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Auction Success, Grape Knowledge, AgWeatherNet

Posted by | February 18, 2010

Wine Auction a Major Success

Renee Stout (left) with WSU Viticulture and Enology program students Jason Stout, Cameron Rushton, and Dane Scarimbolo at the gala.
Renee Stout (left) with WSU Viticulture and Enology program students Jason Stout, Cameron Rushton, and Dane Scarimbolo at the gala.

Thanks to everyone who supported this year’s Celebrate Washington Wine gala fundraiser by donating to the auction, attending, and participating in the new online auction. The ninth annual dinner and auction at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville was a sellout and brought in more than $240,000 to benefit the WSU Viticulture and Enology Program.

WSU V & E director Thomas Henick-Kling looks on as CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo accepts a check from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates President and CEO Ted Baseler of funds raised through their fall restaurant promotion.
WSU V & E director Thomas Henick-Kling looks on as CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo accepts a check from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates President and CEO Ted Baseler of funds raised through their fall restaurant promotion.

This year we were pleased to have several seniors in the V & E program attend, escorting guests from the entry into the gala. It was a great opportunity for them to discuss the importance of the V & E program with the attendees, and for guests to learn more about how their contributions benefit the program and students.

For the second year, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates teamed up with Youngs-Columbia Distributers and nearly 200 Northwest restaurants and wine shops to contribute a portion of their fall wine sales to the program. The promotion contributed $40,000 to the total proceeds. Our thanks to all of the businesses that participated.

Planning is already getting underway for the 10th anniversary Celebrate Washington Wine event. Mark your calendar and join us, January 22, 2011.

Check in at http://bit.ly/3eesMd to stay current with Celebrate Washington Wine, the auction that helps support viticulture and enology at WSU.

WSU Viticulture Expert Offers Global Perspective in Grapevine Science Textbook

The cover of The Science of Grapevines by Markus Keller
The cover of The Science of Grapevines by Markus Keller

It hadn’t even been published yet, but Washington State University viticulturist Markus Keller suddenly found he had a bestselling book on his hands.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Distinguished Professor of Viticulture, Keller is the author of the recently released “The Science of Grapevines: Anatomy and Physiology.” Published by Elsevier’s Academic Press of Burlington, Mass., the textbook hit the streets–and the desks of students and growers–on Feb. 12.

Remarkably for a textbook, and thanks to pre-orders, “The Science of Grapevines” was already an Amazon.com bestseller in the Plants/Physiology category.

“The Science of Grapevines: Anatomy and Physiology,” Keller’s publisher writes, “is the only book to comprehensively explore the physiology of the grapevine as it occurs around the world.”

“I took a global perspective in discussing how grapevines are built and how they work,” said Keller. Keller has worked in the vineyards of his native Switzerland, where he also earned master’s and doctoral degrees. In addition to teaching in Switzerland, Washington, Australia and Argentina, he has also conducted research in Australia and New York. He’s currently based in Washington wine country at WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser.

“The book addresses a gap not filled by other, currently available texts, which focus on the vines of particular regions. Today’s student, grower and winemaker needs to know about the scientific background in a global context while being able to apply management practices tailored to specific varieties and vineyard sites, because today’s wine industry is global and there has been a net increase in lands around the world being used for grapevine cultivation,” Keller said.

“We see our viticulture and enology students graduating and going to work the crush in the wine regions of South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa — and then following the seasons to come back north and work in Europe and North America,” he said.

The approach of Keller’s book is a scientifically grounded exploration, often applying discoveries in other plant species, of the main physiological processes underlying grapevine form and function, their interactions, developmental and environmental control, and their implications for practical vineyard management.

“The Science of Grapevines” addresses not only the specific issues and concerns of grapevines from regions around the world, but includes important emerging topics such as global climate change, water availability, salinity and more.

For more information about “The Science of Grapevines,” visit the publisher’s Web site at http://bit.ly/coviPn. The book may be ordered from Amazon.com by visiting http://bit.ly/bcrjJC.

AgWeatherNet Now Pushes Data to Growers

AgWeatherNet technical developers William Corsi, Evan Zumini, and Chun Fang
AgWeatherNet technical developers William Corsi, Evan Zumini, and Chun Fang

In an effort to provide valuable data to their technologically savvy clientele, the Washington State University AgWeatherNet development team has released two new weather products, as well as a third product developed by 4Quarters, Inc.

The first product is a new Web site, designed and formatted specifically for mobile computing devices. The AgWeatherNet mobile Web site will transform how the agricultural industry accesses real-time weather information, said William Corsi, technical coordinator of AgWeatherNet.

“This new product allows our user to access critical information when and where it is needed,” said Corsi. “Our mobile site puts access to real-time weather and modeling information at the user’s finger tips.”

The mobile version will work on any mobile device featuring a Web browser, said Gary Grove, AgWeatherNet director and professor of plant pathology. Grove is based at WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser.

“Clients can configure the new product to browse weather-related information from any of AgWeatherNet’s 133 weather stations, including current conditions, regional weather maps, raw weather data, disease forecasting models, and much more,” said Grove.

The second product AgWeatherNet has developed is a grape cold-damage decision-aid tool. The tool uses critical temperature data determined by WSU viticulture researchers. The tool provides information to facilitate both pruning and retraining decisions, said Grove.

“Temperature minima at many AgWeatherNet weather stations in wine country are used to identify potential areas of bud, bark, and wood damage,” said Grove. “The resulting information is critical for the adjustment of pruning levels and the determination of the necessity for vineyard retraining, one of the most costly and disruptive undertakings for Washington growers.”

“This is a logical next step toward putting the cold hardiness data collected by Lynn Mills and others in our viticulture team to practical use,” said Markus Keller, WSU professor of viticulture based at WSU’s research station in Prosser. “It will give growers an additional tool in deciding how to respond to cold events throughout the winter.”

The third product is AgAlertz (http://www.agalertz.com), developed by 4Quarters, Inc. of Yakima.

Employing a live data feed from AgWeatherNet, AgAlertz is a portfolio of user-defined “push” technologies that automatically deliver weather data, weather observations, and disease models to mobile devices via email, text messaging or synthesized voice technology. The latter technology is particularly useful, Grove said, because more information can be delivered via voice “live” or, perhaps more importantly, via voice mail than via text messaging. Users have the choice of AgWeatherNet station location, weather parameter in near real-time, choice of disease model, output type (email, text messaging, or voice), and time and frequency of notification.

Grove said that AgAlertz technology should be particularly useful to growers concerned with the potential for frost damage or those whose decisions include wind speed and direction as factors.

AgWeatherNet’s expansion in western Washington continues. A new monitoring station was established near Olympia in early February. AgWeatherNet is now comprised of 133 monitoring stations throughout the state of Washington.

For more information about AgWeatherNet, please visit http://weather.wsu.edu/.