SAES-422 Multistate Research Activity Accomplishments Report

Status: Approved

Basic Information


The Viticulture and Enology Program of Highland Community College, Wamego, KS, hosted the annual meeting of NE1720: Multi-state Coordinated Evaluation of Winegrape Cultivars and Clones on November 9, 2020. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the annual meeting was hosted virtually. Scott Kohl chaired the meeting, Matt Clark served as the meeting secretary. Present members reported on current research activities and industry impacts, within their respective states, which fulfill the objectives of NE1720. Additional discussion focused on project renewal, objectives and methods for accomplishing those objectives, and jointly planned and executed multi-state projects. In staying with NE1720 governance of Chair/host location-rotation, Maryland is the proposed Chair/host location for the 2021 meeting with Kansas as the backup location.


The efforts of the NE1720 participants to meet the milestones identified in the original project proposal are collaborative with the built-in flexibility for independent assessment of niche selections based on regional needs.  During 2019-2020 numerous ventures were started and/or completed by NE1720 participants resulting in a large mass of information. These annual accomplishments are reported individually by each participant, in the form of a state report. These comprehensive reports can be viewed by accessing the annual meeting minutes file located in the Summary of Minutes section.

Objectives of NE1720:

  1. Screen the viticulture characteristics of clones, cultivars and elite germplasm with significant potential throughout the USA.
  2. Evaluate the viticultural and wine attributes of promising emerging cultivars and genotypes based on regional needs.
  3. Conduct explorations of new germplasm and lesser-known cultivars that may have economic potential for the US wine industry.


The following is a partial highlight of accomplishments made by NE1720 during 2019-2020.

  • Short-term Outcomes: Through the evaluation of grape varieties, in Indiana, grape specialists are recommending that industry stakeholders plant Petite Pearl as an alternative to planting Marquette, due to its ability to avoid frost injury. In Colorado, record cold events at the beginning and end of the dormant season resulted in yield reductions of 50% or more compared to the 2019 season, indicating that many primary buds were killed and much of the crop came from secondary shoots with lower cluster numbers and reduced average cluster weights. Industry stakeholders want to know the best management practices to use in their vineyards. Research from Colorado State University shows that long pruning followed by shoot thinning after bud break can be used to achieve moderate yields even when primary bud damage exceeds 50%. Stakeholders following these pruning recommendations can improve fruit yields, thus resulting in an economic gain.
  • Outputs: The participants of NE1720 published a combined total of thirty articles during 2019-2020 and spoke at sixteen industry stakeholder meetings or conferences. Participants submitted annual state reports via Google drive and attended the 2020 meeting via Zoom. These documents and Zoom meeting recording are available for current and future use by the NE1720 collaborative.
  • Activities: Research is underway to establish a replicated trial of grapevine cultivars infected with no viruses, GRBV, GLRaV-3 or the combination of GRBV with GLRaV-3. The results will have important implications for Missouri grape growers since a recent survey of commercial vineyards throughout Missouri determined that GLRaV-3 and GRBV were present in 53% and 35% of the samples, respectively. Yet, most all infected grape cultivars except Crimson Cabernet (Norton x Cabernet Sauvignon) do not display typical GRBV or GLRaV-3 symptomology as documented in Vitis vinifera cultivars. At the University of Nebraska specific cultivars and selections – e.g. Marquette, Petite Pearl, La Crescent, Frontenac and Itasca – have been evaluated for both viticultural and wine attributes, the latter in collaboration with scientists in the UNL Department of Food Science and the Food Processing Center (Doctor Xu and Doctor Xie).
  • Milestones: New NE1720 participating vineyard sites in Kansas, South Dakota, and Michigan with vineyard expansion in Iowa and Nebraska. Juice data for Marquette, Frontenac, Brianna and LaCrescent from established NE1020 and Cooperative Garretson, SD vineyard monitored for 2017, 2018, and 2019 is being summarized for outreach publication by South Dakota State University. Similar juice and must data was published online by Highland Community College for grape and wine industry stakeholders in Kansas.  Six selections of interest have been offered to all members of NE1720 from the Reisch breeding program at Cornell. Two irradiated clonal selections of Vignoles from Cornell have been grafted by Double A Vineyards and are ready for distribution to NE1720 participants in 2021. The University of Minnesota grape breeding program advanced one selection, MN1220, for variety release and has been distributed to nurseries.


