American Vineyard Foundation Receives 78 Grant Proposals

Napa, CA – The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) has received 78 funding requests for projects ranging from mealybug control to microbiomics, and is now deliberating on how to allocate over $1 million in available research funds among these grant requests. The mission of the AVF is to raise funds that address grape and wine industry research priorities, helping keep American viticulture and enology on the forefront of the world of wine. Following comprehensive viticulture and enology surveys sent to over 3,000 industry members, the AVF identified the topics most important to the grape and winemaking community. Research proposals to address these topics were then solicited by the AVF. Each proposal received by the AVF was evaluated by an industry review committee in one of the following disciplines:

  1. Breeding and Genetics
  2. Cultural Practices
  3. Disease Management
  4. Enology
  5. Outreach and Education
  6. Pest Management.

The AVF relies on these six review panels to examine and evaluate the proposals and annual reports. Each of these committees is comprised of a diverse set of industry reviewers having technical expertise within each area. The AVF works cooperatively with the California Table Grape Commission, the California Grape Rootstock Improvement Commission, the California Grape Rootstock Research Foundation, the California Raisin Marketing Board, the California Competitive Grant Program for Research in Viticulture and Enology, the Viticulture Consortium Program for the Western Region, the California Winegrape Inspection Advisory Board, the Oregon Wine Board, and Washington State Grape & Wine Research to maximize the available research funds. Representatives from all of the named groups have been working together to streamline the research proposal submission and review process. Funding announcements will be made in May 2010.

“We are very pleased with this year’s level of industry support,” remarked AVF Chairman Jim Frisinger.

Because the AVF is typically able to fund 35-40{aed9a53339cdfc54d53cc0c4af03c96668ab007d9c364a7466e3349a91bf0a23} of the proposals submitted, the research review process is critical to ensure that we are funding the work that best meets industry needs and is most likely to produce applicable results. About the American Vineyard Foundation The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) is a California corporation organized in 1978 by the American Society of Enology and Viticulture as a vehicle to raise funds for research in viticulture and enology. Basic and applied research has made the American grape and wine industry the world’s leader. The AVF provides a unique opportunity to unify the industry through an industry-wide research effort to maintain this progress. www.avf.org

Industry Icon, Jim Frisinger, Named Chairman for 2010

Napa, CA – November 24, 2009: The American Vineyard Foundation, an organization whose mission is to raise funds that address grape and wine industry research priorities, has named Jim Frisinger, long-time member of the AVF board of directors, as chairman for the 2010 term.

Jim Frisinger believes that the American Vineyard Foundation is one of the keys to the future of the wine business in the US. ?What we?ve done over the past fifteen years,? he notes, ?has been the difference between night and day, success and failure. And as we move forward against an increasingly international competitive market, our research, and the incremental improvements we have made, will be a vital advantage to us all.?

After graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelors Degree in horticulture, Jim first visited California in 1973 to look at the University of California, Davis and visit Napa Valley, where he met Myron Nightingale, the winemaker at Beringer Vineyards. It would be another seven years before he returned to Napa ? but the seed was planted.

Jim went on to receive a Masters Degree in viticulture and enology at UC Davis. He continued his post graduate work there as a staff researcher and teaching assistant for several years.

In April of 1980, Jim joined the Vineyard team at Beringer, which then farmed approximately 1,800 acres of vineyard land. In 2003, Jim was promoted to Vice President of North Coast Vineyard Operations. He oversaw almost 4,000 acres of vineyards on the North Coast, handling all strategic development and viticulture operations, from planting, pruning, and cultivating through to harvest.

Jim is involved with numerous organizations, including the American Society of Enologists and Viticulturists, the Napa Valley Vineyard Technical Group and the Napa County Winegrape Pest and Disease Board. He is a graduate of the California Agriculture Leadership program and has been on the board of the American Vineyard Foundation for over ten years, five of them on the executive committee.

A true enthusiast, Jim personally owns twenty acres of vineyards around his home in Napa, where he grows Chardonnay.

About the American Vineyard Foundation

The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) is a California corporation organized in 1978 by the American Society of Enology and Viticulture as a vehicle to raise funds for research in viticulture and enology. Basic and applied research has made the American grape and wine industry the world’s leader. The AVF provides a unique opportunity to unify the industry through an industry-wide research effort to maintain this progress. www.avf.org

$1.9 Million in Funding for Viticulture Research

Napa, CA – Three major viticultural research funding organizations have joined together to contribute almost $2 million for viticulture and enology research projects in 2009. Over $1 million in funding was granted by the American Vineyard Foundation, with the balance coming from the Viticulture Consortium West and the California Competitive Grant Program for Research in Viticulture and Enology.

