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ASEV-Eastern Section Meets Virtually

Researchers and students from East of the Rockies participate in the two-day conference
by  Linda Jones McKee
July 12, 2021


For the second year, the American Society for Enology and Viticulture-Eastern Section (ASEV-ES) held their annual conference as a Zoom meeting. For two days, July 7 and 8, members from Colorado to New Jersey and Minnesota to Texas participated in technical sessions, watched student presentations, and viewed posters. With the travel restrictions still in place between Canada and the United States, holding the conference virtually allowed ASEV-ES members and students in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia to “attend” the meeting, including the Section’s chairperson, Dr. Amy Bowen, who is director of consumer insights at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Dr. Renee Threlfall, research scientist in enology and viticulture at the University of Arkansas and executive director of ASEV-ES, announced that the Eastern Section conference in 2022 is scheduled to take place at the Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington in Bloomington, Minnesota from July 7 to 9, 2022. The first day of the conference will feature a tour of several Minnesota wineries and the University of Minnesota research center. The conference in 2023 will tentatively be held in Austin, Texas. Because an international viticulture conference is scheduled to be held in the Finger Lakes region in New York in July 2023, the ASEV-ES meeting may be re-scheduled for June so that there will not be a conflict.

Keynote Address

The executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, Donniella Winchell, gave the keynote address on the topic “Encouraging Promotion and Success in Grape and Wine Industries.” She began by noting that when she started to work with the wine industry in Ohio, two researchers at Ohio State University, Dr. Garth Cahoon and Dr. Jim Gallander, were instrumental in getting the wine industry established. “Without them, much of the industry in Ohio and parts of the Midwest would not have been possible, and you guys represent their legacy,” she said. “I am the recipient of all the work they did over those years.” Winchell commented that many university researchers continue to work with industry organizations and groups, and she hoped to inspire some present to become active with regional groups. “Without good wine, none of us are going to be in this business, and without the vision and the research that you establish, none of us will be making good wine.”

Winchell noted that in the late 1970s, there were 13 wineries in Ohio and about 3,000 wineries nationwide. Now there are 11,000 wineries and 375 in Ohio. University researchers, trade associations, and government agencies need to get all these people in the wine industry to work together. One example of wineries working together that she mentioned was the collaboration of Anthony Road Wine Company, Red Newt Cellars Winery and Fox Run Vineyard in the Finger Lakes to create Tierce Dry Riesling. In other areas, wineries struggle with geography, as their wineries are too far apart for a more traditional wine trail. In Ohio, some of those wineries have created smaller clusters, where three or four wineries get together to start an event such as a progressive dinner, get to know one another, and become collaborators, not competitors.

However, Winchell pointed out the “our challenges are not other wineries. Our challenges are craft beers, White Claw [seltzers], brown spirits and, frankly, some neo-prohibitionists.” Some research has shown that when people have to choose between wine and craft beer, more will choose wine.

For the wine industry, and researchers in that industry, telling the story behind what is happening is most important. Winchell stated that researchers looking for funding sources, to convince regulators or university staff to go in the direction desired, or even to convince industry folks to follow the path that is reasonable for progress in the research field, should use the story-telling tool to convince the public, administrators, politicians or the industry itself on what needs to be done to move forward. “Relating stories and relating experiences are critical,” she concluded.

ASEV-Eastern Section Business Meeting

At the ASEV-ES Business Meeting, Bowen, chairperson of ASEV-ES for 2020-2021, turned over the role of chairperson to Dr. Jim Willwerth, assistant professor of biological sciences at Brock University and a researcher at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) for 2021-2022.

Dr. Anna Katharine Mansfield, Section Representative, announced the election results for officers and board members of Eastern Section for 2021-2022:

  • Chair-Elect (2021-2022): Dr. Mark Hoffman, North Carolina State University
  • Past Chair (2021-2022): Dr. Amy Bowen, Brock University
  • Section Representative (2021-2022): Dr. Anna Katharine Mansfield, Cornell University
  • Directors (2021-2023): Dr. Matthew Clark, University of Minnesota; Dr. Aude Watrelot, Iowa State University; Nathan Eason, Extension Agent for White County, Georgia
  • Secretary (2020-2023): Justin Scheiner, Texas A&M AgriLife
  • Treasurer (2020-2023): Elizabeth Chang, Virginia Tech
  • Section Administrator: Renee Threlfall, University of Arkansas
  • Directors (2020-2022): Dr. Andreea Botezatu, Texas A&M University; Dr. Michela Centinari, Penn State University; Lisa Smiley, Cannon Valley Vineyards

Dr. Cain Hickey, Penn State University; Dr. Karine Pedneault, Université Sainte-Anne; and Dr. Tony Wolf, Virginia Tech finished their term of office as director and were thanked for their contributions.

Presentation of Scholarships and Awards

Each year, ASEV presents two Presidents’ Awards for Scholarship, one to an enology student and the second to a viticultural student. Each award includes a $12,500 scholarship as well as registration at the next year’s national ASEV conference. Dr. Patty Skinkis, associate professor of horticulture at Oregon State University, Corvallis and past-president of ASEV, presented those awards to two ASEV-Eastern Section graduate students.

The ASEV Presidents’ Award for Scholarship in Enology went to Amanda Fleming, a Ph.D. candidate in enology and viticulture in the food science department at the University of Arkansas under Dr. Renee Threlfall. The ASEV Presidents’ Award for Scholarship in Viticulture was awarded to Andréanne Hébert-Hache, a PhD candidate in plant science, enology and viticulture working under the supervision of Dr. Jim Willwerth and Dr. Debbie Inglis at the CCOVI at Brock University.

Dr. Cain Hickey, chairman of the scholarship committee, announced the names of six ASEV-Eastern Section students awarded scholarships. Recipients included Andrew Harner and Meredith Persico, students at Penn State University; Jennifer Neubauer and Demetra Perry both from Cornell University; Hannah Charnock, Brock University; and Amanda Fleming, University of Arkansas.

During the Eastern Section conference, 11 students gave presentations about their research and 8 students talked about the posters they had created about a given project. Presentation winners in enology and viticulture receive $500 each, and the poster winners receive $100. The student presentation competition winners were:

Viticulture: Andrew Harner, a student under Dr. Michela Centenari at Pennsylvania State University, who spoke on “Spotted Lanternfly infestation can disrupt vine primary metabolism and leaf gas exchange;”

Enology: Austin Montgomery, a student under Dr. Gavin Sacks at Cornell University, who presented a talk on “Utilizing accelerated aging to rapidly assess canned wine off-aromas.”

Winners in the poster competition included:

Enology: Glycine Zhujun Jiang, “Examining the role of fructose in causing stuck or sluggish fermentations.” Jiang is a student under Dr. Patrick Gibney at Cornell University.

Viticulture: Nadia Skorupski, “Impact of solo and co-infections of grapevine Red-blotch virus and grapevine leaf-roll associated virus-3 on fruit quality.” Skorupski studied enology under Dr. Belinda Kemp at Brock University.

Recordings of the ASEV-ES conference sessions will be available for attendees for approximately the next 6 months.

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