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Washington State Wine Industry Drives Priorities for World-Class Research Program

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Vintners and grape growers help Wine Commission develop robust plan for research.

SEATTLE (July 21, 2017) – In Washington State, the needs of the wine industry take top priority for the viticulture and enology research program. Input from the state’s vintners and grape growers helped develop priorities for the statewide research program and will guide the Washington State Wine Commission’s funding recommendations for research in 2018.

The research priority list includes a range of issues challenging the wine industry, from improving water use efficiency in the vineyard in response to limited water supplies, vineyard and winery mechanization, and working towards improving wine quality through fermentation management in the winery. Feedback from an industry wide survey conducted by the Washington State Wine Commission earlier this year was considered by the Wine Research Advisory Committee when it recently approved the list. The Wine Research Advisory Committee, a sub-committee of the Wine Commission, serves as the scientific review arm for the Washington State wine industry and is tasked with setting priorities annually to guide research proposals.

Research priorities drive the statewide viticulture and enology research program, says Melissa Hansen, research program manager for the Wine Commission. “The priorities help researchers submit relevant proposals that address the needs of industry,” she says, adding that the annual exercise of reviewing and fine-tuning research priorities helps ensure that emerging issues from around the state are not overlooked. Addressing industry need is one of the criteria used in the Wine Research Advisory Committee’s evaluation and recommendation of funding of submitted proposals.

The Wine Commission surveyed the state’s wineries, wine grape growers and research community in April to broaden input used to set research priorities. More than 150 respondents ranked research topics and provided research suggestions that were considered by the Wine Research Advisory Committee.

The 2017-18 research priority list is posted on the Washington State Wine Commission’s website and included in the Washington State Grape and Wine Research Program’s request for research proposals that was released on July 21, 2017. The program’s current cycle, which began July 1, funded more than $1 million in viticulture and enology research at Washington State University. For information about the program’s request for proposals, visit Research Program.

Priority list

About the Washington State Wine Commission

The Washington State Wine Commission represents every licensed winery and wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, the mission of the WSWC 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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