May 2024

Crosses in process*

A FIELD TRIP TO WOLFSKILL

May began with NGRA’s Mid-Year Board Meeting in Winters, CA. The location was chosen so that Board members could visit the Wolfskill Germplasm Repository there—many for the first time.


UC Davis owns the land where the repository lives: the Wolfskill Experimental Orchards. Named for the family that owned and deeded it to the university, the site has just over 150 acres planted with conservation blocks for 14 fruit and tree nut commodities, spanning everything from almonds to avocados. The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service leases land within the orchards for the repository. Officially called the National Clonal Germplasm Repository and sometimes referred to as the Davis Genebank, the Wolfskill Repository is part of the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System.


USDA-ARS’s Claire Heinitz is the curator there. As our group meandered among the vineyard rows, she and longtime ARS viticulturist Bernie Prins explained that the Wolfskill Repository is home to two plants each of more than 4,000 accessions (defined as genetically distinct examples) of 36 species of grape, including Vitis vinifera and wild grape varieties and native rootstocks from around the world. Together with its sister repository in Geneva, NY, which maintains 1,416 accessions from 27 species of cultivated hybrids with an emphasis on cold-hardy grapevines, these USDA-ARS sites comprise the largest grape germplasm collection in the US and the most diverse on the planet. But not a single grape is used for production or fresh-market sale. That’s because the value in these vines isn’t in the fruit they produce—it’s in their DNA.


These plants are critical assets for grape breeders worldwide. To underscore that point, NGRA’s Board tour of the repository took place during what grape breeders call “crossing season,” when grapevines are flowering and their pollen can be collected. Evidence of crosses in process was everywhere throughout the vineyard, in brown paper bags attached to flowering vines. (See photo above.) Each bag serves to isolate the nascent flowers, allowing breeders to introduce the pollen of another vine with traits of interest and exclude all others. The hope is that the germinated flowers yield the seeds of a new hybrid variety.


We also happened to cross paths with two visiting grape breeders, one from South Korea and one from New York, there for what they called “allele mining.” Armed with oversized tweezers, they were searching for and making crosses with (using said tweezers) vines with specific traits needed to advance their grape breeding goals. This painstaking work relies on research underway now to genotype the entire Wolfskill collection and identify accessions with desirable alleles (genetic traits), creating a kind of catalog for grape breeders. That way, scientists seeking to introgress traits like drought or heat tolerance, disease resistance, upright growth habit, etc., into other, perhaps commercially important varieties will know where to find them. It’s not splashy, sexy research, but it’s vital to accelerating the grapevine improvement and variety development efforts that will sustain the grape and wine industry through climate change, invasive pest incursions, labor shortages and more.


According to curators at the Geneva Genebank, one of the greatest germplasm success stories of all time took place in 19th- and 20th-century Europe. Grapevine pests and pathogens unwittingly imported from North America were wreaking havoc on European vines and severely impacting their fruit quality and yield. North American Vitis species provided resistance to these diseases, sparking an interest in hybrid varieties and ushering in a more global view of grape breeding—one where obscure or native varieties prove useful in averting disaster.


Today, with advances in traditional breeding and biotechnology, our grape germplasm repositories are goldmines of genetic assets with riches yet to be fully explored. The solutions to our modern viticultural concerns may well be preserved among the research blocks there—living archives of grapevines’ genetic diversity.


The USDA-ARS grape germplasm repositories aren’t widely known to industry representatives, so I was pleased that NGRA’s Board members were game to visit these humble research sites. We learned a lot and saw vines that might one day hold the key to the grape and wine industry’s sustainability…and survival. That’s definitely worth the trip!

Donnell Brown

President

*ABOUT THE PHOTO

NGRA Board Chair Jessica Youngblood took this photo during our tour of the Wolfskill Repository. The pollen and flowers isolated inside these bags will hopefully yield a new genetic cross.


AROUND THE INDUSTRY

Support Grape Research!

