitled, "Ecobiology, Impact and Management of Grapevine Red Blotch Virus and Its Vector(s) in California and Oregon Vineyards." See the full project summary on the NIFA website.

The Unified Grant Management system for viticulture and enology research is open for proposals now through January 31. RFPs are posted for the American Vineyard Foundation, California Grape Rootstock Improvement Commission, California Grape Rootstock Research Foundation, California Table Grape Commission, CDFA Pierce's Disease/Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter Board, Oregon Wine Board and (new this year) Washington State Wine. Explore these open funding opportunities.

December 23, 2019 | The Drinks Business
Fires sweeping through Australia's Adelaide Hills have destroyed 3,300 ha of vines, or roughly one-third of the region. Jared Stringer, vice-chair of the Adelaide Hills Wine Region, said the area destroyed or damaged produces the equivalent of 794,000 cases of wine, worth AU$20 million. "This is going to have extraordinary effects," he added. Our hears are with our Australian colleagues.

December 19, 2019 | University of California
A new UC Cooperative Extension study funded by the Lake County Winegrape Commission shows that, when it comes to wildfires, smoke's effect on grapes is anything but uniform. Factors include wind direction and speed, temperature, intensity and duration, fruit maturity and vineyards' proximity to an active fire. The study's intent is to give growers and winemakers methods to predict and assess smoke damage to fruit--and its economic impacts. It is "already proving useful in helping to propel the development of industry standards and protocols," says Commission President Debra Sommerfield.
December 17, 2019 | The Drinks Business
Thanks to a gift by Larkmead Vineyards, the documents of the late Dr. Harold Olmo of UC Davis will be digitized in hopes of "uncover(ing) elements of Olmo's research that could provide new insight into modern-day viticulture practices." Dr. Olmo released more than 30 wine and table grape varieties and is best known for developing the Cabernet Sauvignon "Oakville" clones that helped cement Napa Valley's global reputation.
December 16, 2019 | University of Minnesota
A University of Minnesota research team has developed faster, easier methods to produce gene-edited plants, including grapes. By eliminating the arduous requirements of tissue culture (so long, sterile lab!) and drastically reducing the time to edit plant genes from months to weeks, the new methods represent a viable approach for small, even garage-based labs, "democratizing" plant gene editing.
December 9, 2019 | Mental Floss
After hearing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" ad nauseum this season, you may start to wonder, what is figgy pudding anyway? Hint: raisins (not figs) are involved.
December 9, 2019 | Cornell Chronicle
What makes the grape berry moth lay its eggs on grapes and not other fruits? The answer isn't entirely clear, but new research from scientists at Cornell University and Penn State points to some possible cues. New Cornell research investigates how grape berry moths, a pest for grapes, find their targets amid a sea of other plants in the landscape.
December 9, 2019 | Wine Australia
Research from Charles Sturt University has identified a promising biocontrol for eutypa and botryosphaeria dieback. In lab tests, strains of the Pseudomonas bacteria was shown to be as much as 80% effective at reducing the rate of infection of these trunk diseases. More work is needed, they say, but it's an important breakthrough on the control of GTDs.
December 5, 2019 | Wine Business Monthly
Colleagues gathered to honor former UC Davis professor David Smart, who retired in 2018 for health reasons. In his nearly two decades at the university, his research focused on rootstock root physiology and soil nutrient cycling, and he was extensively involved in global climate change research. At the event, speakers shared their experiences working with Dr. Smart, recalling quotes like this one: "'There is no room in science for perfection.'"
December 5, 2019 | National Wine and Grape Industry Centre
New research from the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre of New South Wales finds that, when doing tissue analysis to estimate grapevine nutrient status, it's important to use the whole petiole. The research by scientists from the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Charles Sturt University reveals significant differences in the nutrient status of different parts of the petiole. "We found more than a two-fold difference in the level of potassium between the middle portion of the petiole and the portion closer to the leaf, [and] a 20% difference in phosphorus," they report.
December 2, 2019 | Washington State University
A team of researchers, including two at Washington State University, is developing a sustainable alternative to traditional de-icers using grape skins and other agricultural waste. Interestingly, like winemaking, the process involves fermentation. Drink up, snowy roads!
December 2019 | California PD/GWSS Board
Upon the reemergence of Pierce's disease in Napa and Sonoma counties in 2015, with up to 25% vines showing symptoms in sample vineyards, this UC Berkeley-led project was initiated to explore shifts in PD's epidemiology. In this final report, the team's findings point to the potential for vine-to-vine spread in vineyards, spittlebugs as vectors, and other ecology-based management practices.
November 29, 2019 | The Washington Post
Warren Winiarski, founder of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, and owner of Arcadia Vineyards, has helped to make grape history--more than once. His 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars SLV Cabernet Sauvignon was the top-scoring red wine in the Judgment of Paris. And now, he's the first winemaker to receive the Smithsonian's James Smithson Bicentennial Medal.
November 27, 2019 | Good Fruit Grower
Cheers to Oregon State University's Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center, where viticulturist Dr. Alexander Levin and plant pathologist Dr. Achala KC have brought a renewed focus to the region's winegrape production. Both came to the center in 2016 and have launched research programs targeting grapevine red blotch, rootstocks and irrigation, and more.

