Enology & Viticulture Conference

A fine time to learn and share

Annual summer gathering draws hundreds for a programcatering to both new and experienced wine industry participants.

By Susan McIver C

lose to 500 delegates and exhibitors gathered in Penticton to attend the 18th annual Enology and Viticulture Conference and Tradeshow, July 17-18. Sponsored by the B.C. Wine Grape Council, the conference attracted delegates primarily from B.C., but also from other wine producing areas of Canada and from the United States. “The conference is an opportunity to hear from world renowned speakers on a variety of topics of benefit both to new and experienced grape growers and wine producers,” said council chair Lynn Bremmer.

Speakers and workshop participants travelled from France, Germany, the U.S. and New Zealand.

“I learn something new every year. The conference is worth every penny,” said Denice Hagerman, winemaker at Oliver Twist Winery in Oliver and owner of This Is It Vineyard in Naramata.

“New technologies for characterizing vineyard conditions are changing the way vineyards are monitored and managed,” Pat Bowen said in the viticulture plenary.

Bowen is a research scientist at the Summerland Research and Development Centre.

Wireless sensor systems, and images acquired on-ground or remotely using drones or other aircraft are making it easier and more efficient to characterize vineyard environments, crop features and spatial variations within blocks, Bowen explained. “These data can be used to directly guide controls for precision management of resources such as irrigation and fertilizers,” she said.

Krista Sheille of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Parma, Idaho, spoke about how monitoring canopy temperature removes the ‘magic’ from irrigation management. Results from her studies show that meteorological data put into a neural network model combined with measured canopy temperature can be used to calculate a real-time water-stress index without direct measurement of well-watered or non- transpiring vines.

Tom Lowry of the Summerland Research and Development Centre presented information on the effects of vineyard vegetation composition on pest and beneficial insect species. In general, groundcover vegetation influences the number of grapevine pest and beneficial insects through the provision of nectar and alternate prey.

Lowry also said a mixture of broadleaf plants and grasses 8


Kate Durisek, standing, executive director of the B.C. Wine Grape Council, and Carolyn MacLaren, conference coordinator, played key roles making the 18th Annual Enology & Viticulture Conference an outstanding success.

provides shelter to ground-dwelling predacious beetles and spiders.

This year’s sensory workshop, “Oddballs and Rarities”, highlighted four lesser-known grape varieties—Arneis, Trebbiano, Teroldego and Sangiovese—produced by Okanagan wineries.

“We had the most-ever poster presentations,” conference coordinator Carolyn MacLaren said.

A wine and cheese social was held the first evening of the conference in conjunction with poster presentations. In their poster on the bacterium-causing crown gall of grapevines, Tanja Voegel and Louise Nelson presented the results of their studies on the digital droplet PCR assay they developed that allows for screening of nursery stock and vineyard soil before planting.

They found that grapevines from California had higher levels of the bacteria compared to Ontario vines.

More than 100 exhibitors provided delegates with the latest information on products, services and technical information needed to be competitive in today’s worldwide wine market. These ranged from the Culture Bot, an intelligent robot that protects crops from weeds, insects and disease, created by Eleos Robotics to boxes and labels made by the Great Little Box Company and a specialized warehousing and logistic service for the craft beverage industries provided by Fresh Tap. Exhibitors also gave workshops on such topics as how to achieve a successful crush and the best ways to preserve flavour and colour of premium wines.

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall-Winter 2017 17

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