UC Davis V&E Extension Summary May 2019

Bottling line readiness program.
Bottling line readiness program

UC Davis V&E Extension has had quite the busy winter and spring quarters. After hosting a booth and a reception at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, we began our series of On Campus and On the Road programs.

On February 21, we hosted a program entitled “Wine Flavor 101: Factors that Impact Wine Flavor and Mouthfeel” as one of our ongoing series of day-long seminars targeting the wine industry.  Invited speaker, Elizabeth Tomasino, from Oregon State University, presented an overview of wine sensory evaluation and how it can be used to bridge the gap between winemakers and consumers. This set the stage for more in-depth discussions regarding mouthfeel. This is an area of key interest to Anita Oberholster, one of our Department’s Cooperative Extension Specialists.  Dr. Oberholster then demonstrated how the mouthfeel wheel can be used as an educational tool in the winery to develop a common language for the many mouthfeel characteristics.  Andy Waterhouse, also of UC Davis V&E, discussed his work with Tribology and how it can be used to help describe mouthfeel.  The day was perfectly rounded off with a panel of winemakers having an interactive discussion about the different ways they influence mouthfeel in their wines to achieve their style goals.

On March 8, we presented an On the Road program at the Monterey County Cooperative Extension Office in Salinas.  We worked with Larry Bettiga, Viticulture Farm Advisor for Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties, to bring relevant topics to the grape growers and winemakers in Monterey County.  Topics included managing the spread of viruses, whether viruses affect wine quality, using plant material to promote early vine development, and understanding how grapevine roots respond and recover.  We also introduced one of the new professors in the department, Megan Bartlett.

On March 21, we presented a program on campus titled “Bottling Line Readiness”.  We started the day with a talk from Zoran Ljepovic titled, “Everything you ever wanted to know about bottling but were afraid to ask.”  His talk was full of information regarding what to plan for including timelines, pre-bottling analyses, inspection for contaminants, important paperwork, sanitation regimens, bottling line start-up, sampling, and what to do with “out of spec” products.  Andy Waterhouse then talked about oxygen management in the bottle.  A mobile bottling line was brought in with experts in bottling. We finished the day with two panels; one on closure technologies and one on the bottling supply chain.

UCD V&E Extension was then On the Road once more, on March 28, in Lake County. We worked with the Viticulture Farm Advisor for Lake and Mendocino Counties, Glenn McGourty, to present relevant topics.  We had additional help with local logistics from the Lake County Winegrape Commission.  Glenn and Anita Oberholster presented and discussed their research having to do with the effect of smoke exposure on grapes and wine.  Glenn presented some general information about how wine might pick up a smoky flavor and then showed results specifically from the Lake County Smoke Flavors in Wine Study.  Anita presented what we know about the smoke flavor in wine (sensory information, the relationship between smoke/fire and smoke flavor development, and more) and potential tools for amelioration.  Other speakers included Megan Bartlett, Kendra Baumgartner, Kaan Kurtural, and Andrew Walker.  Almost everyone stayed through lunch, discussing with and asking questions of the speakers.  It was an amazing day!

Early the following week we headed Tularesouth.  On April 2, we were at the Tulare County Agricultural Building.  We worked closely with the Tulare County Farm advisor, Gabriel Torres and county staff, to bring relevant topics to the region.  Anita Oberholster spoke about the Effect of Red Blotch virus on wine quality; Matt Fidelibus spoke about Grapevine micronutrients in the San Joaquin Valley; Kendra Baumgartner spoke about Trunk Disease Management; Megan Bartlett spoke about Grapevine Physiology and Heat and Drought Stress; Gabriel Torres spoke about Nematodes; Nicolas Bambach spoke about Deficit Irrigation and Water Measurement; and Kerri Steenwerth spoke remotely about Soil Health and Vineyard Floor Management.