NVEELC 2019: Networking & Professional Development with a Dash of Southern Hospitality

NVEELC 2019 attendees at Becker Vineyards

On April 7-10, NVEELC 2019 gathered 40 extension and outreach specialists from 16 states and 30 grape-growing regions in Fredericksburg, the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Hailing from New York to New Mexico and many states in between and beyond, attendees represented a terrific mix of viticulture and enology professionals—some who are newer to their roles and other seasoned veterans who have been attending and guiding NVEELC from the beginning. See a selection of NVEELC photos here.

NVEELC has always been a grassroots event, organized by and for the extension and outreach community, and this year followed suit. Co-hosts Justin Scheiner, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and Ed Hellman, Texas Tech University, planned two days of networking, professional development and best-practice-sharing, all with the requisite southern hospitality (read, Texas wine and Texas BBQ). Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Jim Kamas led the tour of wineries, vineyards and orchards, including the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Viticulture and Fruit Lab, where some Pierce’s Disease resistant grape varieties developed by UC Davis’ Andy Walker are thriving. Extension enologists Andreea Botezatu, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and Anna Katharine Mansfield, Cornell University, co-developed an optional workshop on Experimental Winemaking, bringing together enology and viticulture in a popular—and successful—third day of learning, led in part by Dr. Zata Vickers, University of Minnesota.

Many thanks to these organizations for helping to make NVEELC happen and/or providing travel scholarships so that extension specialists with limited travel budgets could attend: California Table Grape Commission, E. & J. Gallo Winery, High Plains Winegrowers Association, Inland Desert Nursery, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, National Grape Research Alliance, Novavine, Scott Laboratories, Texas Hill Country Wineries, Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association and Virginia Wine Board.