University of Kentucky Viticulture and Enology Research and Extension

Grants and Contracts Details


Project Goals and Outcomes 2022-2024 1. Wine Sales: Building a Sustainable Viticulture and Enology Program Baseline – The University of Kentucky Viticulture and Enology (V&E) Program has been selling wine since 2018. The purpose of selling wine is to reduce waste and provide a level of self-sustainability to the program. Our current methods of promotion and sales have been pre-order purchases to registered members with designated pick-up times apart from holiday weeks where wine selections are offered pre-order and walk up during the holiday vegetable CSA pick-up. Although interest in the V&E program is high and feedback about the wines has been exceptional, we are lacking consistent and predictable wine sales to support the program. To provide a base level of consistent funds to the program we will offer a Wine CSA membership. Yearly sales are below. Methodology – 1) Establish a wine CSA where shares are purchased in advance and distributed quarterly (please see the wine CSA description document). Members of the wine CSA will have several added benefits to becoming a member and are buying in to our program and supporting research activities as well as purchasing a product. 2) Market the Wine CSA and wine sales through UK distribution emails, newsletters, and social media. 3) Offer wine tastings throughout the year to gain awareness of the program and the wines offered. 4) Continue to sell individual bottles of wine to registered members. Results – In year one our goal is to begin building a CSA membership with a minimum of 10 members and 25+ members in year 2. Total wine sales including the UK Wine CSA and the sale of individual bottles set monetary goal of $20,000 in year 1 and $25,000 in year 2. 2. Evaluate Cider Apple Cultivars for Hard Cider Production Baseline – There is a high demand for local hard cider. Currently, breweries and wineries primarily use apple cultivars that are grown used for fresh market sales due to availability of cider specific cultivars. Many of the fresh market apple cultivars do not have the desired fruit chemistry for hard cider production and produce a less than ideal hard cider. Hard cider production is an advantageous addition to wineries due to local interest and market demand. Wineries typically already have the necessary major equipment for hard cider production and no further licensing is needed. Methodology – Evaluate cider apple cultivars in a high-density orchard planting at the University of Kentucky Horticulture Research Farm. The cider orchard was planted in 2017 and has had 2 years of production and will be reaching its full production potential in 2022. Consumer preferences for these ciders will be evaluated through cider tastings and field days. Time Period 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 (Jan-Apr) TOTAL Quarter 1 (Jan-March) $0.00 $481.00 $161.00 $107.00 $1,508.00 Quarter2 (April-June) $1,832.00 $2,854.00 $0.00 $5,796.00 Quarter 3 (July-Sept) $8,949.00 $2,491.00 $35.00 $3,480.52 Quarter 4 (Oct-Nov) $2,490.00 $1,955.00 $1,296.30 $7,254.00 TOTAL $13,271.00 $7,781.00 $1,492.30 $16,637.52 $1,508.00 $40,689.82 Results – Evaluate apple cultivars for ideal hard cider qualities. Provide information on fruit chemistry and production techniques of these cultivars in high-density planting. Refine field production methods and winery production methods to improve yield and finished cider quality. 3. Improve efficiency of current vineyard management practices and continue to identify new methods/training systems for grape production. Baseline – The UKHRF research vineyards have evaluated 100+ different wine and table grape cultivars, clones and rootstocks trained to 8 different trellis systems, spacing trials and pruning trials. The UKHRF vineyard serves a vital role to both current and potential grape growers in the state of Kentucky providing valuable information regarding expected performance and growth habit of important grapevine cultivars. Research results from previous trials have been adopted as common practice in many vineyards. Methodology – Continue long-term cultivar evaluation trials and expand the planting of high performing cultivars to include only the most commercially important grapevine cultivars most adapted to the Kentucky climate. This improved vineyard design will maximize placement of grape cultivars with similar growth habit and management requirements while streamlining the amount of labor required to maintain vineyard experiments. Baseline vine performance data will be collected including phenological dates, cold hardiness, trellis performance, fruit composition, frost/freeze outcomes, and rootstock performance. Additional targeted projects will be implemented based on industry needs and requests. Distribution and Impact - The data collected from these experiments impact all grape growers and wine makers in Kentucky. This research continues to assist new and existing grape growers to improve vine management strategies, planting decisions, and assessment of variable climate effects on vine performance, such as the evaluation of frost or freeze damage. This data will be made available to all grape growers and wineries in Kentucky through, electronic distribution (UK grape and wine listserve), educational meetings and workshops, research farm site-visits, individual site visits and upon request. In addition, updated information will be made available on the University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification website. Results – Vine performance data collected at the UKHRF research and demonstration vineyard helps to support and improve upon current recommendations given to Kentucky grape growers regarding specific vineyard management strategies. These recommendations are vital to the future success of the Kentucky grape and wine industry. Approximately 300 farmers visit the UKHRF vineyards annually through meetings and individual visits. Improved vineyard design will allow for demonstration of up-to-date advances in trellis design, vineyard floor management, equipment, and cultivar selection and provide a means to continue more detailed studies on the most commercially important grape cultivars for the future of the Kentucky grape industry. 