The UCD V&E Extension Team has been busy!

Unified booth
Julie Brinley, Kaan Kurtural and Karen Block at the Unified Symposium in February 2020
Karen L. Block

Since January 2020, we have run 16 programs and had a Booth and hosted a reception at the Unified Symposium. Our first On Campus program of 2020, organized by Kaan Kurtural (Cooperative Extension Specialist, Viticulture) was a UC Davis Winter Grape Day on January 21. Our second and last in-person program to date took place on March 4, and was titled, “Advanced grapevine irrigation scheduling and management.” Even though we could not gather in person due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it was important for us to continue to communicate with our stakeholders. To do this, we came up with the idea of weekly “Office Hours” with Dave and Anita, where we could highlight research in interesting, relevant areas each week. Each “Office Hour” began with a short introduction (less than 20 min) from researchers/teams working in a particular area, and then allowed time for participants to ask questions. We have presented 11 of these programs so far, covering the following topics:

Episode 1: April 28, David Block, current Chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology, talked about how we’ve updated our curriculum over the last couple of years (with input from stakeholders like you).

Episode 2: May 5, Entomologist Frank Zalom, Virologist Mysore Sudhi Sudarshana, Viticulturist Kaan Kurtural, and Enologist Anita Oberholster discussed Red Blotch Disease and their new 4-year USDA-NIFA-SCRI grant that will address many remaining questions regarding prevalence, spread, impact, and management of Red Blotch Disease. 

Episode 3: May 12, Dario Cantu and Jerry Lin discussed their Riesling X Cabernet Sauvignon project. This cross was made to gain a better understanding of the genetics of flavor in grapes.

Zoom Office Hours
A screenshot from one of the Office Hours programs

Episode 4: May 19, Mason Earles discussed the use of AI and robots in the vineyard, and Kaan Kurtural talked about what is already possible for vineyard mechanization and automation.

Episode 5: May 26, Kaan Kurtural and Larry Bettiga discussed new trellis options for growers considering mechanization, and how to convert existing vineyards to systems that are more amenable to mechanization. They also discussed some dos and don’ts for if you are mothballing vineyards for this season.

Episode 6: June 2, Jill Brigham, Ron Runnebaum, Ned Spang, and David Block discussed the progress we have made with respect to the sustainable processes installed in the Teaching and Research Winery and the Jackson Building.

Episode 7: June 9, Beth Forrestel, Lauren Parker, and Martina Galeano discussed their work on heat waves as well as the common gardens of potential future grape varieties for CA.

Episode 8: June 16, James Campbell, Anita Oberholster and David Block discussed their latest research on phenolic extractability and reactivity.

Episode 9: June 23, Anita Oberholster, Elizabeth Tomasino, and Tom Collins discussed the impact of smoke exposure on grapes and wine along with their latest research in this area. 

Episode 10: June 30, Ben Montpetit, David Mills, Lucy Joseph, and Kyria Boundy-Mills discussed the future of wine microbiology.

Episode 11: August 25, Andrew Walker discussed his recently released Pierce's Disease-resistant winegrape varieties

We recorded each session and have posted the videos on the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Extension Channel on Aggie Video. They are available at this link.
In addition, we had to postpone four of our five On the Road programs (one was completed in-person in November 2019), which were originally scheduled to take place in-person in March and April 2020. Due to state and county rules, we decided to provide three of them virtually. The first one took place on July 13 for stakeholders in San Joaquin County. The second one was divided into two, two-hour sessions on Wednesday and Thursday July 15 and 16, and was provided in conjunction with the Napa Valley Vintners. The third was presented for stakeholders in Stanislaus County and occurred on July 27, in collaboration with Kari Arnold, Viticulture Farm Advisor for Stanislaus County. For topics covered, you can view the agendas and for videos of the events, click here.

We are already busy planning future programs.  In the coming year, we plan to complete five On the Road programs in the following counties or areas:  San Luis Obispo (originally scheduled for 2019-20), Kern, Alameda /Contra Costa, Shasta/Tehama, and the 3Ms (Merced, Madera, and Mariposa counties).  In addition, if in-person meetings are allowed, we are planning On Campus programs for February 9, March 5, April 7, and May 13, 2021. We will keep you informed as to the status of future events as more information becomes available. If you are not already receiving extension programming information and would like to be added to the list, please contact Karen Block or Caroline Firman