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Sustainability In Washington

April 2008
 
by Peter Mitham
 
 
Sustainability In Washington
Andrea Anderson, Washington Wine Grape Industry Foundation with WAWGG's Vicky Scharlau.
Sustainability In Washington
Gary Grove, WSU Prosser and Wayne Wilcox, of Cornell's Geneva, N.Y. research station.
Kennewick, Wash. -- Sustainable practices can play a role in distinguishing the Washington wine industry, speakers at the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers' (WAWGG) annual meeting in Kennewick, Wash., Feb. 6-8 told growers. Speakers emphasized the business and marketing advantages of sustainable practices in the vineyard and winery.

Sustainability In Washington
Tom Waliser of Waliser Vineyards holds the trophy honoring him as grower of the year
Reducing chemical inputs in the vineyard and more efficient use of water and energy are not just sound management practices, said Dr. Cliff Ohmart, research director for the Lodi-Woodbridge Wine Grape Commission. "With winegrapes, you can actually save money with your sustainable practices," he said. "Growers who do sustainable practices are better credit risks, and they're better insurance risks."

Making the transition to sustainable practices is something many are already doing, thanks to tighter controls on pesticides and greater attention to improving stewardship of natural resources.

Dr. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, coordinator of the BioAg program at the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources in Puyallup, outlined steps to help move growers towards more sustainable farming practices:
  • Reduce damaging inputs through precision application;
  • Replace conventional inputs with healthier alternatives;
  • Redesign the vineyard to reflect environment-friendly practices.
Despite stormy weather that created havoc on state highways, the conference drew 1,200 to 1,300 people to a show that just a decade ago struggled to attract 200 growers.
Sustainability
Mike Wade, Fielding Hills Winery, chats with veteran winemaker Charlie Hoppes of Fidelitas Winery, Benton.
PHOTOS: Peter Mitham
 
Sustainability In Washington
Phil Cline, from Naches Heights Vineyard in Yakima.
 

 

Oregon Inspired By Australia

Symposium keynote speaker emphasizes role of research

 
by Jim Gordon
 
 
Eugene, Ore. -- "Our focus is from the consumer backwards to the winemaker and the grapegrower," Sakkie Pretorius, managing director of the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), told the Oregon wine industry in February. The microbiologist observed that the world wine market suffers from a chronic oversupply, primarily from the top European wine producing countries. Yet with leadership and technical direction from AWRI, the Australian industry now does AU$5 billion (AU$1 = US$.89) in export sales alone.

Oregon Wine
Hildegarde Heymann (left) of UC Davis and Patty Skinkis of Oregon State.
 
Oregon Wine
Dick Erath and Lisa Shara Hall at the Oregon Wine Industry Symposium.
 
Oregon Wine
Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser won Lifetime Achievement Awards.
 
He may have inspired Oregon vintners to support their own fledgling research and self-help establishment, the OSU Wine Institute. Vintner David Adelsheim urged his compatriots to add to the current tally of $1,175,000 to make the institute a reality.

The institute will be housed at Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, and its College of Agricultural Sciences will move existing faculty positions into the institute. The state has pledged support of $2.5 million over five years. Three current OSU faculty will form the core staff. A director will be named, and a position in viticulture research and extension filled. The institute will create a comprehensive viticulture, enology and business program, and coordinate research and outreach among faculty in viticulture, enology, business and other disciplines.


Rob Stuart and wife Mar ia won an Outstanding Service Award.
 

Sakkie Pretorius came from Australia to address 750 in Eugene, Ore.
 

Michael Donovan of RoxyAnn received an Outstanding Service Award.
 
Pretorius explained that AWRI is owned by the wine industry, and its R&D work is transferred directly back to the industry. Research results are published for the whole world, but Aussies gain a greater advantage, he said, because they focus on quick adoption of innovations.

He emphasized that when ignorance in an industry goes down, sales go up

The Oregon Wine Industry Symposium and trade show Feb. 10-12 drew attendance over 750, up from 597 in 2007.
 
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