Research and Extension Center System
University of California
Research and Extension Center System

Posts Tagged: viticulture

Drones, Vines and Oaks: Hopland RECs Harvest Celebration

Acorns are dropping from the mighty oaks at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC) – marking a time to celebrate the 5,358 acres of oak woodland and rangeland at the facility.

On Oct. 15 the doors to the center will open, inviting the public to join scientists and staff as they enjoy the fruits of the season with a farm-to-table luncheon, live bluegrass music and an oak-inspired silent auction. Funds from this event will support educational programming at the site.

The event offers the community the chance to learn about the research being conducted and enjoy the best in local produce.

“From 10 a.m. to 12 noon there will be optional field tours of some of our key research projects, where visitors can meet the scientists, see what tools they use and what they are learning about our environment,” said Hannah Bird, community educator at HREC.

Participants can choose from four field experiences, including large mammal wildlife research using the latest in drone technology with UC Berkeley researcher Justin Brashares to a relaxed visit in the vineyard tasting Mediterranean wine varietals with UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor Glenn McGourty. A stroll with the HREC director will offer a visit to the Shippey Hall, woodworking and mechanic shops, lambing barn and greenhouse to experience a slice of the diversity of research, outreach and teaching offered on the site.

A three-course luncheon runs from 12 to 3 p.m. and includes presentations from HREC director Kim Rodrigues, live bluegrass music from local band “Gibson Creek” and the silent auction.

“We've been so grateful to all those who have offered artwork, jewelry, food and oak woodland experiences for this silent auction,” Bird said. “I'm going to struggle not to bid for them all myself.”


Auction items include gorgeous oak paintings, a stunning oak table made by Ben Frey, a dinner and farm tour with Magruder Ranch and a family science adventure kit focused on our woodlands, alongside books, posters and photographs.

Funds raised at the event will support the creation of a new nature trail to Parson's Creek, which cannot currently be safely accessed during school field trips.

“We are now offering many more opportunities for the public to visit our site. More than 500 K-12 students and 2,000 community members visit annually, yet we cannot currently access the creek safely,” Rodrigues said. “This trail will open up great opportunities for riparian educational activities with our local students.”

Tickets cost $65 for adults and $15 for children.

Register online 

 or by calling Hannah Bird at (707) 744-1424, Ext. 105. The registration deadline is by October 11. The event will be at the Rod Shippey Hall, 4070 University Road, Hopland.

Due to the nature of the research with sheep and a commitment to using guard dogs as part of a predator control program, no dogs are allowed on UC ANR HREC for public events.


More on our speakers


Justin Brashares, Ph.D., is an associate professor at UC Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.  His focus areas include

the catastrophic global decline of biodiversity widely recognized as among the most pressing problems we face as a society. His research attempts to understand how consumption of wild animals and conversion of natural habitats affects the dynamics of animal communities and the persistence of populations. Work in his group extends beyond traditional animal conservation to consider the economic, political and cultural factors that drive and, in turn, are driven by, changes in wildlife abundance and diversity. Through these efforts, his group strives to propose empirically based, interdisciplinary strategies for biodiversity conservation.


Glenn McGourty is the UC Cooperative Extension viticulture and plant science advisor for Lake and Mendocino counties. He received a bachelor's degree in botany from Humboldt State University in 1974 and an master's degree in plant soil and water science from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1979. McGourty joined UC Cooperative Extension in 1987, and works with winegrape growers, wineries, nurseries, landscapers and vegetable growers. Present research activities include evaluating 14 Mediterranean winegrape varieties; clonal trials of Sauvignon blanc, comparison of organic, biodynamic and conventional farming for their effects on winegrape and soil quality; and evaluation of cover crop species.


Prahlada Papper is an educator and naturalist as well as a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley in David Ackerly's ecology lab. His research at the Hopland Research and Extension Center involves the genetic and ecological diversity of California oaks. Papper doesn't really expect to find answers to the age old mysteries of oaks, but does think that by using modern tools like genome sequencing and ecological models, we can look at some of the old questions in new ways.


Kim Rodrigues, Ph.D. is the director of the Hopland Research and Extension Center. She began her UC career with Cooperative Extension in 1991 as a forestry and natural resources advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties. She became the county director two years later. Her research and extension activities have focused on environmental policy and engagement of the public in resolving environmental conflicts. Her experience, coupled with a great passion for HREC's 5,300 acres of oak woodland and a keen desire to reach out to the community to encourage collaboration and partnerships, offers new opportunities and exciting times at HREC.

Posted on Monday, October 3, 2016 at 3:16 PM

Kearney’s Grape Day highlights viticulture and enology research.

