Grapes and wine continue to be a growing crop in Vermont’s agriculture and food scene, and the UVM Fruit Program continues to support producers through research and outreach programs. Last summer, UVM Fruit Program Director Dr. Terence Bradshaw and UVM Plant Diagnostic Clinic Director Dr. Ann Hazelrigg published a comparative study of disease susceptibility of nine novel grape varieties grown at UVM’s Catamount Educational Farm. Results from that work are helping farmers in the region to manage diseases sustainably.
Recently, an increasing number of growers have adopted or explored natural grape growing and winemaking, despite limited research on organic, biodynamic, and similar complementary practices used by growers who identify with that methodology. Under the recently-funded Vermont IPM Extension Implementation Program grant from the USDA Crop Protection and Pest Management Program, Bradshaw, Hazelrigg, and graduate student Bethany Pelletier will conduct research to define natural grape production and to test best practices on disease-resistant varieties grown in Vermont.
In addition to this work, Dr. Bradshaw is a lead organizer with the Vermont Grape and Wine Council of VitiNord 2022, the premier international cold-climate grape and wine conference that will be held in Burlington, VT in December 2022. Attendance is expected to exceed over 300 growers, winemakers, and industry specialists from around the world. Recently, Dr. Bradshaw received a Vermont Specialty Crops Block Grant in support of the conference.