NGRA’s collaborative approach to finding solutions for the grape and wine industry’s most pressing problems has yielded some $65 million in funded research. Since our founding nearly 20 years ago, supporting NGRA's research mission has been an opportunity reserved for members only. But now, our wider community of friends and fans are invited to help support our work. If you care about advancing and sustaining the industry through scientific research, donate today!

Specialty Crops Get a Boost in Proposed Farm Bill

The Agriculture Committee of the US House of Representatives this month unveiled its version of the new Farm Bill (officially, the Farm, Food and National Security Act of 2024). Acknowledging that the diversity among specialty crops—ranging from fruits [grapes!] and vegetables to tree nuts, nursery crops and floriculture—has previously made the development of the specialty crop safety net particularly challenging, the committees proposed bill provides more than $1 billion for programs that support research and enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and protect them from damaging pests and diseases. In fact, the committee issued a special summary of Farm Bill changes that would directly benefit specialty crop producers.

 

Specific line items in the House version of the Farm Bill that impact grape research include:



  • Specialty Crop Research Initiative: The bill increases mandatory funding for SCRI to $175 million per year, a $95 million increase per year from the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill also gives the USDA’s Secretary of Agriculture the authority to waive the matching funds requirement for SCRI.
  • Specialty Crop Mechanization and Automation Research and Extension Program: This proposed new carve-out of $20 million from total SCRI funding would fund research to develop mechanization and automation technologies for the specialty crop industry.
  • Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program: A $15 million increase in mandatory funding for this existing program would bring it to $90 million a year for efforts to prevent, detect and mitigate invasive pests and diseases.
  • Specialty Crop Block Grant Program: Changes to this state-administered grant program include an increase in mandatory funding of $15 million a year, bringing the annual total to $100 million, and a directive that state program administrators consult with specialty crop producers on program priorities.

 

As NGRA Board member Jim Trezise, president of WineAmerica, writes in his excellent weekly email, The nearly 1,000-page bill has lots of other provisions, including some which will cause problems for passage and/or clash with the Senates version of the bill, which is expected to be released soon. This means an actual new Farm Bill is unlikely to be enacted by the September 30 deadline, so more extensions will be required. But at least some movement is now underway.

USDA Eases Grape Juice Surplus

Section 32 of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services Agricultural Acquisition Regulation allows for the purchase of surplus agricultural products to support domestic markets and address food insecurity. Accordingly, in late April, the USDA committed to purchasing $45 million of surplus Concord grape juice to help stabilize industry prices following successive large crops. The juice will be distributed to nutrition assistance programs across the nation.

 

In a letter to the USDA urging the purchase, US Representative Nick Langworthy of New York said, Bonus buys have served as an effective way to stabilize Concord markets, and carryover inventories across the industry will be at their highest level in nearly two decades. These extraordinarily large crops threaten to upend Concord markets in New York, Washington and Michigan.

Napa Valley College Breaks Ground on Wine Spectator Wine Education Center

On May 17, 2024, Napa Valley College broke ground on its forthcoming Wine Spectator Wine Education Center. Funded through a lead gift of $10 million from Wine Spectator magazine, the center will include two flexible sensory classrooms with seating for up to 80 students, and an upgrade to the existing Trefethen laboratory classroom with 28 lab stations. It will offer degrees in Viticulture, Winemaking and Wine Marketing and Sales, as well as industry certificates in Winery Management and Operations, Vineyard Management, Vineyard Pest Scout, Viticulture Operations, Wine Laboratory Technician and more.

 

The Wine Spectator Wine Education Center is the first of two phases to build The Napa Valley College Wine Education Complex, a 10,000-square foot classroom and training space. The groundbreaking also kicked off a capital campaign to raise $4 million for Phase 2 of the complex: a Wine and Hospitality Training Center.

