Newsletter Header

    July 2014                                Common Ground; Innovative Research                  NGWI.ORG

In This Issue
NGWI Members Meet with Top USDA Leaders in Washington, DC
Edward S. Buckler, Advisor to Vitis Gen, Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
Napa Valley California Site for NGWI Summer Board Meeting

Calendar of Events

NGWI Summer Board Meeting
July 28-29, 2014
Napa, CA

Society of Wine Educators annual Conference
August 13-15
Seattle, WA

Wine Tourism Conference
November 12-14, 2014
Paso Robles, CA

NGWI Annual Meeting of the Members and Board of Directors Meeting
January 26, 2015
Sacramento, CA

Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
January 27-29, 2015

Sacramento, CA

Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers
Annual Meeting & Trade Show
February 11-13, 2015
Kennewick, WA

Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association
Annual Meeting
February 19-21, 2015
San Marcos, TX

Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List

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.  

NGWI Members Meet with Top USDA Leaders in Washington, DC


The National Grape and Wine Initiative's (NGWI) Board of Directors met with top level members of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Washington, DC.


Dr. Cathie Woteki, USDA's top official in charge of all research, education and extension programs launched the discussions and included an update on the Administration's implementation plans for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a new institute authorized by the Farm Bill. In turn, NGWI outlined its unique industry-driven research agenda, and opened the dialogue about how other Farm Bill programs, including "centers of excellence" as well as commodity language might be interpreted to foster greater grape industry input on expenditures of federal research dollars. In addition to Dr. Woteki, NGWI members were briefed by Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young the new Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, Director of the National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) and programs administered by NIFA.


NGWI has met annually with the National Program Leaders (NPLs) of the USDA's intermural research program, the Agricultural Research Service, which has resulted in development of at least three of our major research projects: genomics, water management, and trunk diseases.


"This year, we were very excited to also have the opportunity to sit down with several National Program Leaders from NIFA" stated Rick Stark, Chairman of NGWI. NIFA, the extra-mural research program, passes funds through to Land Grant universities and agricultural experiment stations, as well as some funding for cooperative extension. Additionally this arm of the USDA administers competitive grants programs, including the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) which historically has been beyond the grasp of specialty crop organizations like NGWI.


The meetings with NIFA provided an opportunity for NGWI to lay out the industry research priorities as well as explore potential funding possibilities through AFRI which has a budget of more than $350 million. "We believe we have opened the door to a closer relationship with NIFA and are looking forward to future collaboration with them" Stark added.


Dr. Sally Schneider, recently named as Deputy Administrator Natural Resources and Sustainable Agriculture Systems, brought together many National Program Leaders of ARS to meet with NGWI. Each of the NPLs gave an overview of their National Programs and the focus of future research. Discussion of new opportunities for the grape industry and NGWI to work with ARS were examined. "Our relationship with ARS has played a critical role in the development and advancement of research projects for the grape industry" noted Stark.


All the presentations from the May 22 meeting (USDA/ARS) are available on the NGWI website click here.

Edward S. Buckler, Advisor to Vitis Gen, Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Dr. Edward S. Buckler 

Dr. Edward S. Buckler, a research geneticist for the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and advisor to the VitisGen grape genomics project, has been elected as a new member of the National Academy of Sciences. His election was in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Buckler's research on the mechanisms controlling diversity in maize and its wild relatives has improved the crop's nutritional value and has led to the development of molecular tools now being used to study the genetic foundations of a wide range of other plants, including grapes.


"We are fortunate to have a scientist of Dr. Buckler's caliber participating in the grape genomics project known as VitisGen, "stated NGWI President Jean-Mari Peltier. "He has expanded our horizons to the promise of how genetic markers may be used to improve grape production." Buckler also serves as an adjunct professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.


The NAS is a private, nonprofit honor society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to furthering science and technology for the general welfare. NAS members are elected on the basis of their original scientific research.

Napa Valley California Site for NGWI Summer
Board Meeting

The beautiful Napa Valley will be the host to the NGWI Summer Board meeting to be held July 28-29, 2014 at the Embassy Suites, Napa Valley. The meeting will bring together members of the five NGWI Research Theme Committees along with a number of additional key grape industry researchers.


As an outcome of the meetings held with USDA in Washington DC and Beltsville in May, NGWI has identified questions involving some key subject areas that will be discussed in more depth:

  • What problems should our next phase of grape genomics and phenotyping address?
  • What aspects of water and irrigation management are most critical to the US grape and wine industries?
  • Are there additional pest management issues with widespread relevance to the grape industry?
  • What are the next steps for crop sensing and mechanization?

"We are looking forward to bringing together this group to discuss and brainstorm these topics" stated Jean-Mari Peltier, NGWI President. She added, "We had an outstanding session with the USDA at our May meeting and plan to extend that discussion with a broader section of the grape industry and research community."