For the fifth consecutive year, the Washington State Wine Commission (WSWC) awarded more than $1 million in research grants through the statewide grape and wine research program and its own grant program. The diverse research portfolio aims to improve wine quality by tackling high priority vineyard and winery issues.
The Washington State Wine Board of Directors approved 25 projects totaling approximately $1,120,000 for the upcoming fiscal year (July 2021-June 2022). Research grant awards have grown by 30% since 2015, which represents increased funding from the WSWC and the Auction of Washington Wines, a contributor to Washington State University’s viticulture and enology program.
Vineyard projects will focus on optimizing irrigation management, improving soil health, developing sustainable management strategies for nematodes, phylloxera, powdery mildew and other pests and diseases. Winery projects will include managing tannin and phenolics during winemaking, mitigating potential impacts on grapes from smoke and frost exposure, and investigating impact of yeasts on the release of bound compounds.
New research projects applicable to wineries include exploring a novel way to induce malolactic fermentation in grape musts and wine, and using native yeasts during fermentation to lower alcohol. New vineyard projects include surveying for a potential leafmining pest of Washington vineyards, developing a mobile app to help growers detect lag phase and identify viral symptoms, assessing use of a sensor-based irrigation system applied to surface and subsurface drip irrigation, and evaluating sustainable ways to control grape mealybug, a pest that spreads grapevine leafroll virus.
Through the WSWC’s own research grant program, research teams from WSU and University of California, Davis will collaborate to understand tannin analysis through assessing the modified tannins found in wine. The WSWC also awarded a one-year demonstration grant to South Seattle College to verify the effectiveness of winery sanitation protocols.
Wine research in Washington is funded through several competitive grant programs. A statewide program administered by WSU combines public, private and industry monies to support viticulture and enology research at WSU. Four entities fund the statewide program: the Washington State Wine Commission, Auction of Washington Wines, WSU’s Agriculture Research Center, and state wine liter taxes (1/4 cent per liter of all wine sold). Additionally, the WSWC administers a competitive grant program to support short-term, demonstration research at Washington community colleges and beyond state borders.
Past research has helped growers and winemakers improve wine quality, reduce pesticide inputs by 80 percent and save $35 million annually, conserve up to 50% irrigation water through deficit irrigation strategies, and make informed frost and cold protection decisions from a cold hardiness model. Current research projects have significant potential for return on investment, such as developing nematode management tools for replant situations to protect an estimated $44 million in annual replanting costs, buying time for growers dealing with phylloxera to prolong replanting with rootstocks, which costs $25,000 per acre, evaluating non-chemical methods to control powdery mildew, and more.
Learn more about the Washington wine industry’s research program and view the list of the upcoming research projects on theWashington State Wine Commission website.
About the Washington State Wine Commission:
The Washington State Wine Commission (WSWC) represents every licensed winery and wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, WSWC provides a marketing platform to raise positive awareness about the Washington wine industry and generate greater demand for its wines. Funded almost entirely by the industry through assessments based on grape and wine sales, WSWC is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. To learn more, visit www.washingtonwine.org.
2021-22 RESEARCH SUPPORTED BY WASHINGTON STATE WINE COMMISSION
|Principal Investigator||Project Title||New/Cont.||Awarded|
|Cheeke, Tanya||Effect of Mycorrhizal Inoculants on Grapevine Growth – Extension Request||C (3 of 2 yrs)||$12,848|
|Collins, Tom||Assessment of Smoke Taint Risk and Mitigation of Smoke Affected Wines||C (2 of 3 yrs)||$112,178|
|Collins, Tom||Smoke exposure effects on grape berry development and metabolism||C (2 of 3 yrs)||(USDA)|
|Edwards, Charles||Enological Application of non-Saccharomyces Yeasts||N (1 of 3 yrs)||$24,712|
|Edwards, Charles||Use of Non-traditional Lactic Acid Bacteria to Induce Malolactic Fermentation in Grape Musts and Wines||N (1 of 3 yrs)||$21,228|
|Harbertson, Jim||Evaluation of Freeze Taint in Cabernet Sauvignon||C (3 of 3 yrs)||$3,119|
|Harbertson, Jim||Research Winemaking||C (3 of 3 yrs)||$90,211|
|Harbertson, Jim||Management of Phenolic Compounds in Vineyard and Winery: Investigation of Mechanical Pruning, Grape Maturity, Raman Spectroscopy||C (4 of 3 yrs)||$46,055|
|Jacoby, Pete||Use of DRZ Subsurface Irrigation to Enhance Establishment of Replacement Vines||C (2 of 3 yrs)||$21,555|
|Jacoby, Pete||Optimizing Irrigation Efficiency with Soil Water Sensor-based Systems||N (1 of 3 yrs)||$20,000|
|James, David||Grape Leaffolders: Determining Economic Impact Levels and Action Thresholds||C (2 of 3 yrs)||$8,160|
|James, David||Survey and Monitoring of new Leafmining pest of Wine Grapes in Eastern WA||N (1 of 1 yr)||$6,780|
|Karkee, Manoj||Mobile App for Crop Estimation, Lag Phase Detection and Viral Symptom Detection||N (1 of 2 yrs)||$24,423|
|Keller, Markus||Dissecting the Relative Importance of Grape Variety vs. Environment for Irrigation Management||C (3 of 3 yrs)||$8,000|
|Keller, Markus||Optimizing Sampling Protocols for Efficient Vineyard Nutrient Management||C (2 of 3 yrs)||$197,793|
|Keller, Markus||Grape Ripening Under a Double Whammy of Heat Stress and Water Deficit||C (3 of 3 yrs)||$74,154|
|Keller, Markus||Support for Vineyard Maintenance for Wine Grape Research||C (3 of 3 yrs)||$5,000|
|Moyer, Michelle||Fungicide Resistance Monitoring and Alternative Management Strategies for Grape Powdery Mildew||C (2 of 3 yrs)||$36,259|
|Moyer, Michelle||Alternative Preplant Strategies for Nematode Management in Washington Wine Grape Vineyards||C (2 of 3 yrs)||$47,149|
|Piao, Hailan||Impact of Yeast and Malolactic Bacteria on Wine Flavor Precursors||C (2 of 3 yrs)||$64,072|
|Rayapati, Naidu||Innovative Strategies for Management of Grapevine Leafroll Disease||C (2 of 3 yrs)||$125,123|
|Walsh, Doug||Grape mealybug management: new control measures||N (1 of 2 yrs)||$42,534|
|Walsh, Doug||Monitoring and Managing Grape Phylloxera in Washington State Vineyards||C (2 of 3 yrs)||$38,496|
|Waterhouse, A. (UCD) Harbertson, J. (WSU)||Advancing Condensed Tannin Analysis||N (1 of 3 yrs)||$84,607|
|South Seattle College||Verifying Effectiveness of Common Winery Sanitization Protocols with AT Luminometer Testing||1 yr||$5,074|