November 2019 | Oregon Wine Research Institute
Do winegrape cultivars respond differently to water deficits? Here, Oregon State University's Dr. Alexander Levin reports on a study observing the differences in stomatal behavior of 20 cultivars grafted on the same rootstock. The results suggest that a one-size-fits-all irrigation management strategy may not be your best bet.
November 2019 | Oregon Wine Research Institute
The multi-discipline research team working on the USDA Intelligent Sprayer Project has moved from proof of concept to evaluation of standard sprayers retrofitted with intelligent spray system (ISS) components. Overall, they report, the ISS should prove to be an effective system to reduce pesticide quantity, water and/or labor.
October 17, 2019 | American Vineyard Magazine
Recent developments and technological advances in plant and soil sensing has taken precision viticulture to a whole new level. Watch this interview with UC Davis Viticulture Extension Specialist Kaan Kurtural from American Vineyard Magazine to learn how vineyard managers are putting it into practice.

September 2019  | Oregon Wine Research Institute
'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.

Find these stories and more, published as we find them, on the NGRA Facebook page.
January 8, 2020
Easton, CA

January 14-16, 2020
Seattle, WA
January 14: Optional pre-conference tech talk Leading-Edge Precision in Viticulture,  at NGRA member Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, WA

January 21, 2020
Davis, CA
January 20-23, 2020
VinCO Conference & Trade Show
Grand Junction, CO
February 3, 2020
Annual Meeting of the Members & First-of-Year Board Meeting
Sacramento, CA
February 4-6, 2020
S acramento, CA

February 5, 2020
Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award Presentation at the WGA Annual Leadership Luncheon
Co-located with the Unified Symposium
Sacramento, CA

February 11, 2020
Led by NGRA Board member, Deborah Golino
Davis, CA

February 11-12, 2020
Portland, OR

February 11-13, 2020
Tulare, CA

February 17-18, 2020
Dublin, OH

February 20-22, 2020
Rochester, MN

February 20-21, 2020
USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum
Arlington, VA
February 19: Pre-conference field trip includes a tour of the USDA's Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, MD

February 20-22, 2020
Franklin, TN

February 20-22, 2020
Irving, TX

February 25, 2020
Lodi Grape Day
Lodi, CA

February 26-28, 2020
Rochester, NY

February 27, 2020
St. Helena, CA

March 2-5, 2020
Kennewick, WA

March 4-6, 2020
Columbia, MO

March 10-12, 2020
Lancaster, PA

March 19, 2020
Fredonia, NY

Find all upcoming events on the NGRA website.