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Survey Shows Growth in Awareness for Washington State’s Research Program

Feedback from Washington’s wine industry guides research priorities in 2019

SEATTLE (May 31, 2018) – Awareness for the Washington State Wine Commission’s research program is growing, according to a recent survey. Eighty-five percent of Washington’s wine industry is aware that the commission has a targeted wine research program, up from 60-percent awareness two years ago. The commission’s refocused wine research program began in 2016.

The survey, administered this spring by the Washington State Wine Commission, also found that awareness of viticulture and enology research for Washington nearly doubled in two years. Viticulture and enology research in Washington is primarily conducted by Washington State University scientists.

Also telling from the survey, was that the majority of the 162 respondents received information about research supported by the Washington wine industry through trade publications (66-percent), the annual research seminar called WAVE – Washington Advancements in Viticulture and Enology (60-percent), the Wine Commission’s monthly newsletter (50-percent) and social media (30-percent). The wine research program uses a variety of communication tools to bring research results to growers and winemakers.

Survey organizers were pleased with the rapid industry prominence that the annual research seminar WAVE has achieved.  Co-sponsored by the Washington State Wine Commission and WSU, the educational event was launched in 2016 to improve grower and winemaker access to research and decipher research outcomes into practical information for the industry. WAVE and the condensed WAVEx seminars have been held in several locations to better reach wine regions, including Prosser, Richland, Walla Walla, Lake Chelan and Woodinville.

The annual survey’s primary purpose is to receive input from industry on research needs and priorities. The research priority list guides the industry’s competitive-grant research program. The survey asked industry members to rank current research topics and suggest new ones. The Wine Research Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the Washington State Wine Commission, will review more than 100 survey comments and research topics when it revises research priorities for 2019. 

“Washington’s wine research program is one of the few programs in the nation funded by all wine grape growers and wineries in the state,” said Steve Warner, President of the Washington State Wine Commission. “The annual research survey gives stakeholders a voice in setting research priorities that guide the industry-driven research program. And because the refocused, comprehensive research program is still relatively new, it’s important we make sure the research message is reaching every wine grape grower and winery, they are aware of their research investment and know how to access research information.”

Phenolic management, microbial spoilage and nutrient management on fermentation were ranked high in the survey for enology research topics. On the viticulture side, vine nutrition and health, mechanization, virus and disease management and foliar disease management ranked high.

To learn more about Washington State Wine’s research program, visit www.washingtonwine.org/research/reports.

About Washington State Wine

Washington State Wine represents every licensed winery and wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, the mission of the WSW is to raise positive awareness and demand for Washington State wine through marketing and education while supporting viticulture and enology research to drive industry growth.  Funded almost entirely by the industry through assessments based on grape and wine sales, the WSW is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. To learn more, visit www.washingtonwine.org.

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