Anne Fennell Is an Inspiring Woman in Plant Biology

This month, as part of its efforts to continue to build a more equitable and inclusive plant biology community, the American Society of Plant Biologists announced its list of 25 Inspiring Women in Plant Biology. In announcing the honorees, they write, We recognize these 25 women to highlight their achievements and leadership, celebrate their impact in plant biology, and inspire future generations. Grape researcher Anne Fennell, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science at South Dakota State University, was included.


The write-up on Annes inclusion as an inspiring woman, notes that her research on grapevine bud dormancy, cold hardiness and chilling fulfillment has had significant impacts on the global grapevine research community. Her research focuses on Vitis riparia Michx., a North American species [commonly known as riverbank grape] used in grapevine rootstocks around the world. Her group has developed genomic resources including a complete genome for a northern ecotype of this Native American species, that is used in breeding for cold hardiness. Anne has been a member of all three NGRA-supported VitisGen projects.

Clean Plants Need You!

Viral diseases have cost the grape and wine industry billions of dollars. Often, the use of infected planting materials is a primary cause of these diseases. Consequently, both the USDA and industry invest heavily in producing and maintaining a supply of clean, disease-tested planting materials via the National Clean Plant Network.


Drs. Jie Li and Miguel Gomez at Cornell University invite industry representatives to participate in their USDA-funded research, titled Factors Affecting Vineyard Growers’ Demand for Clean, Certified Plant Material. With a short, five-minute survey, the study seeks to identify the key challenges that influence vineyard growers adoption of clean, certified grape plant material. Take the survey before June 15, 2024.


Your insights are invaluable. They will deepen the researchers understanding of the challenges you face in adopting clean, certified grapevines and significantly influence industry standards and strategies to combat viral grapevine diseases.

RESEARCH FOCUS

Using Non-GMO Gene Editing to Make Disease-Resistant Grapes

By David Tricoli and Juan Debernardi, Plant Transformation Facility, UC Davis

 

The Plant Transformation Facility at UC Davis is pursuing research that could have long-lasting effects, not only on grape breeding and plant improvement, but on the profitability and sustainability of the grape and wine industry. We are currently exploring innovative ways to use CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing techniques to improve grapevines by, among other things, conferring disease resistance.

 

What is CRISPR-Cas9?

CRISPR-Cas9 is a gene editing technology that allows geneticists to make precise changes in an organism’s genetic blueprint: its DNA. It is currently being used with great success in both agriculture and human healthcare. The system uses a protein called Cas9, an enzyme that can be conceived as “molecular scissors,” that is very efficient at cutting DNA. Because researchers do not want the enzyme to cut the DNA randomly at any location, they link the Cas9 protein to a guide RNA which escorts it to the specific location of the DNA they want to cut. This requires in-depth knowledge of the grapevine genome, including the location of genes that control traits of interest.

 

There are various methods for delivering the CRISPR-Cas9 into animal or human cells. However, plant cells are different. They’re encased in cell walls that prevent easy entry of editing tools into the cell, making it more difficult to use CRISPR-Cas9 or other gene editing tools in plants. Earlier approaches to genetically modify plants commonly used a bacterium called Agrobacterium tumefaciens to gain entry to plant cells. However, this process introduces foreign DNA into the plants blueprint, creating a genetically modified organism or GMO.

 

Our lab is taking a new approach, using protoplasts of grapevine cells in combination with CRISPR-Cas9 to create improved grapevines that are not GMOs.

 

Protoplasts as a solution

Protoplasts are plant cells that have had their cell walls removed. These cells are very delicate and require careful manipulation of the culture solution in which they are grown. If the pressure of the solution outside the protoplast is not adjusted to match the pressure of the conditions within the cell, the protoplasts will either implode or burst. However, once researchers determined how to maintain protoplasts in the appropriate solution, they were able to use gene editing delivery techniques that are similar to those used for animal cells to edit the DNA of plant cells.

 

One practical consideration, however, is that an edited plant cell is not useful to grape growers or winemakers unless it can be stimulated to re-form a whole plant. Our lab has developed a protocol to do just that, and we’ve been able to successfully grow both table grapes and wine grapes from protoplasts.

