Grape Expectations

Grape Expectations

It’s a bold goal, but even coming close to achieving it would benefit anyone associated with the U.S. table grape, raisin, and wine industries: Tripling the economic impact of these industries by 2020. That’s the stated goal of a new group called the National Grape and Wine Initiative (NGWI).

The initiative’s genesis came out of the realization that growers and other industry members need to compete in a global market, so it would make sense for them to reach across industry lines and join forces, says the NGWI’s administrator, Ken Melban. The group’s board represents a broad cross-section of the grape business. “There are people from juice, fresh, wine, and raisin industries,” he says. “We want to make sure all components are represented, as well as all geographic regions.”

A lot of people have hailed the Australians for the success of their winegrape industry, and NGWI founders also looked Down Under for inspiration, says the board chairman, Tom Davenport of Welch’s National Grape Cooperative in New York. “The Australians clearly defined their objective — capture a significant share of the world wine market. They then developed specific research strategies to support that objective,” he states in the NGWI newsletter. “Their focus on producing high-quality, low-cost wine products that would appeal to consumers’ palates have proven extremely successful. NGWI chose a similar model, one that represents our unique grape products and regional diversity.”

Improve Profitability

Davenport, who will turn the chairmanship over to E&J Gallo Winery’s Mary Wagner at the next meeting, which will be held in conjunction with the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium later this month in Sacramento, CA, noted that early on growers and other industry members took a practical view of the effort. “During our journey, we were asked by industry producers how the initiative would help them on their farms, in their wineries and their other grape-related businesses,” he says. “The simple answer is, the results will enable each segment of our industry to improve profitability. If we don’t continue to focus on efficiency and quality, some other countries will, and they will put us out of business.”

The critical first step was working together on health-related research. This past summer they brought together scientific experts representing the table grape, juice, raisin, and wine sectors to develop strategies for expanding the research on and increasing awareness of the health benefits of grapes and grape products among consumers and people who influence health, such as doctors. Participants included representatives from the California Table Grape Commission, the California Raisin Board, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, and the National Grape Cooperative, as well as senior researchers from major privately-held juice and wine companies.

“Grapes and grape products are known to contain an array of bioactive constituents that research indicates may be beneficial in maintaining health and possibly reducing the risk of certain diseases,” said Davenport. “The goal of this meeting was to determine how, working together, we can focus and leverage our efforts in uncovering and truly defining that potential, so that consumers and industry can benefit from this knowledge.”

A number of strategies for accomplishing this goal were outlined. One such initiative may involve showcasing the current science on grapes and grape products through a scientific symposium. NGWI has identified five priority areas in which to focus research: 1) improving product quality; 2) exploring and promoting the health benefits of grapes and grape products; 3) enhancing technologies for improved vineyard and production systems; 4) improving environmentally-friendly and sustainable farming and processing practices; and 5) ensuring industry member awareness of, and access to, grape and grape product research findings. Other NGWI activities include the following:

– National Clean Stock Network — Members of NGWI have worked closely with organizers at the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, as well as representatives from many other key specialty crop commodities, to lay the groundwork for a national clean stock network. The goal of the network is to provide funding for the establishment and maintenance of regional centers that will provide clean germplasm to both nurseries and growers.

– National Grape Registry — NGWI helped to facilitate the launch of the National Grape Registry Web site. Constructed and designed by research scientists at Foundation Plant Services and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Germplasm Repository, both located at the University of California-Davis, the objective of the registry is to provide the industry with the availability and key cultural profiles for all grape materials found in the U.S. — including wine, juice, raisin, and table grape varieties.

– Extension Education and Outreach — One of NGWI’s major objectives is to provide support and coordination for national grape and wine Extension education efforts. Effective, high-quality Extension education is critical to delivering the latest research results and information to the grower and processor community. Prior to the establishment of the NGWI, the U.S. grape and wine Extension community did not have a national forum for discussion and interaction. NGWI is bringing together such Extension experts, and hopes to improve recruitment and training of young Extension professionals.  

