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New research to tackle vineyard challenges

Vineyard on rolling hills Wine Institute
The Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research is funding four Washington State University viticulture and enology projects totaling $279,687 to tackle such vineyard and winery challenges as red blotch virus, heat stress and wine faults.
Small-fruits center will fund four viticulture and enology projects totaling $279,687 for 2020-21.

A West Coast research consortium is funding four Washington State University viticulture and enology projects totaling $279,687 to tackle such vineyard and winery challenges as red blotch virus, heat stress and wine faults.

The studies are funded by the Corvalis, Ore.-based Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research, a 20-year-old partnership involving the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Oregon State University, the University of Idaho and WSU.

The consortium was established to increase the sustainability and profitability of Northwest berry, grape and wine industries.

WSU viticulture professor Markus Keller has been studying the effects of heat stress on wine grape production. He is based at the university’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser. With the small fruits center’s grant, teams will study the red blotch virus and how it impacts growing grapes; detection of wine faults using an electronic tongue; and how heat stress affects white wine grapes, according to a university news release.

The grant “will allow us to test an innovative cooling system that mitigates heat stress on wine grapes, allowing us to evaluate its impact on the final wine,” Keller said in the release.

Research priorities for 2020-21 were set by the Wine Research Advisory Committee, which is part of the Washington State Wine Commission, according to the release.

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