USDA SCRI Grant: Improved Grape And Wine Quality In A Challenging Environment

Virginia Tech’s Alson H. Smith, Jr., Agricultural Research and Experiment Station in Winchester, VA., received funding for its project, “Improved grape and wine quality in a challenging environment: An Eastern U.S. model for sustainability and economic vitality.”

Project director: Tony Wolf

GP: What’s the problem?

Wolf: The research addresses unique challenges of quality grape and wine production in the East, including unpredictable but often excessive rains during the growing season, frost and winter injury problems, unique grape varieties, and high costs of grape production that result from the relatively small scale of operation associated with most Eastern vineyards. This is coming at a time of rapid increase in the number of small farm wineries and associated vineyards, often in places that have little or no prior experience with grape and wine production. The research also explores consumer buying preferences and perceptions about eastern U.S. wines relative to other domestic and foreign brands.

GP: How do you plan to solve it?

Wolf: We will develop research-based recommendations to:
• More efficiently and precisely manage vine vegetative growth with the aim of increasing grape and wine quality, reducing canopy management labor, and reducing the use of herbicide inputs and nitrogen fertilizer losses from vineyards.
• Reduce the occurrence of environmental stresses (such as winter cold injury) through better matching of varieties to the place (vineyard site) where grown
• Reduce costs of grape production
• Provide learning resources for producers, workforce labor, and consumers
• Help establish a reputation for consistent, high quality grape and wine production, and ultimately increase market share by eastern US wines

GP: When do you hope to achieve it?

Wolf: Some short-term, educational resources, including refined metrics to evaluate vine ‘balance’ will be developed within first three years. Variety recommendations, interactive Geographical Information System vineyard evaluation tools, and refined techniques for wine-making of unique eastern US grape varieties will emerge in three to five years.

GP: Are there any ancillary goals?

Wolf: Our specific goals target and are intended to primarily benefit eastern US grape and wine producers; however, they will also benefit producers in other humid climates, such as the Midwest. While aimed at fostering increased growth and development of a primary industry, attendant benefits could be realized by allied service sectors, tourism, and states’ tax bases. Environmental benefits include a reduced reliance on herbicide inputs, increased soil organic matter, and reduced soil erosion through prudent use of vineyard cover crops. Vineyards and wineries strengthen the economic fabric of rural communities through employment, while offering alternatives to non-agricultural development.

As a result, five years from now, Grape and wine producers in all eastern US states — not just those in states that have land-grant universities involved in viticulture and enology research and Eextension — will have unprecedented access to site-specific recommendations to improve the profitability and sustainability of their operations.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Summer Foley gets crowned Miss Florida Citrus 2015 by 2004 winner Nikki Upthegrove Matthews and reigning Miss Florida Vicotria Cowen
Citrus
February 10, 2016
Who Will Be Crowned Miss Florida Citrus 2016?
Contestants invited to carry on a time-old industry tradition. Read More
field USDA
Disease Control
February 10, 2016
Broad-Spectrum Fungicide Approved For Specialty Crops In California
Rhyme controls powdery mildew, brown rot blossom blight, and leaf rusts. Read More
A selection of Andean dry beans, Phaseolus vulgaris, from the Andean bean diversity panel.

 

