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Viticulture Certificate Schedule and Courses


Grapevine Anatomy and Physiology

Feb 1 – April 30

Online, Research Paper

Grapevine Anatomy and Physiology – Research Paper

Taught by Dr. Markus Keller, this course is an introduction to the physical structure of the grapevine, the various organs, their functions, and their interactions with the environment. This course focuses on those elements of physiology that will enhance your understanding of vine function and how they relate to grape production. The course will cover the basic concepts in growth and development, water relations, photosynthesis, respiration, mineral uptake and utilization, and carbon partitioning. Then these concepts will be put to use to understand plant-environment interactions including stress physiology and an introduction to canopy dynamics, yield formation and fruit composition.

Lecture Topics:

Lecture 1 – Botany and Geography
Lecture 2 – Roots, Shoots and Buds
Lecture 3 – Leaves and Clusters
Lecture 4 – Phenology and Growth Cycle
Lecture 5 – Water Relations and Nutrient Uptake
Lecture 6 – Photosynthesis and Respiration
Lecture 7 – Transport and Distribution
Lecture 8 – Canopy and Environment
Lecture 9 – Nutrient Use – Nitrogen
Lecture 10 – Yield Formation
Lecture 11 – Fruit Composition
Lecture 12 – Cold Damage

Principles of Soil & Nutrient Management

May 1 – July 30

Online; Online activities and online exam

Principles of Soil & Nutrient Management – Online activities and online exam
Taught by Dr. Cathy Perillo, the objective of this course is to introduce concepts of soil science with an emphasis on soil properties for premium wine grape production. We will address soil formation, physical and chemical properties, as well so soil and, to a lesser extent, water management. Topics will be addressed to cover the concepts behind and practical guidance for decision making for soil and nutrient management, including aspects of soil water as this influences plant nutrient availability. Concepts covered will be: nutrient management strategies and needs for newly planted and established vineyards; irrigation water quality and quantity management as related to soil and nutrient management.

Lecture Topics:

Lecture 1 – Introduction: Soil Formation and Soil Forming Factors
Lecture 2 – Soil Architecture & Physical Properties
Lecture 3 – Physics of Soil Water
Lecture 4 – Soil Chemical Properties
Lecture 5 – Soil Biology
Lecture 6 – Essential Plant Nutrients: Uptake of Soil-Derived Nutrients
Lecture 7 – Managing Soil Nutrients; Fertilizers: Foliar vs. Granular
Lecture 8 – Soil Testing; Tissue Testing
Lecture 9 – Managing pH and Salt-Affected Soils; Irrigation Water Quality
Lecture 10 – Managing Soil Physical Properties
Lecture 11 – Soil Variability; Site Preparation 

Principles & Practices of Grapevine Irrigation

Aug 1 – 31

Online; Online Exam

The course is taught by Dr.Troy Peters, WSU Irrigation Specialist. After completing this course you will understand the principles of irrigation and be able to predict the irrigation needs and timing of grapevines, and have the knowledge to design and install a drip irrigation system, a chemigation system, and be familiar with the different types of soil moisture monitors so you can make the appropriate choices for your vineyard.

Lecture Topics:

Lecture 1 – Irrigation Scheduling
Lecture 2 – Drip Irrigation Systems
Lecture 3 – Grapevine Irrigation
Lecture 4 – Chemigation & Soil Moisture Sensors

Viral Diseases of Grapes

Sept 1 – Sept 30

Online,  Online Exam

Taught by Dr. Naidu Rayapati,you will learn about the viruses that affect grapevines, how they spread, how they manifest themselves, and how they effect the subsequent wine. After completing the virus disease course you will be aware of the importance of planting certified disease free vines.

Lecture Topics:

Lecture 1 – Viral Diseases of Grapevine
Lecture 2 – Symptoms and Vectors
Lecture 3 – Rugose Wood and Grapevine Fanleaf Diseases
Lecture 4 – Conditions That Mimic Virus Symptoms 

GRAPE CAMP 1 – Prosser, WA

Usually 2nd weekend in September

Grape Camp I – Vineyard visits to observe different varieties and training systems, testing grape maturity, canopy management techniques, calculating fertilizer rates and scouting and monitoring grapevine diseases.

Growing Grapes

Oct 1 – Dec 15

Online, Research Paper

Taught by Dr. Michelle Moyer, this course is designed to teach students about practical viticulture production. Several aspects of viticulture management for premium wine grape production will be covered, including wine grape variety selection, optimization of site selection, use of clean plant material, vineyard trellising and layout, canopy management, and measuring harvest maturity. By the end of this course, you should be able to have the information needed to begin planning your vineyard.

Lecture Topics:

Lecture 1 – Introduction to Grape Production
Lecture 2 – Site Selection and Land Preparation
Lecture 3 – Variety Selection, Rootstocks, Propagation
Lecture 4 – Trellising, Training and Pruning Systems
Lecture 5 – New Vineyard Establishment
Lecture 6 – Canopy Management
Lecture 7 – Crop Management
Lecture 8 – Vineyard Equipment
Lecture 9 – Winter Freezes and Spring Frosts
Lecture 10 – Miscellaneous Limiting Factors

Insects and Biological Control

Jan 1 – Jan 31

Online, Online Exam

This course, taught by Dr. David James, will introduce you to the insect pests of the grapevine with an emphasis on the pests of Washington State. It will cover the predators for insects, the principles strategies of biological control and how to apply them in the vineyard.

