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University of California viticulture farm advisors
<p>Three of the new viticulture farm advisors in California&rsquo;s San Joaquin Valley are, from left: George Zhuang, Fresno County; Allison Ferry-Abee, Tulare and Kings counties; and, Ashraf El Kereamy, Kern County.</p>

University of California hires four viticulture advisors

Four farm advisors cover seven-county region San Joaquin Valley is a popular region for wine, table and raisin grapes Growers challenges include reduced water availability, labor and regulatory issues

Four new viticulture farm advisors were hired in the past year by the University of California to serve in San Joaquin Valley Extension office positions.

These farm advisors cover the vast wine, table and raisin grape growing region that includes the counties of Kern, Kings, Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced and Mariposa.

The newest farm advisor is Lindsay Jordan, who will cover Merced, Mariposa and Madera counties.

Jordan is a UC Davis alum, earning her BS Degree in viticulture and enology in 2007. She earned her M.S. Degree in horticulture from Cornell University in Aug. 2014.

During graduate school, her research focused on using under vine ground covers as a sustainable alternative to herbicides. Through her work in New York’s Finger Lakes growing region, she evaluated how cover crops affected vine growth and the fruit and wine quality in Riesling vineyards.

She also studied under-vine management practices in New Zealand during the 2014 growing season.

She can be reached at the Madera County Cooperative Extension office, 328 S. Madera Ave, Madera, CA 93637, by phone at (559) 675-7879 ext. 7209, or by email at Follow her on Twitter @LJtheGrape.

Allison Ferry-Abee serves in the Tulare and Kings County offices.

A native of Easton, Ferry-Abee’s grew up around grapes as her grandfather was a pest inspector for Sun Maid.

Ferry-Abee earned her B.S. Degree in plant science from California State University, Fresno in 2009 and her Ph.D. in plant pathology from UC Davis in 2014.

“I love both doing research and working with growers,” said Ferry-Abee. “Growers inspire me to ask questions and define issues, and research helps me to solve those questions and issues.”

She can be reached in the Tulare County Cooperative Extension office, 4437-B S. Laspina St., Tulare, Calif., 93274, by email at or by phone at (559) 684-3316. Follow her on Twitter @GrapevineAbee.

Kern County

Ashraf El Kereamy serves Kern County growers from his office in Bakersfield.

El Kereamy hails from Egypt where he graduated with B.Sc and M.Sc degrees in horticulture and pomology, respectively, from Faculty of Agriculture, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. He received his Ph.D. in grape ripening from Toulouse University, France.

He visited the San Joaquin Valley on a scientific tour organized by the Egyptian ministry of agriculture and dreamed of one day working in the Valley.

“The relation between the two activities is tight and I enjoy being in the vineyard to help the growers, design my experiments and carry the research at the same time,” said El Kereamy.

El Kereamy can be reached at the Kern County Cooperative Extension office, 1031 South Mount Vernon Ave., Bakersfield, Calif., 93307, by phone at (661) 868-6226, or by email at Follow him on Twitter @ashrafelkereamy.

Fresno County Viticulture Advisor George Zhuang was introduced to wine, table and raisin grape farmers at the annual San Joaquin Grape Symposium Jan. 7 in Easton.

Zhuang earned his B.S. Degree in viticulture and enology from China Agricultural University in 2009. His M.S. degree in horticulture, where he focused on cool climate viticulture, was earned from Michigan State University in 2012.

Zhuang also gained experience as a viticulture intern with E&J Gallo Winery during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

According to Zhuang, the biggest challenge he sees with UCCE is understanding how to increase yield and grape quality with fewer resources (water, labor and chemicals).

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“Therefore, more research and technology is needed to help with the practical side of grape growing in the Valley to make the industry more sustainable and competitive on a global scale,” Zhuang said.

He can be reached at the Fresno County Cooperative Extension office, 550 E Shaw Ave, Suite 210-B Fresno, Calif., 93710, by phone at (559) 241-7506 or email at

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