MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2022. BY STEPHANIE BOLTON, PhD, LODI WINEGRAPE COMMISSION.
The Lodi Winegrape Commission has had great success in discovering practical solutions to real-world problems in the vineyard by creating collaborative teams of growers, pest control advisors, scientists, industry, and extension. The first of these teams was the AVF-funded Mealybug Biocontrol Research Focus Group. Next, the Lodi Grapevine Virus Research Focus Group built upon what was learned by the Mealybug Group to become a leader in virus outreach in grower-language, ultimately writing a book called What Every Winegrower Should Know: Viruses. This popular red book has been distributed all over California and the world. The Virus Focus Group continues to provide outreach and leadership for the grapevine virus challenge in California, and will host a Mealybug & Virus Outreach Meeting on April 7, 2022, in Stockton with a robust agenda.
In November 2020, the Commission initiated meetings of the newest team – the Lodi Grapevine Rootstock Research Focus Group. Several members from the Virus Focus Group joined in and we were all excited to move onto a less depressing topic, although we still discuss viruses quite often at our rootstock meetings. Team members include:
Stephanie Bolton, PhD, Lodi Winegrape Commission (leader)
David Berry, Wonderful Nurseries
Kyle Brown, LangeTwins Family Vineyards & Winery
Arthur Chavez, Bokisch Vineyards
Matt Frank, MS, Trinchero Family Estates
Stan Grant, MS, Progressive Viticulture
Stanton Lange, Lodi Grower
Lisa Meline, Viticulture Student & LWC Volunteer
Ken Noren, Wonderful Nurseries
Nick Podsakoff, Sunridge Nurseries
Tia Russell, Duarte Nursery
Dominic Schlies, Herrick Grapevines
Chris Storm, MS, Crop Solutions
Keith Striegler, PhD, E. & J. Gallo
Jeff Wheeler, Novavine
The overall objective is to discover future rootstock options for the ever-changing viticulture needs of Crush District 11 (Lodi), sharing our observations with other regions. This main objective will be accomplished by the following sub-objectives:
- To conduct a grapevine rootstock literature/nursery search, which includes collecting case studies about grapevine rootstocks both locally, state-wide, and internationally. We will survey growers and nurseries to get real-world impressions of rootstocks (pros/cons).
- To draft a living spreadsheet of rootstocks used worldwide (comparing the US name to names used in other countries), including rootstock characteristics.
- To plan replicated rootstock trials across the Lodi AVA for long-term data collection, using some novel rootstocks.
- To create a simple protocol for Lodi growers to have mini rootstock trials in their vineyards as they replant.
- To develop and deliver timely, relevant educational materials and workshops for rootstock selection for Crush District 11 growers.
- To establish priorities for future rootstock research projects.
We’ve amassed a wealth of information from all over the globe on rootstocks and continue to learn more at monthly meetings, which often include guest speakers such as Dr. Andy Walker (pictured on the far left in the photo below). The Rootstock Focus Group is also enjoying educational field trips. In the featured image at the top of this blog post, we are in a Vino Farms vineyard in Geyserville at a rootstock trial organized by Rhonda Smith. During the month of February, we’re splitting up to head to various nurseries to observe rootstock harvesting.
We look forward to learning practical information about rootstock selection and management to share with our industry in grower-friendly language – everyone agrees that there is a lot to learn about what happens underground in the vineyard and that the currently available rootstock information is in dire need of an update.
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