Sustainability in the vineyard and winery is a key theme for the Washington wine industry’s research program this year. Newly-released research priorities, developed by the state’s wine grape growers and vintners, will drive the industry’s research program this fiscal year (July 2021-June 2022). Research priorities are annually revised by the Wine Research Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the Washington State Wine Commission (WSWC), and guided by industry feedback from the Commission’s annual research survey.
The research priority list is shared with scientists seeking Washington wine industry-supported research grant awards. The list helps researchers focus on topics most important to Washington growers and winemakers and keeps research relevant to the needs of the industry.
The emphasis on sustainability issues, from discovering ways for wineries to reduce winery wastewater and waste, like glass bottles, to studying biochar for optimal vine and soil health, to finding sustainable pest and weed management strategies for the vineyard, comes as the industry is creating a statewide sustainable certification program. The sustainable certification program will launch in 2022.
Other key priorities for the winery include fermentation management, wine aroma and flavor compounds, and wine maturation and stabilization. For the vineyard, other top priorities are vineyard production, efficiency and profitability, pest management, climate impacts on viticulture, and mechanization and precision viticulture and enology.
The research priorities are included in the request for research proposals that provide guidelines for three competitive grant programs supported by the Washington wine industry. The statewide Grape and Wine Research Grant Program funds research conducted by Washington State University scientists. Additionally, the WSWC funds two competitive grant programs to support research beyond WSU and one-year, demonstration projects of Washington community colleges. Learn more about the WSWC’s grant programs at:https://www.washingtonwine.org/grants/.
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.