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Washington Wine Industry Research Seminar Sets Record Attendance in 2017

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WAVE attendees said seminar topics were on target.

SEATTLE (May 3, 2017) – The second annual Washington Advancements in Viticulture and Enology (WAVE), a research-focused seminar sponsored by the Washington State Wine Commission and Washington State University, nearly doubled in size from its debut last year. Nearly all the attendees of grape growers and winemakers said the event provided research information useful to their operations and topics were “on target,” according to feedback from the event questionnaire.

The WAVE seminar, held April 19 at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, featured in-depth presentations of current WSU research projects funded by the wine industry through the Washington State Wine Commission. In 2016, the sell-out event had 80 growers and vintners in attendance, compared to almost 150 industry members at this year’s conference. Research findings shared included topics of irrigation, vineyard nutrition, pest and disease management, impacts of grape maturity on wine color and sensory attributes and smoke taint in grapes and wine.

“WAVE is a valuable venue to deliver research information to Washington’s wine industry,” said Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling, director of WSU’s Viticulture and Enology Program. “It brings scientists and growers and winemakers together for dialogue, to share research outcomes and discuss future research.”

Dick Boushey, chair of the Wine Commission’s Research Committee, agreed with Henick-Kling’s assessment.  “WAVE is a great show and tell,” he said. “It helps illustrate where the industry’s research dollars go and shows the depth and breadth of issues under study.”

The industry-driven viticulture and enology research program in Washington has resulted in game-changing outcomes that have helped growers reduce pesticide and fungicide usage, conserve irrigation water and improve overall wine quality. Nearly 25-percent of the Wine Commission’s almost $6 million budget is spent on research, according to Boushey, an amount that includes the industry’s payment of its $7.4 million commitment to help build the Wine Science Center at WSU’s Richland campus.

A record $1 million—up 20 percent from last year’s funding—will fund research projects in fiscal year 2018. The program combines funding from the Wine Commission, Auction of Washington Wines, WSU’s Agriculture Research Center and state taxes (1/4 cent per liter) collected on all wines sold in Washington.

A condensed version of WAVE—dubbed WAVEx—is scheduled for July 11 and 13, 2017, in Walla Walla and Woodinville, respectively. The half-day WAVEx format, with a single topic of “Managing Phenolics from Grape to Barrel,” allows for a deep dive in the subject of tannin management from vineyard to fermentation to the barrel. WAVEx is designed for those involved in winemaking.

Visit the WAVE website to view proceedings from the April 19 meeting and learn more about the upcoming WAVEx seminars.

About Washington State Wine

Washington State Wine represents every licensed winery and wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, the mission of the WSW is to raise positive awareness and demand for Washington State wine through marketing and education while supporting viticulture and enology research to drive industry growth.  Funded almost entirely by the industry through assessments based on grape and wine sales, the WSW is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. To learn more, visit www.washingtonwine.org.

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