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The sustainable vineyard water management research project, directed by Dr. James Ayars, involves a team of more than 20 researchers, grower cooperators, extension educators, and industry members representing four western states.

The five-year, $562,000 water management project has six components:

  • Develop recommendations for sustainable water management in wine, table, raisin, and juice grape production using limited and impaired water supplies
  • Develop recommendations for sustainable water and soil management to minimize the impacts of salinity on grape yield and quality
  • Assess the quality, sensory, and yield effects of water and salinity management strategies on wine, juice, raisin, and table grape products
  • Develop drought- and salinity-tolerant grapevine rootstocks
  • Quantify the economic benefits and impacts of implementing sustainable water management strategies
  • Provide outreach, extension, and educational training to share research results and recommendations with the grape industry

Grapes collectively (wine, juice, table, and raisin) are the highest value perennial specialty crop in the United States, with grape products valued at $162 billion, according to an industry-sponsored economic survey. California, Washington, and Oregon account for more than 90 percent of U.S. grape production and 9 percent of global grape output. More than 797,000 acres of grapes are grown in California; Washington is the second leading grape producer, with an ­estimated 58,700 acres of juice and wine grapes grown.