Grape harvest stands out as a bright spot in 2020

I enjoy keeping up to date with this Fall’s harvest in Cornell’s Véraison to Harvest Newsletter that is edited by Tim Martinson and Chris Gerling. The newsletter provides a valuable update on the progress of harvest across the state including detailed reports on berry samples. Given all the tumult this year, I am encouraged to read that harvest stands out as a bright spot as fruit quality continues to be good to excellent across the state. I am sure many will savor the 2020 vintage in 2021 as we put these challenging times behind us.

While it may seem like divine intervention that resulted in an excellent harvest, I would also attribute it to the well-established public-private partnership to invest in viticulture and enology research. Every year, the Foundation allocates up to 40% of the funding that it receives from the state into its research program. Private sector partners like the grower supported Lake Erie Regional Grape Program, New York Wine Grape Growers, Long Island Grape Growers, E.J. Gallo Winery, Sherwin Williams, and John Dyson provide funding to match the State’s investment in research.

Most Foundation supported research originates from Cornell AgriTech, and the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Lab, which conduct grape research with expert teams of researchers and extension agents at experiment stations located in all the State’s major grape growing regions. These expert teams endeavor to resolve our state specific pest and disease management issues, help us adapt to a changing climate, and pioneer new grape varieties designed to thrive in our state. Speaking of well-established, Cornell AgriTech has served New York’s agriculture industry since its inception in 1880, and it continues to grow its grape research and innovation scope every year. Our industry’s success during harvest directly relates to the long-term investment in this asset.

Robert Smith, National Grape Cooperative, leads the Research Committee of the NYWGF Board. He works closely with Dana Alexander, NYWGF Director of Operations, to organize the Foundation’s research program by obtaining industry feedback to formulate research priorities and to oversee an RFP process to award project funding. The July 25th Grapevine Newsletter outlined the call for NYWGF’s research priorities for 2021. The Foundation will release the final research themes in a Request for Proposals to the wine and grape research community in early December.

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Sam Filler

Sam Filler

Since his appointment to Executive Director in 2017, Sam Filler has led the New York Wine & Grape Foundation in supporting sustainability efforts and has spearheaded marketing initiatives to elevate the image of New York wines.