A total of 125 research proposals, including such diverse topics as leafroll disease, diminishing greenhouse gas emissions, and mealybug sex pheromones, were meticulously reviewed by a panel made up of members from each granting authority. In the end, 56 projects were funded, 38 of those by the AVF.

“We are very pleased with the caliber of research proposals which have been submitted,” says Hal Huffsmith, Chairman of the Board and Senior Vice President of Vineyard Operations at Trinchero Wine Estates. “Each year the researchers delve deeper into the issues which are most important to the grape industry.”

Members of the American Vineyard Foundation are surveyed on a periodic basis to ascertain which topics are most in need of research. These results are then posted and may be reviewed by researchers and research institutions. “With more funding we will be able to research even more of the issues which impact our industry,” notes Huffsmith.

About the American Vineyard Foundation

The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) is a California corporation organized in 1978 by the American Society of Enology and Viticulture as a vehicle to raise funds for research in viticulture and enology. Basic and applied research has made the American grape and wine industry the world’s leader. The AVF provides a unique opportunity to unify the industry through an industry-wide research effort to maintain this progress.

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American Vineyard Foundation Announces 2009 Board of Directors

Napa, CA – The American Vineyard Foundation, an organization whose mission is to raise funds that address grape and wine industry research priorities, announces its new Board of Directors for 2009. Bob Gallo (E & J Gallo Wines), Fred Franzia (Bronco Wine Company) and Jerry Lohr (J Lohr Vineyards), are among a distinguished group of industry leaders who continue to serve on the Board to determine policy and provide guidance and direction for the AVF.

In addition to these well-known names, the Executive Committee is comprised of Art Caputi, Jim Frisinger, Hal Huffsmith, and Tony Stephen. Member Sheldon Parker succeeds Andy Hoxsey, who resigned in April 2009. During his tenure, Hoxsey was instrumental in rallying members to increase donations and expand the contributor base. Custom crush clients who conduct business with Andy at the Napa Wine Company are encouraged to support the AVF with one dollar per ton of grapes processed, which Andy then matches dollar for dollar. Giovanni Rossini also assumes a position on the Board following his father Al’s resignation.

“Both Andy and Al served on the AVF Board for a number of years, providing leadership, guidance and vision in raising research dollars and directing the funding of projects designed to answer some of our enology and viticulture questions. We will miss their presence at the Board meetings,” says Executive Committee member Jim Frisinger.

Hal Huffsmith, Chairman of the Board and Senior Vice President of Vineyard Operations at Trinchero Wine Estates, has dedicated an enormous amount of time and effort over the past three years to move the organization forward and build a solid collaborative base with other industry research funding agencies. Huffsmith notes that, “This has been a rewarding process. We have continued partnering and expanding the wine and grape research funding participants, and we have used the Unified Grant Management web site to coordinate the RFP, review and subsequently fund the prioritized research projects. The industry is now in a good position to maximize the return on each research dollar invested.”

About the American Vineyard Foundation

The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) is a California corporation organized in 1978 by the American Society of Enology and Viticulture as a vehicle to raise funds for research in viticulture and enology. Basic and applied research has made the American grape and wine industry the world’s leader. The AVF provides a unique opportunity to unify the industry through an industry-wide research effort to maintain this progress.

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AVF Funded Research Leads to Development of Hydrogen Sulfide Reducing Yeast

Napa, CA, January 19, 2009 – Reducing hydrogen sulfides during the winemaking process just got easier, thanks in large part to American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) funded research that has led to the development of a proprietary hydrogen sulfide (H2S) reducing yeast technology that prevents the formation of H2S during fermentation.

This technology was developed by Dr. Linda Bisson, professor at UC Davis’ Viticulture and Enology Department and recently licensed to Functional Technologies Corp. for commercialization.

Hydrogen sulfide is one of the most common occurring sensory defects, and a widespread problem, in wine production.  The nose is very sensitive to H2S, consequently small quantities of this noxious gas can easily be detected.  If not removed, it can react with other wine materials to form off-odors and off-flavors which can be difficult and costly to remove. Although the industry has utilized different methods to attempt to remediate this sensory defect, it has typically resulted in suppliers and producers making tradeoffs which may have other ramifications and repercussions. Global wine producers continue to recognize this problem and have to monitor and remediate their wine to combat problems with H2S.

