Education & Outreach

NGRA believes strongly in the extension and outreach function and its role in ensuring the commercial adoption of scientific advances. We require that all projects we support include a well-conceived extension component, and we ensure that outreach specialists feel connected and supported at a national level.

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Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide

The new Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide is available for free electronic download or purchase in print. Published Spring 2021, the guide was developed by the Midwest Fruit Workers Group, including contributors from 10 universities, led by Janna Beckerman of Purdue, and combines two longtime guides familiar to midwestern growers: the annual Midwest Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide and the annual Midwest Tree Fruit Spray Guide. Print copies are available from the Purdue Extension Education Store for $15 each, or boxes of 10 for $135.

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Grape Genomics Portal

In February 2020, the Cantu lab released a web portal with genomic data and analysis tools for wild and cultivated grapevines. The portal provides user friendly access to the grape genomes they have generated, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot. It also provides access to other publicly available genomic resources. More genomes will be released using this portal. Behind the genomes, the data and the website is Andrea Minio, a postdoc in Dario Cantu’s lab. The portal can be viewed here. 

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Lodi Winegrape Commission Virus Resources

What Every Winegrower Should Know: Viruses
Thanks to a collaborative effort and funding from the American Vineyard Foundation and the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pierce’s Disease/Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter Board, has made available a new workbook to give growers insight and answers on one of their peskiest problems: viruses. Written by the LWC’s Dr. Stephanie Bolton and published in Summer 2020, What Every Winegrower Should Know: Viruses is filled with photographs and covers the following topics in grower language: grapevine virus basics, nursery ordering, mealybugs, virus testing, infected vine removal, local case studies, sudden vine collapse and more.

Though targeted to winegrape growers in the Lodi AVA, the book is applicable and available to any interested grower anywhere. Email Stephanie for your copy of the 138-page hard-copy book or electronic version (with bonus videos) on a flash drive. Either format comes with custom flagging tape plus a vine mealybug scouting card. The book itself is free (while supplies last), and shipping is $10/hard copy and $4/flash drive. 

You can also consult the grapevine virus page on the Lodi Growers website, where your questions are welcome and will help seed a FAQ.

Regional Mealybug Biocontrol Project
In 2019, the Lodi Winegrape Commission and five local growers were awarded a $50,000 Professional + Producer grant from the USDA’s Western SARE program for “A Collaborative Beneficial Insect and Pheromone Mating Disruption Demonstration Project.”  In the project, a team of early-adopter farmers practiced cooperative, region-wide vine mealybug biocontrol. They used plant protectants which are safe for beneficials, conducted beneficial insect releases, and applied a blanket of protective pheromone mating disruption across five vineyards.  The team set an example for Lodi by demonstrating the environmental, social, and economic benefits of cooperatively using biocontrol to manage a threatening disease. Add to that, the project used YouTube as an innovative extension tool–check out the Mealybug Biocontrol Video.

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Texas Grapevine Disorders Guide

The new Grapevine Disorders Pocket Guide for Growers in Texas is the first of its kind for the Lone Star State’s burgeoning grape and wine industry. The viticulture team of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service scoured vineyards in every AVA for photos of common and uncommon disorders as well as benign occurrences of pathogens. After a year of development, this guide comes to full-color life with more than 200 high-quality images in a durable, pocket-size format. Snag your copy at AgriLifeBookstore.org.

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Viticulture Management Poster

Scientists from University of Georgia, NC State University, Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension collaborated to produce a colorful and comprehensive Viticulture Management poster. Click to see the full 3′ x 4′ image and download it in PDF.

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Seasonal Harvest Resources

Cornell and Ohio State Universities are just two of the institutions offering harvest-time publications in support of local growers:

  • Cornell’s “Veraison to Harvest” is compiled weekly by viticulture and enology extension personnel from Lake Erie, Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes. Berry sampling typically begins in early September, and the first issue is planned for the following day. The seasonal publication typically concludes in October.
  • Ohio State monitors fruit maturity progression of varieties grown at the OSU research vineyards during the harvest season; the info is posted weekly on Buckeye Appellation and emailed to subscribers of the Ohio Grape-Wine Electronic Newsletter. The date of berry sampling and corresponding heat units or growing degree days (GDD) are included.

Other similar seasonal harvest resources will be added if/as we learn of them.

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The Winegrapes of UC Davis

Foundation Plant Services (FPS), UC Davis, has released several chapters of an online book entitled Winegrapes of UC Davis written by FPS staff historian Nancy Sweet. These and future chapters will profile the history of the clean plant program at FPS, the growth of the wholesale grapevine nursery industry in California, and profiles of the cultivars and selections in the FPS foundation vineyards in Davis.

The chapters that have been made available to date feature the first part of a two-part story describing the evolution of FPS at UC Davis, and several chapters related to important grapes in the FPS grape collection – Black Grapes of Bordeaux; Malbec; Sauvignon blanc and the Sauternes; the Pinot group of cultivars; Chardonnay and other white grapes of Burgundy; The Story of Zinfandel and Croatia; and chapters on Barbera and Riesling.

