Wine

Having a Nice Glass of French Wine?

If consumers cannot tell the quality of a product when they buy it, it can drive high-quality products, like a good French wine, out of the market. Consumers would not pay a premium, and producers would have no incentive to make costly quality improvements. This widely held economic tenet, formalized in a famed article by Nobel Prize-winner George Akerlof, suggests that without standards, consumers could be left with mostly “lemons,” such as defective used cars.

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.

Bringing Big Data to the Vineyard

Big data is all around us –– even in the wine we drink. UC Davis’ Smart Farm Big Idea is tackling how to take some of this vast trove of information and synthesize it for the benefit of agriculture.

Mason Earles, assistant professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology and the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, is applying big data by merging agricultural and machine learning to glean information that improves vineyards’ health and yields.

UC Davis Releases 5 New Wine Grape Varieties

Plants Are Resistant to Deadly Pierce’s Disease

For the first time since the 1980s, University of California, Davis, researchers have released new varieties of wine grapes. The five new varieties, three red and two white, are highly resistant to Pierce’s disease, which costs California grape growers more than $100 million a year. The new, traditionally bred varieties also produce high-quality fruit and wine.

Grapevine Red Blotch Disease Threatens U.S. Grape Industry

$3 Million Grant Awarded to Study Causes, Impact of Grapevine Virus

University of California, Davis, scientists will lead a collaborative effort to study grapevine red blotch disease, which threatens the $162 billion U.S. grape industry. The virus causes red veins and blotches on grape leaves. The fruit on diseased plants is smaller, ripens more slowly, and its sugars and colors are muted.

From Class to Glass

Grad student launches wine label with newly acquired skills  

When it comes to hands-on learning, Isabelle Straka doesn’t limit herself to the classroom. The second-year master’s student in Viticulture and Enology puts newly acquired skills to the test in producing her own wine label.

Assessing the Damage

Northern California fires will have some impact on the wine industry 

On-going wildfires have created great devastation in Napa and Sonoma Counties and have spread into Mendocino and Solano Counties as well. This region is among California’s best known wine-growing regions and many are interested in how these fires damage the wine industry and affect grape and wine supply and markets.