Red Blotch Disease Sparks Collaborative Research Effort with Lead Funding by the American Vineyard Foundation

Napa, CA – Concern over the effects and spread of Red Blotch Disease has ignited grape industry interest with support for research to address the issue. Acting on this concern, the American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) received donations from a wide variety of industry-related sources. This generous support, together with additional funding from the California Grapevine Rootstock Research Foundation, will fund more than $250,000 in targeted research over the next year.

“Our first call came from Alan Wei at Agri-Analysis, a company that provides plant and seed testing for the industry,” said Scott Deitrick, co-manager of administration at the AVF.

Wei was part of a group organized to raise awareness and encourage support for the research. Michael Sipiora, of Quintessa, and Bob Steinhauer, owner of Wineland Consulting, were also active in this group and made donations to the cause. Other generous contributions were received from the Consolidated Central Valley Table Grape Pest and Disease Control District, and Pro-Ag Crop Insurance. Support also streamed in from as far away as Virginia with a donation from Lucie Morton-Garrett, who works as a vineyard consultant.

This widespread collaborative effort was directed at a study entitled “Biology and Spread of Grapevine Red Blotch-Associated Virus,” conducted by Mark Fuchs of Cornell University and Mysore Sudarshana with USDA-ARS at UC Davis. Symptoms of the disease include blotches of pink or red veins on green leaves in the fall, when grape leaves would normally be turning a uniform gold color. Growers also might notice that their grapes are slow to develop sugar levels sufficient for winemaking, with some grapes never fully maturing.

With the help of industry support, the AVF is also funding two additional related projects, entitled “Evaluating the Effects of Grapevine Red Blotch-Associated Virus on Symptom Development and Fruit Maturity” and “Development and Application of Next Generation Sequencing to Facilitate the Release of New Grapevine Accessions in Quarantine and Certification Programs.”

About the American Vineyard Foundation

The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) is a non-profit organization that enjoys generous voluntary industry support for research in viticulture and enology. The AVF provides a unique opportunity to unify the industry through efficient funding of basic and applied research contributing to the American grape and wine industry’s position as the world’s leader.