Lecture Topics:

Lecture 1 – Insect and Mite Pests in Washington Vineyards
Lecture 2 – Biological Control of Insects and Mites in Washington Vineyards
Lecture 3 – Beneficial Insects and Mites in Washington Vineyards

Disease Management of Grapes

Feb 1 – Apr 15

Online, Paper

In this course led by Dr. Michelle Moyer, you will develop a basic understanding of plant pathology and what causes plant disease. You will also learn about common grapevine diseases in Washington and beyond, along with information on plant parasitic nematode management in vineyards.

Lecture Topics:

Lecture 1 – Introduction to Plant Pathology
Lecture 2 – Concepts in Disease Management
Lecture 3 – Grapevine Powdery Mildew
Lecture 4 – Botrytis Blight and Bunch Rot
Lecture 5 – Other Foliar and Fruit Diseases
Lecture 6 – Crown Gall
Lecture 7 – Other Trunk and Systemic Diseases
Lecture 8 – Introduction to Plant Parasitic Nematodes
Lecture 9 – Plant Parasitic Nematode Management

Weed Management

Apr 16 – May 15

Online, Online Exam

This course will cover all aspects of weed management in the vineyard including the methods and timing, the limitations, and the efficacy of mechanical, cultural and chemical methods. An emphasis will be placed on the chemical controls available and how to use them in the safest, most effective and most economical ways.

Lecture Topics :

Lecture 1 – Biology of Weeds
Lecture 2 – Weed Reproduction
Lecture 3 – Non-Chemical Weed Control Strategies
Lecture 4 – Chemical Weed Control Strategies

Grape Camp 2 – Prosser WA

Usually 1st weekend in March

Grape Camp II – Bud damage assessment, Irrigation Management, Spray program and equipment, Pruning demo and hands-on practice, Visit to grapevine nursery

Application Technology

May 16 – June 15

On-line; Online Activites and Quizzes

This course, led by Gwen Hoheisel, will focus on proper use and maintenance of sprayers to minimize drift and optimize spray efficacy. Students will learn sprayer parts, function, and maintenance;proper calibration and optimizing nozzle selection, air direction and volume, and understanding the effects of environment on spray quality

Lecture Topics:

Lecture 1 – Introduction and Sprayer Parts
Lecture 2 – Calibration of Airblast Sprayer
Lecture 3 – Optimization to Maximize Coverage and Minimize Drift
Lecture 4 – Environment Conditions and Beyond Airblast

Economic & Business Principles of Growing Grapes

June 16 – July 31

Online, Online Exam

Led by Trent Ball and Ray Folwell, this course will provide information on the economic aspects of developing or starting a premium wine grape vineyard. Included in the program are the basic economics, financial tools and statements that are needed to effectively own and operate a vineyard. In addition, a portion of the course will focus on the development of a business plan and contracts for a vineyard.

Lecture Topics:

Lecture 1 – Introduction and Business Planning
Lecture 2 – Wine Economies
Lecture 3 – Economic Concepts and Vineyard Contracts 
Lecture 4 – Time Value of Money
Lecture 5 – Financial Statements
Lecture 6 – Vineyard Costs of Operation
Lecture 7 – Credit

Grape Camp 3 – Prosser, WA

Usually 1st weekend in June

Grape Camp III – Vineyard management over the year, Canopy Management, Insects and IPM, and Soil and Tissue Sampling

Viticulture – Enology Interface

Aug 1 – Sept 15

Online, Online Exam

Led by Dr. Jim Harbertson, this course covers the basics of biochemistry as it related to winemaking. You will be introduced to winemaking and the major components in grapes that influence winemaking and wine quality.

Lectures Topics:

Lecture 1 – Review of Biochemistry
Lecture 2 – Overview of Winemaking
Lecture 3 – Sugars
Lecture 4 – Acids
Lecture 5 – Phenolic Compounds
Lecture 6 – Aromatic Compounds

More on Weekend Grape Camps

Required Attendance

The Viticulture Certificate has a requirement of attendance at three weekend ‘Grape Camps’. These camps are held in Prosser, Wa.

You will learn how to prune, diagnose disease and insect damage, predict yields, interpret soil test results, and visit with vineyard owners and managers to learn about their management practices, and hear their tips!

Logistical Information about Grape Camp

Most students coming from out of town usually arrive Friday evening.  The camps are held at the WSU Prosser IAREC in Prosser, Washington.  When going out to the field we will ride together in a bus.

Hotel room block information will be shared Certificate Program participants via email. Dress for the camps is casual and comfortable.  It can be hot during summer and fall, cold during winter, or anything in between. You might want to check the Prosser, WA (99350) weather forecast before leaving for camp.

Lunch is provided, as well as water during the day. Dinner is on your own but reservations will be made at a local restaurant for the group.  This is optional but highly encouraged as the networking opportunities among classmates is a valuable part of the program.  You are responsible for your dinner expense. Guests are welcome to join us at dinner, but guests are not allowed to attend camp during the day due to space limitations.

Some of the many vineyard managers and owners who generously share their time and expertise with the students include:

  • Ciel du Cheval Vineyards – Jim Holmes
  • Champoux Vineyards – Paul Champoux
  • Boushey Vineyards – Dick Boushey
  • Badger Mountain Vineyards – Greg Powers
  • Bookwalter Vineyards – John Bookwalter
  • Hedges Family Estate – John Gomez
  • Mercer Estates – John Derrick
  • Upland Vineyards – Todd Newhouse
  • Thurston Wolfe – Wade Wolfe
  • Inland Desert Nursery – Kevin Judkins