Photo by Stephen Ausmus.
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Pulse Crops Top The List For Research
Scientists are making global contributions by participating in the Feed the Future Grain Legumes Project. Read More
The restoration of this secondary channel of the Napa River was made possible through the Rutherford Reach Restoration Project.
Grapes
February 10, 2016
Restoring The Napa River
The Napa River, which has helped create soil perfect for grape-growing in the Napa Valley, is in danger. Fortunately, conscientious Read More
Almond Board of Calif. logo
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Almond Board Working Toward Next-Generation Sustainability Solutions
New sustainability initiatives will bring the almond industry into the 22nd century. Read More
Photo Credit: David Eddy
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Incentives Available For Low-Emission Harvesters 
Almond and walnut growers who use lower-emission harvesting equipment may be eligible for financial incentives. Beginning this year, the USDA Read More
pile of potatoes
Potatoes
February 10, 2016
Potatoes Are More Than A Good Source Of Potassium
Researchers have been investigating the enhancement of oxidative qualities through breeding potato selections that are considerably higher in antioxidants than those currently available. Read More
Make sure your tank is free of cracks or fractures to avoid loss of product.
Photos credit: Fred Whitford, Purdue University
Equipment
February 10, 2016
Get Your Sprayer Ready For Spring
Cleaning equipment, checking for damages, and ensuring proper calibration should be standard procedure before the season begins. Read More
Bayer company logo
Crop Protection
February 10, 2016
Bayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Insecticide  
Company seeks to stop agency’s proposed cancellation of flubendiamide. Read More
Contour Farming
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Vegetable Production: A Lesson In Sustainability
Thanks to the efforts of those producing vegetables, we have an abundance of healthy food options. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
February 10, 2016
Who Will Be Crowned Miss Florida Citrus …
Contestants invited to carry on a time-old industry tradition. Read More
Disease Control
February 10, 2016
Broad-Spectrum Fungicide Approved For Sp…
Rhyme controls powdery mildew, brown rot blossom blight, and leaf rusts. Read More
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Pulse Crops Top The List For Research
Scientists are making global contributions by participating in the Feed the Future Grain Legumes Project. Read More
Grapes
February 10, 2016
Restoring The Napa River
The Napa River, which has helped create soil perfect for grape-growing in the Napa Valley, is in danger. Fortunately, conscientious Read More
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Almond Board Working Toward Next-Generat…
New sustainability initiatives will bring the almond industry into the 22nd century. Read More
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Incentives Available For Low-Emission Ha…
Almond and walnut growers who use lower-emission harvesting equipment may be eligible for financial incentives. Beginning this year, the USDA Read More
Potatoes
February 10, 2016
Potatoes Are More Than A Good Source Of …
Researchers have been investigating the enhancement of oxidative qualities through breeding potato selections that are considerably higher in antioxidants than those currently available. Read More
Equipment
February 10, 2016
Get Your Sprayer Ready For Spring
Cleaning equipment, checking for damages, and ensuring proper calibration should be standard procedure before the season begins. Read More
Crop Protection
February 10, 2016
Bayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Insecti…
Company seeks to stop agency’s proposed cancellation of flubendiamide. Read More
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Vegetable Production: A Lesson In Sustai…
Thanks to the efforts of those producing vegetables, we have an abundance of healthy food options. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
February 9, 2016
University Of Florida Research Receives …
A big chunk of the federal funding will focus on growing the bacterium in a lab. Read More
Citrus
February 9, 2016
Revised Forecast Yields Small Victory Fo…
Updated USDA estimate holds serve again; hasn’t dipped since December. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 9, 2016
State Of The Fruit Industry 2016 [VIDEO]
According to an national poll of fruit growers, fruit industry suppliers, and researchers, the market is poised for growth in Read More
Crop Protection
February 9, 2016
Biopesticides And IPM
Dr. Surendra Dara, Strawberry and Vegetable Crops Advisor and Affiliated IPM Advisor with University of California Cooperative Extension, has long Read More
Fruits
February 8, 2016
Precision Fruit Growing, Business Manage…
American Fruit Grower magazine managing editor Christina Herrick posts her updates from the 59th annual gathering. Read More
Farm Marketing
February 8, 2016
Food Policy: If You Don’t Speak, O…
British Columbia's former ag minister spoke with attendees at NAFDMA's Convention about the political realities surrounding food policies. Read More
Farm Marketing
February 8, 2016
How British Columbia And U.S. Regs Are S…
Laws passed decades ago to protect small farms aren't keeping up with the realities of modern farmers and their marketing efforts. Restrictions can shut down hosting weddings, but offer incentives to open wineries. Read More
Farm Marketing
February 8, 2016
3 Tips On How Not To Lose Your Shirt Whe…
Chef and consultant Chuck Currie told NAFDMA Convention attendees the basic principles of what makes a farm market eatery a success or a flop. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]