New York State launches Grapevine Certification Program to protect New York's grape industry

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced that the Department, in partnership with Cornell University, has relaunched its Grapevine Certification program to protect and support New York’s wine and grape industry.  The program provides the most stringent testing protocols in North America for viruses of grapevine plants, greatly reducing introduction of virus-infected vines to new vineyards and increasing the odds that plants being sold will yield a healthy crop. 

Three New York nurseries are participating in the program and offering New York-certified vines to vineyards across the State, eastern United States, and eastern Canada.

Commissioner Ball said, “This nation leading certification program is critical to the economic well-being of our grape growers here in New York State. It gives them a head start in knowing that the grapevines they’re buying and planting are virus free, and have an increased likelihood of producing a quality crop."

Staff at the Department has been working with three nurseries—Amberg Grapevines in Clifton Springs; Double A Vineyards in Fredonia; and Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard in Dundee—to collect leaf samples of the vines, which are then sent to the virology lab at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva for testing. Using cutting-edge technology, the staff at Cornell is able to provide better, more accurate results in just a fraction of the time it used to take (weeks vs. years) to determine whether plant materials were carrying a virus.

Nurseries initially source virus-tested plants from foundation vineyards at clean plant centers in Davis, California and Prosser, Washington that are part of the USDA’s National Clean Plant Network. The Department’s ongoing, subsequent testing allows the nursery to catch any virus introductions and remove those infected vines before the plants are propagated and sold to vineyards as stock.

New York annually samples every fourth vine in the nursery mother block, which is the source of cuttings for all new vines.  Over the course of four years, 100% of these vines are sampled checking that no viruses have been introduced via insect vectors.  At the nursery level, this represents the most frequent testing program in North America.

The certification program will economically benefit New York’s wine and grape industry, which is ranked third in the nation for grape production. Grapes are susceptible to viruses that can be passed on during the process of propagation, reducing the lifespan of grapevines as well as the yield, sugars, and overall quality of the crop. Investing in New York certified vines saves money for growers by extending the life of their vineyard and improving the quality of the harvest.

For more information: 
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
10B Airline Drive
Albany, New York 12235
Albany Press Office +1 (518) 457-0752
State Fair Press Office +1 (315) 487-7711

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