Over 115 people came to the 2013 Grape Day at KARE on August 13. Attendees visited a wine grape plot where Larry Williams, professor and plant physiologist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis and Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, demonstrated and discussed the effects of water deficits on water relations and productivity of about 20 different red wine grape cultivars grown in the San Joaquin Valley. The field tour was followed by PowerPoint presentations. Teresa O’Keefe and Jeffrey Palumbo, scientists at USDA-ARS, provided information on the ecology of mycotoxin-producing aspergilli in raisin vineyards. Matthew Fidelibus, associate CE specialist at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, provided information on the effects of pre-harvest calcium chloride and chlorine dioxide applications on fruit quality of crimson seedless table grapes. Philippe Rolshausen, assistant CE specialist at UC Riverside, shared information on wood disease management options for grapevines in the San Joaquin Valley. David Haviland, academic advisor, Kern County UC Cooperative Extension, provided information on Movento in table grapes: understanding use patterns and expectations. Andrew Waterhouse, professor in the department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, discussed understanding wine oxidation. More information can be found at the California Ag Today blog.

Grape Day 2013 attendees recieving information from PowerPoint presentations highlighting recent viticulture and enology research.
Grape Day 2013 attendees recieving information from PowerPoint presentations highlighting recent viticulture and enology research.

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013 at 10:25 AM
  • Author: Laura J. Van der Staay
Tags: enology (1), Grapes (2), viticulture (4)

UC research will help table grape growers face the rainy season

Green and white row covers were installed on Redglobe table grape vines.
An early October rainstorm in the San Joaquin Valley provided UC viticulture specialist Matthew Fidelibus an ideal opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of plastic vine covers for protecting late-season table grapes from inclement weather.

Fidelibus, who is based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, installed the covers in September on a Redglobe vineyard near Easton. Some farmers choose to grow late season table grapes – such as Autumn King, Crimson Seedless and Redglobe – to market in the fall when prices are typically highest. However, they run a greater risk of being rained on. Exposure to moisture within six weeks of harvest can cause rots and molds to render the grapes worthless.

Many growers with late-season table grapes cover their vines with sheets of plastic film to protect them from rain. Growers may choose between a relatively transparent green film, or a more opaque white film, but data distinguishing the differences the two films might have on vine physiology or fruit quality at picking, or after storage, are not available. Buying, installing and removing the plastic is very expensive, so Fidelibus is working to provide growers with objective information about the effects of the different films. Growers can track the progress of the trial in real time by following Fidelibus’ Twitter feed,

Water pooled on the vine cover during an early-October rainstorm.
Five days after the trial was installed, a winter storm rolled into the San Joaquin Valley, dropping nearly an inch of rain on the table grape trial. As expected, the fruit on the covered vines stayed dry while the uncovered grapes were soaked, however, the covers posed some problems of their own.

“In some places we found pools of water on the plastic covers,” Fidelibus said. “In fact, the weight of the water displaced the covers, exposing the vines in some places. A few pools apparently grew until reaching a vent hole, releasing a water stream powerful enough to wash soil from roots.”

After the storm, the soil under the covered vines remained dry, but wind and sun quickly dried the grape clusters and soil around uncovered vines.

Data loggers in the grapevine canopies are collecting temperature and humidity readings – measures that Fidelibus will use to help describe the effect of the different covers on the environment within the grapevine canopies. He also installed atmometers, special instruments that help determine the canopy’s “evaporative potential.” Research has already shown that the greater the evaporative potential, the lower the incidence of bunch rot.

When it's not raining, condensation forms under the plastic.
“The covers protect the grapes from rain, but when it’s not raining, they create a hotter and more humid environment under the plastic,” Fidelibus said. “The high temperatures can damage some of the vines’ leaves, and condensation on the inside of the plastic can precipitate onto the grapes. We want to know if either film provides a superior environment for table grapes. These data will also serve as a baseline against which new covering systems may be compared.”

Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Exotic stink bug threatens California viticulture

Brown marmorated stink bug (USDA photo)
Just as grape growers learn they have made excellent progress toward eradicating European grapevine moth, officials are expressing concern over a new exotic insect pest, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB).

BMSB is now found in 33 states. Although not established in California, it has been identified in Los Angeles and Solano counties. BMBS can fly, but they primarily move into new areas by hitchhiking on vehicles and equipment.

Native to Asia, it's thought that BMSB arrived in packing crates shipped to the Eastern U.S. It has a large host range that includes grapes and many of the fruits and vegetables grown in California. Damage can be substantial when BMSB populations are not identified early and managed appropriately.

Apple growers in the Mid-Atlantic states have reported losses of $37 million representing 18 percent of their fresh apple market. Growers and wineries are also concerned that the “stink” from any bugs accidentally crushed in wine or juice grapes could taint the product with off flavors. This insect should concern homeowners as well, since people in the Mid-Atlantic states have reported large populations of BMBS overwintering in their homes and becoming a nuisance.

BMSBs resemble some other California stinkbugs, such as the rough stink bug, a beneficial predator of other insects. If you think you’ve found a BMSB, or any other odd or unique looking insect pest, you should collect it and bring it to your local university advisor, ag commissioner or state ag department entomologist for proper identification. Early identification of invasive pests is critical for protecting California’s billion dollar agricultural industries.

You can learn more about the BMSB and current research here.

Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 9:44 AM
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