The Crush - May 2020 - 7

[ INDUSTRY NEWS ]

USDA ARS Funds Smoke Exposure Research

ARS FUNDS COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH EFFORT WITH STATE LAND GRANT UNIVERSITIES
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) is partnering with federal and state research
institutions in California, Oregon and Washington on a
collaborative $2 million research effort to address important
wildfire issues affecting grape production areas.
ARS has committed those funds to a collaborative research
effort involving the University of California-Davis, Oregon State
University and Washington State University.
CAWG, Oregon Wine Board and Washington Winegrowers -
all part of the West Coast Smoke Task Force - led the effort to
obtain federal funding for ARS to support grape smoke exposure
research.
The task force was formed in 2019 by the three associations and
industry leaders to focus on wildfire smoke issues. Four industry
representatives - Alisa Jacobson, Joel Gott Wines; Patrick Rawn,
Two Mountain Winery; Mike Testa, Central Coast Vineyard Care;
and Gregg Hibbits, Mesa Vineyard Management - are working
through the associations to coordinate industry efforts to address
a range of industry and economic issues associated with smoke
exposed grapes. Other groups involved in the effort include the
Oregon Winegrowers Association and Wine Institute.
Since 2011, increasingly frequent and severe wildfires in
California, Oregon and Washington have caused significant
disruption and economic losses for grape growers. The negative
impacts of smoke exposure on wine quality is an industry-wide
concern.
Climate change models predict increased wildfire risks in
the Western United States, which threatens the long-term
sustainability of important winegrowing regions. To combat
the increased risks of wildfire smoke to grape value and wine
quality, researchers will focus on developing and proving new
risk assessment tools, mitigation measures and management
strategies for use in vineyards and wineries.

Photo: Brian Shepard

ARS researchers, in collaboration with colleagues at the three
land grant institutions, will address components of the yearly life
cycle of wildfire impacts on winegrape production, including:
* Smoke exposure in the vineyard
* Chemical changes in grapes and wines
* Consumer perception of smoke taint
The $2 million in new ARS funds will be allocated as follows:
*
*
*
*
*

$700,000 to the USDA-ARS, Davis
$300,000 to UC Davis collaborator Anita Oberholster
$400,000 to USDA-ARS, Corvallis
$300,000 to OSU collaborator Elizabeth Tomasino
$300,000 to WSU collaborator Tom Collins

Researchers will start using ARS funds for research this summer
and they plan to provide regular updates to the industry.
"Congress, the Agricultural Research Service and winegrowing
organizations from the states most affected by wildfires really
did a great job to obtain $2 million in research funding for smoke
exposure issues," said associate professor Elizabeth Tomasino,
Oregon State University. "And, I know those efforts are ongoing.
With more funding, I'm certain this collaborative research
effort can deliver new tools and techniques to help growers and
wineries reduce smoke exposure related losses."
CAWG President John Aguirre said, "Thanks to the California
congressional delegation, and especially Reps. Mike Thompson
and Jimmy Panetta, for having secured this funding. Now,
the funds are in the hands of outstanding researchers who are
prepared to make important contributions to our understanding
of how to better manage smoke exposure problems."
MAY 2020 / 7



The Crush - May 2020

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