Food & Agriculture

Taking on climate change in vineyards

Warren Winiarski knows how to make beautiful wine and wants to help his beloved Napa Valley continue to do so for years to come. The legendary founder and former winemaker of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars fame is funding an ambitious research project to update and expand the globally recognized Winkler Index and give the industry new tools to cope with climate change.

Progress in climate study of wine grapes despite challenges of 2020

Beth Forrestel, an assistant professor and plant biologist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology, leads the project to modernize the Winkler Index that growers used for decades to match suitable wine grape varieties with different regions of the state. Even though smoke, wildfires and pandemic-induced restrictions presented some formidable obstacles to field research in 2020, the initial year of the study, Forrestel reports progress by those involved with the work.

New guide helps organic growers manage burrowing rodents

by UC ANR Staff Writer

Publication helps growers identify the rodent species on their properties, their life cycles and tools available to control them

Burrowing rodents can cause extensive and expensive damage to orchards and crop fields. To manage the pests without chemicals used on conventional farms, organic growers can consult a new publication from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources scientists.

Surviving Climate Change and a Pandemic

UC Davis researchers work to build a better future for Kenya’s poor.

Fatumo Latito sits on a narrow, hand-carved, wooden bench inside her tiny hut fashioned from branches and a mixture of cow dung and mud. It’s pouring outside, but she hasn’t forgotten the last drought. 

“Everyone lost livestock. If your herd was big, then you lost maybe half of them. If you only had a little, then you lost everything. I had four cows, and I lost them all,” she said through a translator. 

Machines Can Help Wine Grape Industry Survive Labor Shortage

Study Reviews Best Practices for Growers

Wine grape growers in California and elsewhere face increasing labor costs and severe labor shortages, making it difficult to manage and harvest a vineyard while maintaining profitability. Growers are increasingly turning to machines for pruning, canopy management and harvesting, but how well these practices are executed can substantially affect yield and quality.

Do chickens boost soil health, increase profits on organic vegetable farms?

by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

Research project will quantify the potential for chickens on organic vegetable farms

Historically, chickens were not a rare sight on farms, where they contributed to soil fertility as they freely pecked and scratched around vegetable gardens and crop land. Now, UC Cooperative Extension specialists have launched a research project to quantify the potential for chickens to be part of safe and sustainable commercial organic vegetable production.

Exploring smoke taint on the fly

Wildfires spark UC Davis research, wine industry collaboration 

The California wildfires of 2020 were especially hard on the state’s wine industry, damaging billions of dollars in property and grapes. Growers and vintners say it would have been much worse if not for timely science from the University of California, Davis. As destructive as they were, the 2020 wildfires have sparked renewed investment in the research and collaboration that keeps California’s wine industry resilient in a changing world.