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   February 2012                                                                                               NGWI.ORG

In This Issue
NGWI Elects Officers and New Board Members
NGWI Supported Projects Submitted for Funding Through the Specialty Crop Initiative
Bill Gates Says Lack of Ag Research Money "Shocking"
UC Davis Announces Spring Courses

Calendar of Events


Cold Climate Grape &Wine Conference
St. Paul, MN
February 23-25, 2012


Sustainable Vineyard Water Management Advisory Board and Project Team Meeting

Riverside, CA

March 1-2, 2012   


Eastern Winery Exposition
Lancaster, PA
March 7-8, 2012  


Wineries Unlimited
Richmond, VA
March 27-29, 2012 


NGWI Spring Board Meeting

Beltsville, MD

April 18-19, 2012  


American Society for Enology & Viticulture Annual Conference
Portland, OR
June 18-22 


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The National Grape and Wine Initiative (NGWI) is an industry-driven partnership with academic and government representatives, design to focus emphasis on research and extension as a means to strengthen the competitiveness of America's grape and grape product industries.


NGWI Elects Officers and New Board Members

NGWI recently elected 2012 Officers and new Board members at the annual Winter meeting in January held in Sacramento, CA. Elected as the new Chairman of the Board was Vicky Scharlau of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers. "Vicky possess the vision and industry reputation required to take NGWI to the next level," said Jean-Mari Peltier, President of NGWI.  


Other newly elected Officers include, Rick Stark of the California Raisin Marketing Board as Vice Chair, Richard Smith of California's Paraiso Vineyards as Secretary/Treasurer and John Martini of New York's Anthony Road Winery as Past Chair.   


NGWI also elected the following to terms to run through 2014:

  • Jim Ballard, James Arthur Vineyards, NE
  • Al Wiederkehr, Wiederkehr Wine Cellars, AR
  • Bob Gallo, E & J Gallo, CA
  • Dan Martinez, Martinez Orchards, CA
  • Vicky Scharlau, Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers
  • Rick Stark, California Raisin Marketing Board
  • Jerry Lohr, J Lohr Vineyards and WInes, CA
  • Nick Dokoozlian, E & J Gallo, CA
  • Ed Hellman, Texas A&M University
  • Richard Smith, Paraiso Vineyards, CA
  • Keith Striegler, Flint Ridge Winegrowing Services, AR
  • Tom Danowski, Oregon Wine Board
  • Peter Hofherr, St. James Winery, MO   
NGWI Supported Projects Submitted for Funding Through the Specialty Crop Initiative  

The National Grape & Wine Initiative's (NGWI) Board of Directors selected four SCRI grant applications to support at its Annual Meeting, with an emphasis on development of mechanization and sensor technology, as well as tackling vineyard trunk diseases.


NGWI collaborates to prioritize national research objective of the U.S. grape industry (including wine, juice, table grapes and raisins) from across the nation. The organization works to secure increased government, academic and private sector funding to accomplish these important research needs, as well as to ensure research findings are made available to industry members. Over the past year, particular focus has been on research projects under the Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI). 


The NGWI Board works to optimize the opportunities for collaboration on national research projects and priorities. "We feel strongly that closer alignment between the research community and industry is essential to build meaningful and effective collaborations" stated Dr. Nick Dokoozlian; Chairman of NGWI's Research Committee. National grape industry priorities were distributed to the research community, with a request to develop project proposals.  These proposals were reviewed by NGWI, and in some cases, the final grant application represents weeks - or even months -- of industry collaboration. Dokoozlian stated, "We're pleased to announce that four projects have been selected for NGWI support".