“What we have developed at UC Davis is a yeast technology that consistently minimizes hydrogen sulfide production and has the flexibility to be applied across common yeast strains using classic natural breeding (non –GMO) techniques,” said Dr. Linda Bisson, professor at UC Davis’ Viticulture and Enology Department. “This technology is unique in that it is a ‘preventive’ solution that can be used proactively by commercial wineries to minimize hydrogen sulfide occurrence during fermentation, as opposed to current treatment options which are all reactionary.  Hydrogen sulfide is a global problem within the fermented beverage industry, so from a commercial and a product quality standpoint, yeast technology that prevents this sensory defect should be highly desirable.”

Established in 1978 to raise funds for research in viticulture and enology, the AVF is a wine-industry sponsored non-profit organization funded by growers and vintners. Since its founding, the AVF has funded nearly $20 million in wine and grape-related research. For a complete listing of the funded research projects or more information regarding the AVF, check out their Web site at www.avf.org or contact them by e-mail at scott@avf.org.

AVF Awards Scholarships to Viticulture and Enology Students

Napa, Calif., August 20, 2008 – The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) and the André Tchelistcheff & Dr. Richard Peterson Scholarship Committee has awarded two UC Davis students, Alexander Chassy and Annegret Rust, with scholarships to help support their current research and educational goals.

“For our committee members, who included Dr. Richard Peterson, Dorothy Tchelistcheff, Robert Steinhauer and Scott Deitrick, awarding scholarships to these two commendable students was an easy decision to make,” said Hal Huffsmith, the AVF’s Board Chairman.

Alexander Chassy, a Ph.D. graduate student under the guidance of U.C. Davis professor Dr. Andrew Waterhouse, was rewarded with the André Tchelistcheff Scholarship for his focus of study: “Allocation of Building Blocks for Phenolic Compounds.”

According to Waterhouse, Chassy’s study will add greatly to the fundamental knowledge of grape and wine flavor substances. There is truly no information available on the flux of these important flavonoid substances in grapes, and that such fundamental knowledge is a key to any future efforts to improve the levels of flavonoids in grapes.

AVF Research Review Team Tackles 96 Research Proposals for Funding Decisions

Napa, CA, February 22, 2008 – The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) has assembled a team of 99 respected wine and grape industry members with specific technical expertise from around the country to review research proposals for funding in 2008. “Of the 96 proposals that were submitted, we typically have the funds to support about 20 to 30 percent of them,” said AVF Chairman Hal Huffsmith. “So the review process is very important to ensure that we fund those proposals that address industry research priorities and are the most likely to produce applicable results.” While most of the members of the review committee call California home, some of the reviewers come from several other states and Canada. Dr. Nancy Irelan is the review process manager for the AVF and coordinates closely the efforts of the AVF with the Viticulture Consortium West (VCW) and the California Competitive Grant Program for Research in Viticulture (CCGPVE) funding programs coordinated by Dr. Deborah Golino. The review process uses ranking guidelines based on the 100-point scale which AVF review committees have used for several years. Proposals are initially evaluated based on a determination of how well the proposed research addresses an industry need. Reviewers then assign points to the “Justification of Objectives” section based on how well the principal investigator justifies the significance and validity of the proposed work in directly addressing an industry priority. Researchers are encouraged to strengthen their justification sections by including relevant analyses, data and results from previous studies when possible. The “Validity of Procedures and Experiments to Meet Stated Objectives” section requires a critical assessment of the proposed experimental procedures along with evaluating the likelihood that the methodologies and techniques described will fulfill the stated objectives. Lastly, the “Appropriateness of Budget” section is evaluated based on the scope and detail of the proposed work and the anticipated fiscal requirements needed to accomplish the stated objectives. “By the time the review process is completed and announcements are made in May, each proposal will have been carefully reviewed by approximately five technical reviewers,” said Huffsmith. “The evaluations and comments, crafted and discussed by the review committees, are created to help researchers in shaping future project proposals.” The review process is aided through the use of the Unified Grant Web site hosted by UC Davis. Reviewers can log on to the site and review projects as time permits. “We started using the Web based review method a few years ago and it has greatly streamlined the process as well as aided in coordinating our efforts with the VCW, CCGPVE, Table Grape Commission, Rootstock Commission and Research Board, Raisin Marketing Board and the Oregon Wine Board which also use the same site,” said Huffsmith. Established in 1978 to raise funds for research in viticulture and enology, the AVF is a wine-industry sponsored non-profit organization funded by growers and vintners. Since its founding, the AVF has funded over $18 million in wine and grape-related research. For a complete listing of the funded research projects or more information regarding the AVF, check out their Web site at www.avf.org or by e-mail at scott@avf.org.