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   May 2012                                                                                               NGWI.ORG

In This Issue
Agricultural Research Institute Awards Grant to Dr. Gour Choudhury
NGWI & USDA/ARS Hold Joint Meeting
Lodi Winegrape Commission Names New Executive Director

Calendar of Events


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

NGWI Summer Board Meeting

Wine & Roses Hotel 

Lodi, CA

July 24-25, 2012


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The National Grape and Wine Initiative focuses on research and extension to strengthen the US grape and grape product industries in partnership with academics and government. Grapes are the nation's leading specialty crop and all industry segments including raisin, juice, fresh grape and wine created the NGWI coalition to drive research for maximum productivity, sustainability and competitiveness. NGWI aims to lead the world in consumer value and quality.  

Agricultural Research Institute Awards Grant to Dr. Gour Choudhury 

This week, an important grape industry project to reduce process water volume and salinity was awarded funding for an additional three years. Dr. Gour Choudhury at Cal Poly State, San Luis Obispo was notified he will receive $450,000 from the Agricultural Research Institute, (ARI) for the project - Green Approaches to Reduce Water Use and Discharge Salinity in California Winery and Food Processing Cleaning Operations. This is a project jointly supported by NGWI, the Wine Institute and the League of California Food Processors.


"This project has the potential to benefit every winery and food processor in California and across the nation," according to Dr. Choudhury. "The development of green chemistry and cleaning process improvement has the potential to significantly reduce salts in the waste stream, a benefit not only to industry, but to municipal wastewater treatment plants, groundwater, communities and the environment as a whole," Choudhury added.


The wastewater salinity and disposal issues are raising big questions about the future of wine making and food processing, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley of California because of ever increasing treatment costs, limited wastewater treatment capacity in some areas, and increased regulatory requirements. These challenges are mirrored in winery and grape processing facilities throughout the United States. Salinity discharge associated with cleaning and sanitizing food processors and wineries can account for nearly 50% of the total salinity discharged from a facility. If this source is effectively controlled, it will have a significant impact on the overall environmental impact of these types of operations.


NGWI is very pleased with the action taken by ARI in awarding the grant to Dr. Choudhury.The overall goal of the project is to test and adapt or develop green physical and/or chemical approaches to reduce wastewater salinity and fresh water use during cleaning operations in winery and food processing plants. The specific objectives are to: 1) Review green chemicals and/or processes for cleaning plant and equipment in allied industries; 2) Work with suppliers to modify green cleaning approaches to meet industry need and environmental standards; 3) Develop analytical methods to determine soil load and successful cleaning operation; 4) Develop new physical and chemical approaches for cleaning; 5) Examine potential reduction of wastewater salinity and fresh water use; 6) Determine economics of the green approaches; 7) Facilitate industry-wide adoption; and 8) Measure industry-wide impact. Results of the research will be shared with the grape industry in California and across the US. 

NGWI & USDA/ARS Hold Joint Meeting

Last month, NGWI leadership met with top USDA Research representatives to continue to help chart the course for short and long-term research for the U.S. grape and grape products industry. Organized by Dr. Sally Schneider, a National Program Leader at the Agricultural Research Service, the meeting brought together an unprecedented array of USDA and grape industry leaders in Beltsville, Maryland.


Dr. Ann Bartuska, Deputy Under-Secretary, Research, Education & Economics complimented the grape industry for its vision in bringing together a national Board with representation of all grape sectors. She updated the Board on Farm Bill discussions and the President's budget request. Dr. Bartuska indicated that that existing Congressionally- mandated research programs cover intramural and competitive funding, but perhaps there is a need for a "merit based" targeted investment in agricultural research.


Also addressing the group was Dr. Ed Knipling, the Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service, who noted that ARS has consistently worked collaboratively with NGWI, both to help craft its approach to grape research priorities, as well as partners in seeking additional public and private sources of funding for ARS scientists. Dr. Sally Schneider  highlighted a key NGWI project which received funding from SCRI and features ARS researchers: Sustainable Vineyard Water Management Practices. The project is developing practical information on optimizing water use in vineyards. However, it is also diving deep into the cellular structures of grape vines. This information, developed by Dr. Andrew McElrone using equipment at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, may ultimately provide clues to address other grape research issues, including trunk diseases.


In addition, Dr. Knipling invited NGWI to provide comments on three programs currently under an ARS five year program review. These three programs cover Genetics & Genomics, Plant Production, (both under review in 2012) and Climate Change (which will be reviewed in 2013.)


Dr. Deborah Sheely, Assistant Director of the National Institute of Food & Agriculture pointed out that grapes have been a significant recipient of funding under the Specialty Crop Research Initiative. The projects awarded for the 2012 cycle are expected to be determined soon. She also invited NGWI to work more closely with her office; in particular with three national program leaders in plant production, plant protection, and agricultural systems (engineering).


USDA/ARS Leaders, National Program Leaders, and representatives from the Office of Technology Transfer made presentations which may be found on the NGWI website,


Dr. Charlie Walthall, Climate Change

Dr. John Finley, Human Nutrition National Program

Dr. Deb Fravel, Plant Health National Program

Dr. Jack Okamuro, Biotechnology and the grape industry

Jim Poulos and Jack Okamuro, CRADAs

June Blalock and Marion Ravelonandro, Patents and License
Lodi Winegrape Commission Names New
Executive Director
Cameron King
Cameron King

The Lodi Winegrape Commission announced Monday that Camron King, a California wine industry veteran, has been named the commission's new executive director. King was formerly a vice president of state government relations at the California Association of Winegrape Growers for eight years.


King spent eight years working as second-in-command for the California Association of Winegrape Growers, where he was responsible for putting on a number of events, including the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento. King replaces Mark Chandler, who was the executive director from the creation of the commission in 1991 until he resigned in late 2011.


In addition to his work at the California Association of Winegrape Growers, King has worked for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Western Labor Coalition. He has served on a number of wine industry boards and committees including the National Grape and Wine Initiative, the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, and the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment.


He studied environmental horticulture at California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, then moved on to graduate studies in public policy and administration at California State University, Sacramento.


Working on the Lodi Commission, King sees a blend of his enjoyment of wine with his fascination for governmental affairs. King lives in Elk Grove with his wife and two children, but grew up in Santa Rosa. Some of his ancestors grew grapes, along with raising cattle and growing walnuts and limes.

Excerpts from the Lodi News-Sentinel article by Sara Jane Pohlman, May 2012.