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WSU V&E faculty, staff & students take the stage at WineVit 2021

WineVit Conference 2021 Highlights


All those who filter are not lost
Presented by Tom Collins

Assistant professor of the WSU wine science program Tom Collins served as the session manager for the Filtration session at the 2021 WineVit Conference. Rather than presenting new research, Collins provided an overview to the audience about filtration techniques that can treat wines with aroma issues.

WSU alumni Will Wiles, now at Columbia Crest Winery, led conference participants through a tasting of regional wines. “The session was developed to provide a good review of wine filtration for an audience of winemakers, cellar workers, and small winery operators,” said Collins.


Washington and Rootstocks: The Vineyard Conversation of the 2020s
Presented by Michelle Moyer

WSU associate professor and Extension viticulturist Michelle Moyer presented her research on regional vineyard pests and the damage they can cause. “Long term studies on grapevine rootstock performance are important in providing information growers need to make the long-lasting decision of what will work best for their vineyard and production goals,” she said.

Grapevines are perennial crops, and a lot can happen over the 30 to 60 year lifespan of a vineyard. Moyer said long term studies provide perspective on what to expect from rootstocks when under pressure from soil-borne pests.


Risk Management – Learning from growing seasons and harvests
Presented by Tom Collins

For his second session at the WineVit Conference, assistant professor Tom Collins’ presentation provided historical context for research related to smoke exposures in vineyards. He updated the viewing audience on the new proposal to the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) program, along with an update on funding from Congress allotted for smoke exposure research.

Collins wrapped up his presentation with an update on his research projects of 2020, including the development of an ad hoc sensor network for monitoring smoke density in commercial vineyards during the wildfire smoke events of September 2020, and discussed research to evaluate the impact of ash from wildfires on grape and wine quality.


Evolution of winegrape trellising and its modern application
Presented by Bhaskar Bondada and Michelle Moyer

Wine grapes are lianas, a type of woody climbing vine that require support when they grow in order to reach light, which is why they are often found climbing trees when they grow in the wild.

grape vine trunk, split at the top with leaves and grapes growing on each arm of the split
The Geneva Double Curtain is depicted during Dr. Bondada and Dr. Moyer’s presentation, “Evolution of winegrape trellising and its modern application presentation.”

Grown naturally, grapevines are difficult to manage, and not conducive to producing high quality grapes for winemaking. Bhaskar Bondada, associate professor of the Viticulture & Enology Program, presented his ongoing work with trellis systems to the WineVit 2021 conference attendees, and said research over the decades has shown that commercial vineyards provide the best growing conditions to maximize grape yield and fruit quality.

When grapes are grown commercially, they are typically trellised and trained to grow in a way that maximizes their fruit potential.  “Although trellis systems improve fruit quality, outcomes can also depend on the wine grape cultivar and the location of the vineyard,” he said.


Professional Category Poster Awards:


1st Prize: Michelle Moyer

Michelle M. Moyer, Bernadette Gagnier, Maria Mireles, and Inga Zasada

Rootstocks for Vineyard Nematode Management


2nd Prize: Lynn Mills

Lynn Mills and Markus Keller

The WSU Cold Hardiness Program: Providing Grape Growers with Critical Temperatures and a Cold Damage Prediction Model


3rd Prize: Noma Chingandu

Nomatter Chingandu, Sridhar Jarugula, Adilakshmi Movva, and Naidu Rayapati

Safeguarding registered nurseries from systemic pathogens to maintain ‘clean’ planting stock


Graduate Student Poster Awards:


1st Prize: Bernadette Gagnier

Bernadette Gagnier, Inga Zasada, Michelle Moyer

Alternative Strategies for Nematode Management


2nd Prize: Arunabha Mitra

Arunabha Mitra, Sridhar Jarugula, and Naidu A. Rayapati

Molecular Biology of Grapevine leafroll-associated viruses


3rd-Prize: Geraldine Diverres

Geraldine Diverres, Sushma Thapa, C. Kang, Manoj Karkee, Qin Zhang, Markus Keller

Tailoring smart irrigation strategies for white wine grapes in eastern Washington


Graduate Student Oral Presentation


1st – Prize: Arun Mitra

Arunabha Mitra, Sridhar Jarugula, and Naidu A. Rayapati

Molecular Biology of Grapevine leafroll-associated viruses