 

Proof of concept in grapevines

We initially tested our editing system by turning off a gene called phytoene desaturase or PDS. This gene is required to make plants green in color, so deactivating it would enable us to clearly observe whether our editing protocol was successful, since the resulting plants would be white (albino). We were able to successfully create albino plants in the table grape Thompson Seedless, white wine grape Colombard, and red wine grape Merlot. Having demonstrated that the technology works for grapevines, we’re working on applying it to improve relatively simple, single-gene traits like fruit quality, flavor and disease resistance.

 

Using protoplast-mediated gene editing for disease resistance

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pierce’s Disease/Glassy-Winged Sharp Shooter Board provided funding for a project investigating the use of protoplast-mediated gene editing to make grapevines resistant to powdery mildew, one of the most common and economically important diseases of grapevine that is currently controlled using chemical applications.

 

Plants have susceptibility genes that pathogens use to infect them. By knocking out these genes, the pathogens’ ability to infect the plant is compromised. The susceptibility gene Mildew Locus O (MLO) is required for powdery mildew to infect grapevines and many other plants. By knocking out this gene in grapevines, we hope to produce plants resistant to powdery mildew that would not require fungicide applications.

 

Importantly, unlike transgenic technology, our technique does not use foreign DNA to create the edits. So, as we work to turn off the plant’s susceptibility genes, the resulting edited plants will be considered to be non-GMO. In fact, according to the Biotechnology Regulations (previously called the SECURE Rule) released by USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service in 2020, plants that are the product of non-transgenic transformation are considered on par with varieties developed via classical breeding approaches and even natural evolution.

 

As we apply this new technology to grapevine improvement, we’re eager to see if we can create edited versions of the grape and wine industry’s most valuable varieties that are no longer susceptible to powdery mildew.

 

See a short video, courtesy of the PD/GWSS Board, in which David illustrates this gene editing technique.

Funding Opportunities

Foundational Research in Robotics

This new grant program is offered by the National Science Foundation in collaboration with USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to advance foundational research in agricultural robotics. It supports research to create innovative robots with unprecedented new functionality. Potential proposers are encouraged to supply a letter of intent to determine project applicability for this program.


Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Sustainable Agricultural Systems

This USDA-NIFA grant program seeks to sustainably increase US food and agricultural production in the context of diminishing land and water resources, changing climate and increasing frequency of extreme weather events, threats of outbreaks of diseases and pests, and challenges to human health and wellbeing. Solutions to these challenges will optimize agricultural productivity; ensure safe, affordable and nutritious supply of food; invigorate and realize the promise of the bioeconomy; and promote the development of a talented agricultural workforce. Deadline to apply is June 6, 2024.

Applying for a grant? Request a letter of support!

NGRA is pleased to provide letters of support for research projects that directly address our industry research priorities. Request a letter via our online request form at least two weeks prior to the grant deadline (or any internal deadline you may have). Requests are reviewed and approved by NGRA Research Committee leadership, so processing times may vary.

IN THE NEWS

High Stalks: Could Rhubarb Be New York State’s Next Big Crop?

May 20, 2024 | Cornell Chronicle

Rhubarb Red? Cornell AgriTech’s Christine Smart hopes to develop rhubarb cultivars with many different flavors and colors, working with Chris Gerling at the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute to trial different rhubarb varieties in craft beverages, including wine. The team has 100 plants of four rhubarb cultivars planted. This is the first year the stalks can be harvested for use.

 

Cornell’s Digital Viticulture Tools Help Grape Growers Worldwide

May 17, 2024 | Cornell CALS

One thousand vineyard managers—a new milestone—from all over the world are benefiting from the NGRA-initiated Efficient Vineyard project via the MyEV online app to help them measure, model and manage their way to improved balance of vine growth and crop size. Efficient Vineyard has not only broadened its user base but increased the scope of the precision viticulture inputs and information it integrates into the app. MyEV now offers spatial soil mapping to make decisions on fertilizer or lime applications and profit mapping to see what sections of the vineyard are making or losing money.


