Attending: Leah Adint, Dick Boushey, Brian Carter, Kevin Corliss, Rick Hamman, Julia Kock, Kay Simon, Linn Scott and Wade Wolfe
Absent: Russ Smithyman, Bruce Watson and Scott Williams
Guests and Staff: Melissa Hansen (WSWC), Thomas Henick-Kling (WSU), Scot Hulbert (WSU-ARC) Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 11:10 a.m.

Review 2018 Research Survey Results/Research Priority Review

Overview of 2018 Research Survey

  • 162 total responses (about 10 more than 2017 survey)
  • More balanced between winery and vineyard responses than the previous surveys
  • 85% of industry are aware of Wine Commission’s research program (60% aware in 2016 survey)

Committee reviewed ratings of research categories and research topics suggested. Yellow jackets, freeze and frost taint were new topics. Past research has shown that control of powdery mildew can help prevent yellow jacket attraction to grapes. Frost and freeze taint were discussed as potential issues but the Committee believes the Aroma and Flavor Compounds in Wine are broad enough to cover frost/freeze taint.

Action: Hansen will prepare a summary of yellow jacket research and best management practices to share with industry through newsletters, trade publications. No changes were made to the 2017-18 Research Priorities. Hansen will include the list in the RFP and announce the list to industry. The Committee suggested conducting the survey every two year with the caveat that research topic ideas can be shared with WRAC/Wine Commission any time.

Long Term Vision/Research Goals

Rick Hamman discussed the proposed long term vision/research goals were developed by the sub- committee of Hamman, Linn Scott, Russ Smithyman and Wade Wolfe. Scot Hulbert joined the sub- committee through conference call. The subcommittee chose to follow the four-pillar strategic plan

format of the Wine Commission and four-pillars of National Grape Research Alliance (former National Grape and Wine Alliance). The four proposed pillars are:

  1. Precision Viticulture (goal is automation of all vineyard tasks)
  2. Climate Change (goal is to equip growers with knowledge, tools to adapt to climate changes)
  3. Virus Management (goal is 100% certifiable mother blocks, sustainable health of commercial vineyards)
  4. Wine Quality (goal is to improve WA wine quality)

There was some discussion regarding the action word “mitigate” for the climate change goal but no changes were agreed upon.

Action: Moved by Wolfe, seconded by Corliss and unanimously carried to approve the Long-Term Research Vision and Goals as proposed. Hansen will share the pillars with other trade groups for feedback with the goal of presenting to the Wine Commission Board for approval at their August board meeting. Significant feedback will be shared with WRAC through email.

Changes to RFP FY 20

  • Minor revisions were proposed to the RFP that include: 1) clear statement of project expectations (final report, presentation at WAVE/wine convention, research poster, peer- reviewed article or article in trade publication); 2) reminder of ABD tuition waiver available for PhD students; and, 3) project objectives must relate to each other. A few research projects have become “umbrella” projects that encompass different objectives. Other researchers have asked to do the same. Narrowing the scope per project will make it easier to track final reports (objectives would all be on the same timeline). An example would be to make the research winemaking component of Jim Harbertson’s a stand-alone project and list the research winemaker as a co-PI under Harbertson.
  • Hansen proposed an alternative concept for the RFP and review process to shift focus away from detailed budget analysis of proposed projects to project outcomes by asking for the total budget instead of a line-item, detailed budget. Pros and cons of the concept were discussed but the Committee favors a detailed review. Additionally, a carrot approach would be used from an account held by the Wine Commission to reward researchers that receive outside grants or come in under budget. Such funds could provide travel for international conferences or equipment purchase as incentive to encourage researchers to seek outside grants.
  • With the research program now providing more funds for research technicians, there is need to better capture tuition and benefit waivers attached to the $214,455 state funds from WSU- ARC. Detailed project budgets that delineate benefits and salaries are necessary to help the grants coordinator best apply state funds. Hulbert agreed to look into this with Hansen to make sure the program is capturing waivers where applicable.

Action: No action was taken to change the RFP detailed budget. No action taken to create an incentive program for leveraged grants. Hansen will meet with Hulbert and the program grant coordinator to explore ways to best capture tuition and benefit waivers.

Review of Project Score Sheet

In an earlier email, Bruce Watson proposed changes to the score sheet used to rate proposed projects. Brian Carter added additional thoughts to Watson’s suggestions. Hamman noted that years ago, there were no scoring guidelines and the current score sheet with seven categories can easily be revised to best suit the Committee’s needs. Leah Adint shared that the American Vineyard Foundation uses a scoring format similar to the one proposed by Watson/Carter. The Committee made several tweaks to the Watson/Carter proposal. (See attached.)

Action: Moved by Simon, seconded by Wolfe and unanimously carried that the attached Score Sheet be used effective 6/29/18.

Election of Officers/Commitment to Continue Serving

  • Letters of intent to serve for the coming fiscal year were received from all WRAC members (with the exception of the newly appointed members that serve a three-year term). Watson indicated in his letter that this will be his last year and he will retire from WRAC on June 30, 2019.

Action: Moved by Carter, seconded by Corliss and unanimously carried that Rick Hamman be elected Chair for the coming year and Dick Boushey remain Vice Chair.

Hamman adjourned the meeting at 2:45 p.m. and welcomed new WSU-CAHNRS Dean Andre Wright, who then joined the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Melissa Hansen
Research Program Manager
Washington State Wine Commission
July 9, 2018