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    May 2013                         Common Ground; Innovative Research            NGWI.ORG

In This Issue
Senate and House Markup Farm Bills
NGWI Invites Grape Research Community to Discuss Industry Challenges
Cold Climate Grapes in Spotlight

Calendar of Events

NGWI Summer Board of Directors Meeting
Monterey, CA
June 20-21, 2013

Northwest Wine Expo
Dallas, TX
June 23-24, 2013


Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
Sacramento, CA
January 28-30, 2014

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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.  

Senate and House Markup Farm Bills

Last week was a busy week in Washington, with the Agriculture Committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives taking action on omnibus farm legislation.


Debbie Stabenow
Senator Debbie Stabenow, (D-MI)
Chair of Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry



Tuesday, The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry completed its markup of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013. The bill was ordered reported to the full Senate for further consideration by a recorded vote of 15 to 5. Only a handful of amendments were adopted on the research title of the bill.The Senate bill includes creation of a new Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR). Funding for FFAR was increased to a mandatory $200 million (after adoption of an amendment offered by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).



Frank Lucas
Congressman Frank Lucas, (R-OK) Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture

The House Committee on Agriculture finished its markup of H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 on Wednesday, approving the bill on a vote of 36 to 10. No major changes were made in Research Title compared to the versions passed last session. That means that the language supported by the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance and NGWI to create a two-step review of SCRI applications remains intact in the House bill. In addition, the House bill adopted an amendment by Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) to establish a floor of at least $5 million to annually be allocated to the Clean Plant Network.


There are some differences in the level of funding between the House and Senate versions of the bill, with the House bill providing additional funds for the Specialty Crop Block grants program, administered by the states, the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, as well as the Coordinated Plant Management Program. The table below demonstrates these differences:



(Per Year)

(Per Year)

Specialty Crop Block
$72.5 - $85 million
$70 million
Specialty Crop Research
$50 - $65 million
$25 - $65 million
Coordinated Plant
Management Program
$62.5 - $75 million
$60 - $65 million



The schedule for bringing these bills to the floor of their respective houses is unclear at this time. Differences in the two versions of the bills will need to be addressed through a conference committee.

NGWI Invites Grape Research Community to Discuss Industry Challenges


Members of the US grape research community have been

Monterey Plaza

invited to discuss industry challenges with the board and research committees of  

the National Grape & Wine Initiative (NGWI). The meeting is scheduled at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey, CA Friday, June 21. 


NGWI's current research portfolio includes sensor and mechanization development for crop load management, grape cultivar improvement for drought and cold tolerance, finding a solution to reduce water use and salinity in winery and food processing cleaning operations, and detection tools for managing wood-canker diseases in fruit and nut crops. "These projects address NGWI's prioritized list of industry research needs but there are additional challenges and we are seeking solutions," stated Jean-Mari Peltier President of NGWI.


NGWI seeks to cultivate an atmosphere of collaboration and develop a community of grape and grape product researchers to address national industry researchable issues or problems. Vicky Scharlau, Chairman of NGWI noted that "we feel strongly that closer alignment between the research community and industry is essential to build meaningful and effective collaborations. We can only do that if we work together to build objectives and set outcomes as part of a development process for research projects."


A complete list of NGWI's research priorities can be found on the organization's website at:   

Cold Climate Grapes in Spotlight 

Northern Grapes Project

Last week across the nation, many of us heard a "Morning Edition" article by David Sommerstein aired on National Public Radio. The article summarized how a dozen universities are collaborating on a sort of extreme winemaking project: How cold a climate can a grape survive and still make good wine? It went on to describe how the "Northern Grapes Project", headed up by long-time NGWI collaborator Tim Martinson of Cornell, is inventing wines the world has never seen before, winning wine awards and creating a new crop for struggling rural economies in northern tier states.


A full copy of the show's transcript as well as a link to an audio broadcast may be found here NPR transcript and broadcast.


Article produced by National Public Radio, Copyright 2013 NPR