New Method Produces Fresher, Tastier Cold-Pressed Concord Grape Juice

May 16, 2024 | Cornell Chronicle

New research from Cornell AgriTech enables Concord grape juice to be cold-pressed, yielding antioxidant-rich, fresher and tastier juice with a longer shelf life. Traditionally, the juice is hot-pressed and thermal-pasteurized, which diminishes shelf life and can alter flavor. The new method combines pulsed electric field and high-pressure pressing to extract color and bioactive compounds from the skin and render juice in seconds with minimal changes in temperature.


Even Fermentation Is Now Being Hampered by Climate Change

May 15, 2024 | The Drinks Business

Between wild starts and slow sparks, winemakers are feeling the effects of climate change in the fermentation process. On-skin fermentation can help ensure a more reliable fermentation, some say, but it’s not suitable for all varieties. “I don’t have a recipe for anything,” one winemaker is quoted. “It’s simply a matter of being present each day, tasting and observing the arc of the fermentation.”


Climate Trends Bring More Spring Freeze Damage to New York Vineyards

May 15, 2024 | American Vineyard Magazine

Listen in as Tim Martinson, Senior Viticulture Extension Associate Emeritus at Cornell University, talks about how earlier budburst is increasing the risk of freeze damage in New York vineyards, up to and including this spring. Topical treatments and double-pruning might help, but “those sound expensive to me,” Tim says. Mostly, avoiding frost risk comes down to site and variety selection.


No Love for Mealybug Menace of Vineyards

May 13, 2024 | USDA-ARS News Service

Scientists at USDA-ARS have discovered two key olfactory receptors that alert male mealybugs to the presence of females via their unique pheromone. They’re now contemplating using the breakthrough to aid in mating disruption and new detection methods. (Editor’s note: NGRA is supporting this exciting work.)


The Science of Rotundone in Wine

May 13, 2024 | SevenFifty Daily

Rotundone, the chemical compound responsible for the peppery flavor in some grapes, such as Australian Shiraz, eluded detection for years. It’s present in grapes in mere nanograms. But if you were to add just one drop to an Olympic-sized swimming pool, the water would taste of pepper. Researchers at the Australian Wine Research Institute discovered the compound in 2007, finding its created when alpha-guaiene is coupled with oxygen.


ExtensionBot to Answer Ag, Extension Questions

May 9, 2024 | Southwest Farm Press

A new, national, AI-powered tool called ExtensionBot will soon help people with ag-related questions quickly find Extension information online. Now in its final phase of development by Oklahoma State University Agriculture and the Extension Foundation, ExtensionBot will connect users with expertise from Cooperative Extension systems across the country. It’s expected to launch later this year. Check out the pilot phase by visiting extension.okstate.edu and clicking on the cowboy hat icon at the bottom right corner of your screen.


Understanding Trellis ‘Anatomy’ for Cold Climate Grape Establishment

May 8, 2024 | University of Minnesota Extension Fruit and Vegetable News

Trellises provide the support needed to train trunks and cordons, guide shoots, and uphold the crop weight of a fully ripened grapevine without collapsing. There are many two- and three-dimensional designs, the “form (of which) determines its function,” but they all feature six functional features, UMN Extension Educator - Fruit Production Madeline Wimmer explains.


Why You May Soon Be Drinking Synthetic Coffee

May 3, 2024 | The Wall Street Journal

Not grape research, but a familiar story: Thanks to climate change, it’s possible that half or more of the land best suited to growing coffee will become unsuitable for that purpose by 2050. Some companies are experimenting with “pseudo-coffee” made from ingredients like chickpeas and date pits. Others are using lab-grown cells from actual coffee plants to make “beanless coffee alternatives” in bioreactors. And in partnership with corporate partners like Starbucks, coffee breeders are racing to develop coffee trees tolerant to heat stress and fungal disease.


