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    October 2014                           Common Ground; Innovative Research                  NGWI.ORG

In This Issue
Harvest Reflections
The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Awards $2.5 Million for Three Years of Funding for the Project "New detection, research, and extension tools for managing wood-canker diseases of fruit and nut crops"
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Awards Funding for "Improvement of Grapevine Health Monitoring
California State Water Effiiciency and Enhancement Program

Calendar of Events

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

North Coast Wine Industry Expo
December 4, 2014
Santa Rosa, 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

Eastern Winery Exposition
March 17-20, 2015
Syracuse, NY

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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.  

Harvest Reflections

It's that time of the year... as the grape harvest continues, it is also time to reflect on the "harvest" of grant funds awarded to the grape and grape products industry. Additional grants for work in sustainability certification, marketing of grapes, and several projects with a focus on grape diseases received funding through the competitive process. As of this date, there were two grape projects selected for funding through federal grants for specialty crops, and the industry was the recipient of many state block grants. Two projects are highlighted in this newsletter.


At the federal level, the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) funding was again available, after being suspended for a year pending passage of a comprehensive farm bill in February. New to the program was a requirement for USDA to implement a two-part review process. First a panel of grape industry representatives evaluated "statements of industry relevance." That process eliminated several projects from further consideration. Then, a review of scientific merit was conducted by panels of scientists, in the same manner as previous years.


USDA had a limited time to put this new process in place, and was under time constraints to make sure the funding was allocated prior to the end of the current fiscal year (September 30th.) Last week, NGWI participated in a review of this year's operation of SCRI, and presented a multi-faceted recommendation to assure that projects identified by industry as most relevant and impactful be given full consideration.

Over the next few weeks, USDA will be considering recommendations coming from that session, and will be re-formatting the program for next year. And then a new Request for Applications will be published - perhaps within a month -- starting a new round of research project development.


As identified at our meetings in Washington DC in the spring,

Dr. Stephen Nuske and
Dr. Terry Bates

and further discussed at our Napa Board meeting in the summer, there are several pressing issues on the grape research agenda: sensor & mechanization technologies, water management strategies, further work in genomics, grape diseases, and understanding the origins of grape quality at the molecular level. Over the next few months, NGWI's research theme committees will be working with the research community to identify projects to address these key concerns.

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Awards $2.5 Million for Three Years of Funding for the Project " New detection, research, and extension tools for managing wood-canker diseases of fruit and nut crops"


Dr. Kendra Baumgartner of the USDA Agricultural Research Service based at UC Davis, CA has been awarded an SCRI grant o f $2,534,803 for continued work (2015-2017) on the project, "New detection, research, and extension tools for managing wood-canker diseases of fruit and nut crops". This project is one of two top-tier priorities, as identified  

by the National Grape & Wine Initiative (NGWI).


For decades, grape growers have battled trunk diseases. Diseases such as Botryosphaeria dieback, Esca, Eutypa dieback, and Phomopsis dieback are considered the leading reason for vineyard removal. These trunk diseases impact fruit production, but importantly, make vines unproductive over time, causing incalculable losses to the grape industry annually. At the same time, detecting infections in the nursery and in young vineyards is limited, and growers often don't know they have a problem until the only solution is remedial vine surgery or even replanting the entire block.


Dr. Baumgartner and her team have taken a multi-disciplinary approach to dealing with trunk diseases in grapes, intending to develop new diagnostic tools, based on a greater understanding of how the plant responds to infection at the molecular level, and to develop new extension tools, with economic and sociological analyses of the hurdles to managing trunk diseases. "Early detection of these diseases is critical as is educating growers on the importance of utilizing new detection tools that will be made available as an outcome of this project" stated Rick Stark, NGWI Chairman.