  • The first is a top priority project developing sensor and mechanization technology to measure crop load and assess canopy with real time imaging to enhance our ability to achieve vine balance and eventually develop tools for precision viticultural practices. The industry committed $150,000 for proof of concept work in 2011, and again for 2012. A project proposal for the SCRI, under the direction of Dr. Terry Bates (Cornell) and Dr. Sanjiv Singh (Carnegie Mellon) was submitted for the current round of SCRI funding. NGWI members will provide a total of $155,000 cash per year ($125,000 through NGWI), as well as$4,640,000 of land match. Dr. Steve Nuske of Carnegie Mellon presented the results of his component of the "proof of concept" work conducted with NGWI funds at the meeting on January 23rd.
  • The second is a multi-crop (grape, pistachio and almond) project which would address trunk diseases, the leading reason for vineyard removal in many parts of the country. NGWI helped craft the winning planning grant from SCRI with which Dr. Themis Michailides, Dr. Kendra Baumgartner and Dr. Doug Gubler. These PIs pulled together a trans-disciplinary team which would develop diagnostic tools and eventually, measures to reduce the impact of diseases including Eutypa and Botryosphaeria. NGWI members committed well over $1,000,000 in land match, with wine grapes from five different regions, and table grapes from two. NGWI members also agreed to serve on the project's advisory board.
  • The third is for a project developed by Gwen-Alyn Hoheisel to improve pesticide deposition. Covering several crops and multiple institutions, this project would develop and disseminate science-based tools to increase the adoption of state-of-the art pesticide application technology. Improving targeted deposition, reducing drift and enhancing worker safety are the guiding principles of this project's efforts to improve the sustainability of application practices. While NGWI is not providing funding for this project, NGWI Board Director Russell Smithyman will serve on its Advisory Committee should it be selected for funding.
  • The fourth is a small ($15,000 total) planning grant proposal from Dr. Peter Cousins regarding abscission management. The approach works toward manipulating abscission -- partially as a means to allow sorting grapes by size or color in a manner similar to blueberries. This project also involves encouraging development of a dry stem scar, which suggests it might also have implications for the processed grape segment. NGWI plans to provide matching support for this planning grant.

NGWI developed and coordinated grape industry letters of support and helped secure industry matching funds for the researchers before the deadline of January 31, 2012. Review panels organized by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will review all submitted projects and award decisions will be announced in the summer of 2012.  

Bill gates Says Lack of Ag Research Money "Shocking"

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world, highlighted the relative lack of money devoted to agricultural innovation and research in his annual letter outlining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's 2012 priorities

"Given the central role that food plays in human welfare and national stability, it is shocking - not to mention short-sighted and potentially dangerous - how little money is spent on agricultural research," he wrote.


The Foundation was founded by the Gates' in 1994 and is now the world's largest philanthropic organization. Guided by the philosophy that every life has equal value, the Foundation spends the majority of its funds on global health and development projects, both of which are intimately tied to agriculture. Gates' comments in his 2012 letter expand on his longstanding interest in agricultural development, to which he says his Foundation has devoted $2 billion.


It is believed that Gates' focus on agricultural research has the potential to dramatically amplify growing concern about the overall stagnation, and in some cases, decrease, in funding agricultural research. Gates' letter in its entirety is at


UC Davis Announces Spring Courses in Viticulture, Wine Business and Wine Appreciation  
UC Davis Extension offers a variety of courses for novice and experienced grape growers, winemakers and wine lovers. The courses will take place March-June 2012. Complete details including cost, location and registration information can be found on the UC Davis website this spring.

To request more information or to enroll, call (800) 752-0881, email or visit the website  

Below is a brief listing of the courses available.

Online Introduction to Wine and Winemaking

Whether you're interested in a career in the wine industry or are just a devoted enophile, you can take this unique, self-paced course at home, at your convenience.    


Introduction to Sensory Evaluation

Novice enophiles, enhance your critical tasting ability, and learn basic aspects of sensory evaluation often overlooked in most wine tastings. Study the different components of wine appearance, aroma and flavor. Participate in tastings of doctored wines in blind and known tastings.


Managing the Small Vineyard II

The Small Vineyard Series is a quarterly series of one-day classes designed for home and small commercial winegrowers. This is the second of two classes focusing on vineyard management practices.


Successful Home Winemaking

Receive an overview of all phases of home wine production in this course designed for beginning home winemakers with little or no experience.


Introduction to Wine Analysis

Examine the basics of wine analysis for commercial wine and advanced home wine production. Designed for serious winemakers, winery lab employees and small commercial winemakers.


Wine Filtration Short Course

Build a strong foundation for solving filtration problems and choosing filtration systems for particular applications by combining theory of filtration with lab exercises and manufacturer demonstrations.


Everyday Compliance for Winery and Brand Owners

Develop your knowledge of winery compliance with this basic overview. Explore city and county authority compliance, how to obtain a license to buy grapes, record keeping, making sales out-of-state and much more.


Save the Date!

OIV Wine Marketing Short Course

July 16-27

Learn the fundamentals of producing and marketing grapes and wine in the United States. From brand establishment to distribution and sales, gain practical, hands-on knowledge for negotiating the U.S. wine market.