Stems Change the Style of Wines, Provided You Use A Lot

May 3, 2024 | Vitisphere

Research on Pinot noir, Gamay and Merlot in Burgundy, Beaujolais and Bordeaux highlighted the role stems—and their component molecules—play in winemaking. At low concentrations, stems have very little effect on pH or alcohol content. However, the presence of stems during winemaking increases astilbin content, a sweet molecule in dry red wine. For merlot, the increase is disproportionately higher than in other varieties.



New Guides to Better Grape Growing

May 2024 | Washington Wine Industry Foundation

The Washington Wine Industry Foundation this month released two new sets of tools for the Northwest grape and wine industry. New Cost-of-Production Calculators are designed to help determine the economics of developing or expanding conventional and organic wine grape and juice grape vineyards, and wineries of six different sizes. And Clean Plant Guides explain the differences in nursery certifications and their role in protecting Washingtons grape and wine industries from devastating pests and diseases.


Does Vineyard Nitrogen Impact Wine Sensory?

May 2024 | HiRes Vineyard Nutrition Podcast

Nitrogen is important for a healthy wine fermentation, but does the source of nitrogen matter? Should it be added in the vineyard or the winery? In this episode, Megan Mershon, graduate research assistant at Virginia Tech, describes research they are conducting to compare wine sensory response from nitrogen trials they’ve conducted in the NGRA-initiated HiRes Vineyard Nutrition Project.


Table Grape Tasks: Considerations for Foliar Nutrient Application

May 2024 | American Vineyard Magazine

If you’re a table grape grower, applying vine nutrients to foliage vs. via soil has several advantages. They go on more uniformly, can be absorbed readily by leaves and berries, can be tank-mixed with pesticides for concurrent application, and are applied at a lower rate, so more economical. But there are a lot of unknowns around foliar fertilization, such as critical nutrition values for the 90+ varieties of table grapes, phytotoxicity risks and compatibilities for tank mixes. (Story on p. 12.)

 

Recent Advances in Topical RNA Application for Grapevine Protection against Grapevine Red Blotch Virus

May 2024 | OSU Vine to Wine

Laurent Deluc’s lab at Oregon State University has been working on Spray-Induced Gene Silencing (SIGS) for Grapevine Red Blotch Virus. The concept is to spray leaves with a solution of specific double-strand RNA molecules related to GRBV to trigger RNA interference in the vine to prevent the virus. Christian Mandelli, a Ph.D. student in Laurent’s lab, has pinpointed key viral RNA sequences and pioneered a nanomaterial to ensure successful delivery of the molecules.


Coordinated Neighborhood Effort to Control Vine Mealybug in Southern Oregon Pays off after First Year 

May 2024 | OSU Vine to Wine

A neighborhood effort among grapegrowers in Southern OR successfully squashed vine mealybug (VMB) with help from Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Agriculture. State-approved emergency funds were granted in 2022 when VMB was first detected in Jackson County. Less than one year later, zero VMBs were found. Alec Levin, who led the initiative, said that the growers gathered at an April meeting “understood that the problem was not solved, as VMB is not considered eradicated. (But) the group was confident that they could continue to control VMB in 2024 and into the future.”


Long Spur Pruning as an Alternative to Cane Pruning for Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough

April 29, 2024 | Bragato Research Institute

In response to labor reductions in New Zealand’s Marlborough region, the Bragato Research Institute began trialing a new pruning technique. Called long spur pruning, it leaves longer spurs (four or five per shoot) than traditional two-bud spurs. Two years into this three-year trial, it’s showing the potential to deliver similar yield and quality, while reducing labor inputs and enabling more mechanization than the cane pruning favored by growers there.


A Variety-Specific Analysis of Climate Change Effects on California Winegrapes

April 23, 2024 | International Journal of Biometeorology

Grape research led by the USDA California Climate Hub models the change in phenology for six winegrape varieties and viticulturally important agroclimate metrics for 12 California AVAs by the mid-21st century. Results show earlier budburst, flowering, veraison and maturation across all varieties and AVAs. Cabernet Sauvignon and the West Sonoma Coast AVA show the most change, while Chardonnay and Lodi AVA the least. An additional month of potentially damaging heat days (above 35°C or 95°F) may be in store for some AVAs.