Leave a Reply

Grapes Stories
Grapes
January 30, 2017
Is the Intelligent Vineyard the Future of Winegrape Growing?
In the high desert of Arizona grows the world’s biggest viticulture laboratory. Read More
Grapes
January 30, 2017
Future Herbicide Injury Concerns Winegrape Growers
While new formulas of herbicides are released in conjunction with herbicide-tolerant corn, cotton, and soybean varieties to reduce risk of drift and crop injury, winegrape growers worry some row crop farmers will opt for older formulations. Read More
Grapes
January 27, 2017
How to Match the Fence to Your Vineyard
Follow these tips to determine how much fence you’ll need. Read More
Grapes
January 20, 2017
Live Reports on the State of the Wine Industry
The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, by far the nation’s largest winegrape conference, is happening this week in Sacramento, CA. Read More
Grapes
January 19, 2017
U.S. Challenges Canadian Trade Measures Allege Discrimination against U.S. Wine
Trade enforcement action challenges British Columbia regulations that unfairly exclude U.S. wine from grocery store shelves. Read More
Grapes
January 6, 2017
Meet Wendy Brannen, New Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission
Commodity association veteran believes she has found a home with the Lodi Winegrape Commission. Read More
Grapes
January 5, 2017
There are Many Factors Affecting Table Grapes
The loss of table grape berries from their pedicels, or cap stems, during packing, shipping, postharvest storage, or at the Read More
The Latest
Grapes
February 18, 2017
Sustainability Is a Growing Factor in Wi…
California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance updates certification program, shows sustainability is important part of wine trade. Read More
Grapes
February 17, 2017
Washington Organization Rebrands Itself
Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers unveils new identity at convention, now known as Washington Winegrowers Association. Read More
Grapes
February 14, 2017
2016 California Winegrape Crush Up 9%
Prices were up 12%, and red wine grapes continue to gain on white wine grapes in popularity, though ‘Chardonnay’ remained king. Read More
Grapes
January 30, 2017
Is the Intelligent Vineyard the Future o…
In the high desert of Arizona grows the world’s biggest viticulture laboratory. Read More
Grapes
January 30, 2017
Future Herbicide Injury Concerns Winegra…
While new formulas of herbicides are released in conjunction with herbicide-tolerant corn, cotton, and soybean varieties to reduce risk of drift and crop injury, winegrape growers worry some row crop farmers will opt for older formulations. Read More
Grapes
January 27, 2017
How to Match the Fence to Your Vineyard
Follow these tips to determine how much fence you’ll need. Read More
Grapes
January 20, 2017
Live Reports on the State of the Wine In…
The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, by far the nation’s largest winegrape conference, is happening this week in Sacramento, CA. Read More
Grapes
January 19, 2017
U.S. Challenges Canadian Trade Measures …
Trade enforcement action challenges British Columbia regulations that unfairly exclude U.S. wine from grocery store shelves. Read More
Grapes
January 6, 2017
Meet Wendy Brannen, New Executive Direct…
Commodity association veteran believes she has found a home with the Lodi Winegrape Commission. Read More
Grapes
January 5, 2017
There are Many Factors Affecting Table G…
The loss of table grape berries from their pedicels, or cap stems, during packing, shipping, postharvest storage, or at the Read More
Grapes
January 4, 2017
Grape Growers Say Season Affected by Wea…
Grape growers see challenges this past growing season. Read More
Grapes
January 3, 2017
Vine Enthusiasts Preserve Historic Viney…
It’s not just agribusiness to a group of old vine enthusiasts who seek to preserve a part of California winegrape history. Read More
Grapes
December 29, 2016
University of Arkansas Debuts New Winegr…
Twenty years in the making, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has released two new winegrapes – ‘Opportunity’ Read More
Grapes
December 28, 2016
Vincent Petrucci, Father of Fresno State…
The longtime columnist for American Fruit Grower and Western Fruit Grower magazines was 91. Read More
Grapes
December 3, 2016
You Need To Have Flexibility In Your Vin…
Prioritization and compromise are sometimes necessary in a challenging growing environment. Read More
Grapes
December 2, 2016
Study Investigates Savings From Naturall…
After two years on the market, researchers ‘discuss cost-cutting benefits of ‘Sunpreme.' Read More
Grapes
December 2, 2016
Washington Wine Seminar Expands Format
Research-focused sessions to be held across state in conjunction with event in 2017. Read More
Grapes
November 27, 2016
Quality California Winegrape Crop This Y…
Customary yield combined with remarkable quality, not to mention long-awaited rainfall, made this year a win/win/win. Read More