Vitculture & Enology Extension and Research Program

Grants and Contracts Details


Project Goals 1) Continue offering viticulture and enology Extension services to the expanding grape and wine industry in Kentucky through collaboration with the grape and wine program at the University of Kentucky. • Applied on-farm research Viticulture and enology projects will continue at the horticulture research farm. These projects will have the broad scope of improving overall grape and wine quality through projects requested from the industry as well as projects designed to improve existing production mechanisms. The research efforts at the farm will continue to be led by the Research Analyst/lecturer, the Extension Viticulturist and the Farm Technician. The UK Horticulture Research Farm staff as well as student workers will provide additional help when needed. • Educational meetings The Extension Viticulturist and Enologist will organize in collaboration with KVS, the annual Spring/Summer Field Day, and the Winter Grape and Wine Short Course. Regional extension meetings to educate the industry in all aspects of grape and wine production will be held on an as needed basis. • Vineyard and winery consultation The Extension Viticulturist and Enologist will consult with new and existing Kentucky grape growers and winemakers state-wide. Consultations play an integral role in the overall success of vineyard and winery operations. This service is essential as new farmers are seeking information on how to start a vineyard and winery and existing growers and winemakers are looking for new approaches to increase quality and production. • Wine analysis testing Most wineries do not have the financial means to test critical wine and must components. Sending in one sample generally will cost $65-$300 depending on the requested tests. Currently UK offers limited testing (basic fruit chemistry only); however, offering a service where wineries can send in samples for testing such as nitrogen and anthocyanin content would greatly improve wine quality as well as set base line standards and ranges for wine production. In order to offer this service a graduate student is needed to process and analyze the samples. 2) Establish university based programs and classes that promote student involvement and education in the grape and wine program. Currently a certificate program in wine, brewing, and distillation science is being led by Dr. Seth Debolt at the University of Kentucky. Among the course offerings in this certificate program, viticulture and enology classes are being taught by the research analyst/lecturer funded through Agriculture Development Funds. These classes are essential to the education of students who will be trained to work directly in the 2 Kentucky grape and wine industry helping to alleviate the common issue of finding skilled workers for the vineyard and winery. 3) Establish University based wine sales in order to generate income that will assist in the operational costs for the grape and wine program at the University of Kentucky. Currently there are five acres of research grapes produced at the UK Horticulture Research Farm. A small portion of grapes from these research vineyards are currently used to produce research wine lots with the majority of harvested grapes being composted due to excess. We would like to utilize this excess fruit to increase the volume of wine produced at the HRF, which would serve to: increase awareness of ongoing grape research conducted at the University of Kentucky; provide an alternative source of funding for the UK Viticulture and Enology program, and also allow UK students practical hands on experience prior to entering the commercial wine industry. Wines produced at the HRF could be sold through campus markets including outlets such as the UK Butcher Shop, the UK CSA, and private UK events. Proceeds from the sales would go directly to Viticulture and Enology program funding primarily to fund: student workers, interns, and operating costs. UK would not be pursuing sales outside of the University of Kentucky in order to prevent any competition with commercial wineries in Kentucky. This type of funding has worked well at other institutions focused in Enology and Viticulture such as: Yavapai College, Walla Walla Community College, University of California Davis, Fresno State University, Surry Community College, Redlands Community College, and Napa Valley College and would undoubtedly be a good opportunity for the University of Kentucky. It is expected that the income will be generated after the 2 years of this funding has ended. This income will be used to continue the work and sustain the program past 2016.
Effective start/end date10/9/1410/8/16


  • KY Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy: $441,301.00


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