In the coming year, NE1720 participants will continue collaborative efforts to plant or replant new grape selections. Two irradiated clonal selections of loose cluster Vignoles will be shipped to NE1720 participants for establishment and evaluation next to “standard’ Vignoles.  Additional advanced grape selections will be sent from participating breeding programs to NE1720 participants with planting sites.  Fruit and wine evaluation continues with participants collecting annual data to be analyzed, collated, and disseminated to stakeholders. Participants have formed a sub-committee to pursue a project renewal with a focus on multi-state objectives and approaches to meet those objectives. The annual NE1720 meeting is to be held in November 2021.



  1. Multi-state screening projects of the NE1720 participants has, and continues, to monitor the characteristics of clones, cultivars and elite germplasm. Newly released grape selections from the breeding programs at Cornell and the University of Minnesota were offered to NE1720 partners for planting and evaluation. The following areas of interest have come to the forefront during the screening process; vine acclimation and deacclimation, presence of virus in grapevines, drought tolerance, and strategies and methods for increasing primary bud cold hardiness.
  2. Diversity in regional needs of the NE1720 participating states are vast. Some participant sites also evaluate varieties requested by grape and wine industry members within their respective states. These evaluations led to the determination of suitability for growing particular grape varieties in participating states.
  3. In Colorado, evaluations confirmed the dormant season cold hardiness of Albarino, Cabernet Dorsa, and Zweigelt accompanied by high primary bud survival following an early, severe dormant season freeze. Petite Pearl is being suggested to the grape industry as an alternative to Marquette, as it avoids frost injury in Indiana.
  4. The exploration of new germplasm and lesser-known cultivars has led to the expansion of the grape and wine industry in several NE1720 participating states. Kansas has seen an increase in vineyard acres from 350 acres in 2010 to approximately 1000 acres in 2020. The Vermont grape and wine industry has increased to 165 acres of vineyards with an estimated direct wine production value of $4-5 million. The economic impact of grapes and wine, and associated tourism is valued at over $80 million a year in Minnesota. NE1720 partner; University of Minnesota reaches grape growers, supplies, and over 80 wineries within the state.
  5. Fund Leveraging University of Missouri. The Missouri Wine and Grape Board provided $10,000 for the establishment of a replicated cultivar trial to be established in April 2021. South Dakota State University. NSF 154869. South Dakota State University. USDA/NIFA 51181-26829. University of Nebraska. USDA/NDA Specialty Crop Block Grant. Grafting to Delay Bud Break. University of Nebraska. USDA/NDA Specialty Crop Block Grant. A Wine Industry Dilemma: Does Crop Size Reduction Make Better Wine? University of Nebraska. USDA/NDA Specialty Crop Block Grant. Table Grape Production in High Tunnels and Controlling Climate Cariability. Highland Community College. NSF-ATE. VESTA (Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance). Sub-award. $271,195. 2015-2021. University of Minnesota. Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture. Improvement of Hybrid Grape Fruit Quality Traits. $99,929. 2020-2022. University of Minnesota. North Central Regional Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE). A Comprehensive Curriculum for Cold Climate Grapevine Production: Practical Skills for the Novice and Vineyard Manager. $38,390. 2019-2021. University of Minnesota. Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture. Development and Evaluation of Cold Hardy Table Grapes. $239,819. 2019-2022. University of Vermont. Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station Hatch Grants Program. Evaluating systems components for orchard and vineyard crops in Vermont. $63,942. 2020-2025. University of Vermont. USDA/Vermont Agency of Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant. Winegrape cultivar evaluation and virus screening to support the Vermont grape industry. $34,849. 2017-2020. University of Vermont. USDA. Vermont IPM Extension Implementation Program, Fruit Emphasis. $150,000. 2017-2020. University of Vermont. USDA/Vermont Agency of Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant. Responding to Need for On-Farm Technical Support for Vermont Apple and Grape Growers. $25,963. 2019-2020.
  6. Through the evaluation of grape varieties, in Indiana, grape specialists are recommending that industry stakeholders plant Petite Pearl as an alternative to planting Marquette, due to its ability to avoid frost injury.


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