Significant progress has been made to date in the development of new detection tools, including new evidence that both young and mature vineyards are at risk from similar trunk pathogens, and demonstrating "proof of concept" that the early stage of infection in the stem is detectable in asymptomatic leaves. Additionally work is being done on the beta-testing of a potential mobile application for accurate disease diagnosis, which will help growers adopt appropriate management practices before it's too late. The team's work has developed a "detached cane" method as a phenotyping assay, building on one of the grape industry's other key SCRI projects: VitisGen. Finally, their work is also expanding scientific inquiry by studying how trunk diseases alter cell wall and xylem characteristics at the molecular level, and identifying biochemical markers of resistance in the wood.


NGWI members have committed well over $2,000,000 in land match annually, with wine grapes from five different regions, and table grapes from two. NGWI members will again serve on the project's advisory board. The next industry advisory meeting is scheduled for December 3 in Davis. Details will be coming out in advance of the meeting.


More information is available at the project website

California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Awards Funding for "Improvement of Grapevine Health Monitoring"

Dr. Adib Rowhani, University of California, Davis, was awarded

Dr. Rowhani

a Specialty Crop Block Grant of $82,571 for the development of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) as a diagnostic tool which will be essential in the development of advanced detection tools for the most commercially important virus strains present in California.


The project will generate data which will show the improvements that will follow from the introduction of the genomics technology of NGS. This technology can improve the sensitivity, comprehensiveness, and reliability of pathogen analysis. Additionally it can significantly decrease the time and cost of the California (CDFA) mandated grapevine certification procedure. The data will be provided to CDFA and APHIS for their use in considering the revision of their standards for certification. New standards would lead to significant savings for growers who currently face delays of at least two years in the release of candidate grapevine accessions from import quarantine to profitable production. Project researchers believe the project will show that NGS analysis is better, faster and cheaper at pathogen detection than is the current bioassay. If this proves to be true, NGS technology could reduce the certification time of vines that prove to be uninfected from years to weeks.


"This work is extremely important to the industry, and when fully explored, could provide an improved diagnostic tool, which will cut costs of virus identification and certification of candidate grapevine accessions," commented Jean-Mari Peltier, NGWI President."  


This project should facilitate the installation of NGS as one of the primary diagnostic tools for use in the management and control of grapevine diseases. While growers in California will be the first to benefit from advances in efficiencies of pathogen certification, the comprehensive, sensitive, reliable, and cost-effective analysis provided by NGS will eventually be adopted by managers and regulators nationwide as the diagnostic standard for the grape industry. 

California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program

Application Guidelines 
Informational Presentation on the Second Solicitation of SWEEP 
Greenhouse Gas Emission Calculator for Fuel Savings

General Information for Applicants
On September 29, 2014 the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will initiate a second application period for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), authorized by emergency drought legislation (Senate Bill 103). SWEEP will provide an estimated $10 million in competitive grant funding for financial assistance to agricultural operations to implement water conservation measures that result in increased water efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.


The second solicitation of SWEEP offers an increased maximum award of $150,000. Other changes to the program include the requirement for mandatory water savings AND mandatory GHG reductions. Applicants awarded funding during the first solicitation may apply for a new project or to further the previously awarded project. Applicants that were not awarded funding during the first solicitation are encouraged to apply.


Applicants must access the Application Guidelines - Second Solicitation at for detailed information and program requirements. To streamline and expedite the application process, CDFA is partnering with the State Water Resources Control Board, which hosts an online application using the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST). All applicants must register for a FAAST account at


Applications must be submitted electronically using FAAST by November 10, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. PST.


CDFA will hold one remaining application workshop and one webinar to provide information on program requirements and the FAAST application process. There is no cost to attend the workshops or webinar. Individuals planning to attend should  

email with their contact information, number of seats required and workshop location. Upon confirmation of registration further details will be provided.  


Sacramento - October 13, 2014
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
California Department of Food and Agriculture
1220 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814


Webinar - October 16, 2014 

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (PST) 
Webinar Information will be provided upon registration
Prospective applicants may contact CDFA's Grants Office at with general program questions.