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Effects of extreme climate events on grapes, wine

Posted by | January 16, 2017

Wine and grape industry members, researchers and students are invited to a research symposium, “Climate Extremes: Is the Pacific Northwest Wine Industry Ready?” 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday, March 17, in the East Auditorium at Washington State University Tri-Cities in Richland, Wash.

Researchers and industry leaders will discuss climate trends, impacts of extreme weather, solutions for mitigating damage and available resources. The symposium is hosted by the WSU viticulture and enology program.

Registration is $100 per person and includes a social reception to follow. Discounts are available to students on a first come, first served basis with priority given to WSU viticulture and enology students. For more information and to register, go to or email

In the Pacific Northwest, recent warmer spring and summer temperatures have led to earlier harvests and changes in fruit composition. The region also has experienced early fall frosts before vines are fully dormant, then generally mild winters (with the exception of several cold snaps this season) followed by sharp declines in temperature through early spring.

Heat and cold extremes can be damaging to grapevines and impact fruit composition and winemaking decisions. Information presented at the symposium will equip growers to manage vineyards and adjust winemaking practices amid these variable conditions.

Speakers include:


Dr. Hans Schultz, president, Hochschule Geisenheim University.  Dr. Schultz is an international expert on grapevine physiology and climate.  He has conducted viticulture research in Germany, France, Australia and California.






Dr. Greg Jones, director of the Division of Business, Communication and the Environment, professor and research climatologist in the Environmental Science and Policy Program, Southern Oregon University. Dr. Jones is a research climatologist specializing in the climatology of viticulture, with a focus on how climate variation influences vine growth, wine production and the quality of wine produced.





Dr. Markus Keller, professor of viticulture, Washington State University. Dr. Keller’s research program focuses on developmental and environmental factors and vineyard management practices as they influence crop physiology of wine and juice grapes. He is also the author of the textbook “The Science of Grapevines.”





Roger Boulton

Dr. Roger Boulton, professor & chemical engineer, Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology, UC Davis.   Dr. Boulton studies the chemical and biochemical engineering aspects of winemaking and distilled spirits production.





Steve Ghan, PNNL

Dr. Steve Ghan, climate scientist, Climate Center, Pacific Northwest National Lab. Steve’s research has made important contributions to the influence of complex topography on microclimate, and used that understanding to simulate the impact of climate change on mountain snowpack across the Earth.




The symposium is a part of the Ravenholt Lecture Series, which brings grape and wine industry professionals to WSU to share their research and professional perspective. The series is made possible through an endowment from the Albert R. Ravenholt Foundation. Ravenholt, an early pioneer in Washington’s wine industry, was founder of Sagemoor Vineyards.