4. Offer vineyard and winery educational meetings and consultation through University of Kentucky Extension Baseline – Grape growers, winemakers and the broader community are offered approximately 10 viticulture and enology educational meetings and over 20 research farm and vineyard owner workshops throughout the state each year. These meeting are administered by the UK Extension Viticulturist and Enologist. Existing and potential grape growers utililize UK extension services for roughly 100 on-farm visits and over 500 email and phone contacts to assist with any grape growing and winemaking issue for current growers and enthusiasts or guidance on establishing a new vineyard or winery. Methodology – Offer viticulture and enology assistance through the University of Kentucky Extension services. Schedule grape and wine seminars and viticulture and enology Extension meetings/focus groups to address seasonal issues with respect to winemaking, and vineyard practice and management. These courses are targeted to all levels of grape growing and wine making. When necessary, workshops/meetings will be focused on either beginner or advanced grape growers to increase the ability of all levels to participate and receive the information needed in a timely manner. Results – Collected data regarding each site visit around the state will be used as a tool to assess primary vineyard and winery issues and what is needed to address the issues. Often, workshops are held in response to a specific need during a growing season (March-October) and approximately 5-10 meetings will be held during that time. Approximately 300 vineyard and winery visits will be made each year during each growing season both in person and via online connections. Although the growing season spans from March to October, many visits are also made during the winter months to help new growers prepare for planting in the spring. 5. Identify best winemaking practices for winegrape cultivars adapted to the climate of Kentucky Baseline – The UKHRF Experimental Winemaking Facility serves to identify winemaking practices that will improve the quality and profitability of wines made in Kentucky. Since 2016, over 400 University of Kentucky Undergraduate and Graduate students and over 60 Kentucky winemakers have directly participated in wine production experiments held at the Horticulture Research Farm. Funding from KADF has allowed our program to expose both current and future Kentucky winemakers to modern equipment and winemaking techniques that are directly transferrable to the commercial wine industry of Kentucky. Methodology – Increase capability of the UK Experimental Winemaking Facility to produce commercial wines in both quantity and quality and ease of salability. UK undergraduate students will be involved in all aspects of the development and production of such wines. These wines will be used for flavor and aromatic profiling of research wines produced from the UKHRF vineyards. They will also be used as teaching tools for growers, winemakers, and students over the age of 21 by means of structured organoleptic evaluations during the viticulture and enology meetings and courses. Results 1) Educate growers and wineries on flavor, health benefits, and aromatic profiles of wines grown in Kentucky. Compare wines produced from different vineyard treatments and show how the effects of different vineyard management practices affect the wines. 2) Approximately 45 University of Kentucky students per year will gain direct, hands-on experience during every step of the wine production at the UK winemaking facility. These trained students would then potentially be available to intern or work at Kentucky vineyard and wineries. Access to skilled labor will reduce the amount of time commercial wineries spend training new employees and should serve to increase the overall quality and profitability of wines sold in Kentucky. 6. Wine and Grape Testing Services Baseline –The University of Kentucky has resources to receive and process samples for grape and wine testing free of charge. Sending in one sample for commercial testing will generally cost the vineyard/winery $65-$300 depending on the requested tests. UK can perform basic analysis free of charge. Methodology - Perform basic chemical analysis of fruit and wine samples. At a minimum this analysis will include laboratory measures of juice and wine components including: % soluble solids, pH, and Titratable acidity. Commercial grape growers and wineries will be notified of laboratory services offered by the UK Viticulture and Enology program through contact with County Extension agents and through the UK grape and wine listserve, which contacts nearly every vineyard and winery in Kentucky. Results – Provide cost effective analysis of fruit and wine samples for important. Growers have utilized this service in the past and we anticipate that no less than 40-50 samples will be received for evaluation. Results will be directly returned to participating vineyards and wineries. All results from testing will also be compiled to determine average juice parameters for the state and identify common wine faults. Individual wineries will be provided with a report via email for each sample they submit for analysis and assistance to correct any fault or potential issue identified which should help to improve the overall quality of wine production in Kentucky.
Effective start/end date9/20/229/19/24


  • KY Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy: $352,145.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.