North Coast Viticulture Challenges and Resources for Climate Change Adaptation and Management

April 23, 2024 | Wine Business Monthly

“We don’t see a strong upward trend in daily maximum temperatures, however, we are seeing an upward trend in daily minimum temperatures in summer and winter,” said UC Cooperative Extension Napa County Viticulture Advisor Monica Cooper on a UC Davis webinar focused on “Emerging and Future Challenges in Viticulture.” She added that the “increased prevalence in summer of ‘tropical’ nights” has reduced the diurnal shift, which influences grape ripening and quality development.


Biochar—an Ancient Farming Method—Is Finding New Life Improving Soil and Burying Carbon

April 22, 2024 | NPR

Biochar may look like charcoal, but it’s an ancient preparation from agricultural waste. It’s made by heating crops’ leftover biomass at high temperature with extremely low oxygen, trapping the carbon dioxide that remains in plant tissues. Burying it sequesters carbon, improves soil, reduces the need for fertilizer, and may help crops survive longer in droughts, biochar proponents say.


New Decision Support System for Irrigation Efficiency

April 4, 2024 | Sustainable Winegrowing with Vineyard Team

In this Vineyard Team podcast, José Manuel Mirás Avalos of the Spanish National Research Council talks about his work on a prototype decision support system for the irrigation and fertigation of winegrapes. It uses weather, soil moisture and type, evapotranspiration, vine spacing, budbreak timing, variety and wine quality goals to help growers make more informed irrigation decisions, particularly around scheduling, throughout the growing season.


Research Revealing Grapevine Root Relationships

April 2, 2024 | Good Fruit Grower

The size, function and location of grapevine roots influence how they interact with soil microbes. But as Penn State root biologists will attest, there’s still a lot to learn, especially about the effects of those interactions on plant health. Because the root microbiome is underground, it’s difficult to observe. Researchers are now using molecular techniques to study the microbial communities around roots. “We’re just beginning to get our heads around how to look at microbes,” said Penn State professor emeritus David Eissenstat.


The Effect of Soil Parameters on Plant-Parasitic Nematodes of Wine Grapes in Washington and Oregon

April 2024 | Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research

Grape research funded by the Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research found that soil texture in WA and OR vineyards has no influence on nematodes, although permanganate oxidizable carbon can help boost resistance. Soil acidity can play a role, too, but only for northern root-knot nematodes that live inside roots and thrive in acidic (low pH) soil. Researchers also are working on a computer model to automate nematode egg counting that can be useful in generating nematode risk maps, making planting decisions and IDing nematode invaders.

Find these stories and more, published every weekday, on our Facebook and X (Twitter) feeds. You can also find us on LinkedIn. Use #graperesearch to join and grow the conversation!

UPCOMING EVENTS

June 5, 2024

Oregon State University Department of Food Science and Technology

Taste of Research

Corvallis, OR


June 5, 2024

Oakville Grape Day

Oakville, CA


June 6, 2024

Cornell Lake Erie Regional Grape Program

Precision and Digital Viticulture Field Day

Portland, NY


June 13, 2024

ASEV-ES Hang Time Webinar

Interpreting Tissue Sample Results

Virtual event


June 17-20, 2024

ASEV National Conference

Portland, OR


July 9-11, 2024

ASEV-Eastern Section Conference

Cleveland, OH


July 9-12, 2024

In Vino Analytica Science Conference

Davis, CA


August 7, 2024

WSU/Washington State Grape Society Viticulture Field Day

Walla Walla, WA


August 8, 2024

ASEV-ES Hang Time Webinar

A Review of Grape-Growing Technologies

Virtual event


August 22-23, 2024

Michigan State University Dirt to Glass Conference

Traverse City, MI

Find all upcoming events on the NGRA website.

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