Kaan Kurtural

Kaan Kurtural

Position Title
Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist

Viticulture and Enology


Kurtural is an assistant Cooperative Extension specialist in viticulture with the Department of Viticulture and Enology. He is headquartered at the department’s Oakville Station, a 40-acre research vineyard in Napa Valley. Kurtural received his Ph.D. in plant biology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He was an associate professor in viticulture and enology at Fresno State before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2015.

Research interests:

Viticulture, plant physiology, fruit science, crop management, precision viticulture, vineyard mechanization for optimizing crop load, yield efficiency and sustainability, whole grapevine physiology, irrigation, grape flavonoid biosynthesis

Brief overview:

Much of my research and extension focuses on understanding whole grapevine physiology that leads to improving agricultural practices, enhancing berry flavonoid composition, and adapting to ecological stresses.

Specifically, my research looks at three main areas:

1)     improving production efficiency in vineyards by optimizing fruit crop load and vine canopy using mechanical pruning, shoot thinning and leaf removal, and applied water amounts with precision guidance

2)     identifying quality improvement traits in berry composition by translating fundamental research into applied production practices in vineyards,

3)     evaluating alternative methods of controlling invasive species in vineyards.

Current projects:

  • Spatio-temporal management of grapevine crop load using precision agriculture and vineyard mechanization platforms
  • Conversion of heritage grapevine trellising systems to mitigate water productivity and water-use efficiency
  • Water productivity of rootstock genotypes
  • Ultraviolet light exclusion and applied water amounts and their effects of grape flavonoid biosynthesis