The content of the book will be derived in large part from documents and photographs in the FPS archives and files of the Department of Special Collections, Shields Library, UC Davis.  The intended scope of the publication is extensive and ambitious.  The book will be “a work in progress” for some time.  New chapters will be posted periodically as they become available. The book may be accessed at the FPS website (fps.ucdavis.edu) in the section entitled Winegrapes of UC Davis.

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My Efficient Vineyard

The Efficient Vineyard project, led by Cornell University‘s Terry Bates and supported in part by NGRA, brings you the MyEV Tool to help growers enable variable-rate management practices in their own vineyards.

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Preventing Herbicide Drift from Neighbors

The Oregon State University Extension publication, Are Your Weed-control Products Damaging Nearby Vineyards?, was developed to help the public understand the damaging effects that common herbicides can have on grapevines. Share this document with your local growers to help them reduce herbicide drift damage to grapevines.

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Trunk Disease Management Tool

One of the outcomes of the SCRI Trunk Disease project, this online economic calculator provides useful figures and tables from an economic analysis of early adoption of three field-tested, preventative practices (delayed pruning, double pruning, and application of pruning wound protectant) that will help you understand the potential costs and benefits from adopting trunk disease preventative practices in young winegrape vineyards. You will also be able to enter economic and yield data for your operation to see how trunk diseases and these preventative practices might affect your vineyard.

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The Vineyard Advisor Mobile App

In August 2017, Ed Hellman, Professor of Viticulture and Extension Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension announces release of a powerful new mobile application for vineyard managers. The Vineyard Advisor mobile app provides recommendations for management of approximately 350 problems afflicting grapes; including diseases, insects, mites, nematodes, wildlife, environmental stress, physiological disorders, and weeds. The scope of this app addresses grape production challenges throughout the United States. Recommendations are provided on control strategies and action thresholds, natural controls and cultural practices, organic materials, and pesticides. The Vineyard Advisor accesses the EPA label database to deliver the most current list of all pesticides labeled for use on grapes to control a specific problem. Full labels are available in PDF format for most pesticide products. Weed management recommendations provide cultural practices and general recommendations, as well as special considerations for difficult to control weeds, or those that have developed tolerance to herbicides. Again, the most current list is provided of all herbicides labeled for use on grapes to control a specific weed. Two search options are available to the user: search The Vineyard Advisor database for grape problems, or search for pesticides labeled for use on grapes. The pesticide search can be done by product name or active ingredient. Links are provided to the app user’s state agricultural extension service and pesticide regulatory agency based on the user’s location. The Vineyard Advisor is now available for free download here:

Google Play (Android version 8.0 or later):
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.ttu.TTUVineyardAdvisorApp

iTunes App Store (iOS 8.0 or later):
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ttu-vineyard-advisor/id1435822922?mt=8

The Vineyard Advisor mobile application began as a project funded by the American Vineyard Foundation in 2014, led by Ed Hellman. A working prototype was developed with initial management recommendations provided by Justin Scheiner, Viticulture Extension Specialist, Texas AgriLife Extension. David Stone and Sean Ross of Oregon State University provided programming to access the EPA pesticide database. Following proof of concept with the prototype, the project was expanded with State of Texas funding to develop a fully functional mobile app for both Android and Apple platforms. The scope of problems was expanded to include more than 200 weeds, and all management recommendations were revised and expanded. Contensive, Inc., based in Leesburg, Virginia, was contracted to produce the app, including design and online strategy, development, maintenance, and hosting.

Dr. Hellman will continue to serve as project manager as he moves from a joint appointment with Texas AgriLife Extension and Texas Tech University, to a full-time position with Texas Tech University as Professor of Viticulture at the TTU regional teaching site in Fredericksburg. He can be contacted at ed.hellman@ttu.edu

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Catalyst: Discovery into Practice

The American Society for Enology and Viticulture launched this new journal in 2017, focusing on the translation of research into practice, and extending fundamental discoveries in the scientific disciplines to sustain and advance winemaking and grapegrowing. The journal provides a new publishing avenue for extension specialists, as well, including not only traditional narrative submissions but also video entries. See issues online at asev.org/catalyst.

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Northern Grapes Project

This $2.5 million Specialty Crop Research Initiative project brought together 34 researchers from 12 institutions to address varietal performance and resulting fruit and wine flavor attributes in cold climates. The Northern Grapes Project will help growers to apply appropriate viticultural practices to achieve consistent fruit characteristics for ripening, and help winemakers address their unique fruit composition to produce distinctive wines that consumers will like and purchase. The project will also explore consumer preferences, developing individual/regional marketing strategies to increase sales and sustained profitability of wineries and vineyards.

The Northern Grapes Project now offers a News You Can Use newsletter, providing brief, timely information, generated via research conducted as part of the Northern Grapes Project, as well as material derived from other sources. The first edition may be read here.