Anita Oberholster

UC Davis Part of Team Studying Wildfire Risks and Wine

UC Davis is part of a team of western land grant universities sharing a $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the effect of wildfire smoke on grapes and wine.

Oregon State University is leading the 4-year project to better understand how wildfire smoke compromises grapes, which poses a threat to the $20 billion wine industry in the United States.

Anita Oberholster, a cooperative extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, will lead efforts to develop a grape smoke exposure risk management plan.

Washington State University is also part of the project, which will help develop low-cost sensors and networks to provide real-time information, assess the effect of smoke on grapevines and grapes and create a predictive model to estimate smoke risk.

The UC Davis grant research team is comprised of Viticulture and Enology Assistant Professor Elisabeth Forrestel, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Distinguished Professor Anthony Wexler, Civil and Environmental Engineering Professors Michael Kleeman and Thomas Young and Chris Alaimo, a doctoral student in the same department, all from the College of Engineering.

The grant is part of 21 projects and nearly $74 million awarded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, USDA announced.

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