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ISU/UMN Joint Research and Winemaking Webinar Series

Cellar Sanitation

Prior to the beginning of the grape harvest season, it is necessary to clean and sanitize the winery cellar to maintain wine quality, production consistency, and the long-term winery reputation. Cory Marx (UC Davis) and Luke Holcombe (Scott Laboratories) will present this topic during the first 1-hour webinar on August 4, 2020 at 3PM Central

photo of aug 4 workshop speakers

  • August 4th 2020: Winery Cleaning and Sanitizing
    • 20-minute presentation of the practical aspects of cleaning and sanitizing in a winery by Luke Holcombe from Scott laboratories.
    • 20-minute presentation of a recent work carried out at UC Davis by Cory Marx under the supervision of Dr. Anita Oberholster. This presentation will focus on a method for optimizing the use of chemical agents for cleaning and sanitation.
    • 15-minute Questions and Answers moderated by Dr. Aude Watrelot and Drew Horton.

To register:


Proper & Practical Use of SO2

In the second 1-hour webinar the importance of sulfur dioxide, and good SO2 management in the winery, will be presented and discussed by Dr. Gavin Sacks (Cornell University) and Katie Cook (Scott Laboratories) on August 18, 2020 at 3PM Central

photo of aug 18 workshop speakers

  • August 18th 2020: Practical Management of Sulfur Dioxide
    • 20-minute presentation on the definition of sulfur dioxide, the forms of sulfites, differences between free, bound and total SO2, the importance of SO2 in winemaking and a new method to measure SO2 by Dr. Gavin Sacks from Cornell university.
    • 20-min presentation on the practical aspects of the management of sulfur dioxide in a winery by Katie Cook from Scott laboratories.
    • 15-minute Questions and Answers moderated by Dr. Aude Watrelot and Drew Horton.

To register:



For further details or any questions, check out the Wine Industry Events in Dr. Watrelot’s website or contact us at and

ISU and UMN logo

Publish Date: 
Monday, July 13, 2020 - 2:30pm

Beta-glucans in wine cause filtration problems

Vintage 2019 MN grape wine filtering issue - UMN Grape Breeding & Enology Project

by Drew Horton, Enology Specialist

The University of Minnesota Grape Breeding & Enology Project has recently received anecdotal reports about difficulty in filtering vintage 2019 wines made from the Frontenac “family” of grapes: Frontenac, Frontenac gris and Frontenac blanc, and possibly some other grape varieties as well. Some winemakers have reported increased problems with filter and membrane clogging, especially with cross-flow type filters.

Although samples of difficult-to-filter wine have not yet been analyzed or measured, discussion with filtration expert Maria Peterson at Scott Labs reveal that this difficulty may be due to increased levels of beta-glucans, a large-molecule polysaccharide. Increased amounts of beta-glucans in juice and wine can be the result of vintage weather conditions that impact bacteria. In Minnesota, 2019 was remarkable for many rain events and high humidity levels, these conditions can lead to the growth of Botrytis and increased incidence of rogue bacteria like Pediococcus. The appearance and growth of these organisms can lead to increased amounts of beta-glucans and can occur during fermentation. This is not a factor just for hybrids, vinifera grapes can have the same issues for the same reasons.

Increased beta-glucans from Botrytis or Pediococcus can quickly plug filters or even the membrane media of a cross-flow. One might also see that tighter-grade sheets and lenticular-cartridges struggle to efficiently pass the wine. Careful monitoring is important since a pressure build-up could blow a hole in the membrane creating downstream problems such as bottling line membranes clogging too quickly.

beta glucan image

Example of PES membrane that is clean and one where glucans from Botrytis have clogged the membrane. Image used with permission from Scott Laboratories.

The addition of enzymes that break down beta-glucans before aging, storage, and bottling can prevent future filtration problems. According to Maria Peterson, “I like adding a beta-glucanase like the Lallzyme MMX as par for the course on difficult batches.” The contact time to break up beta-glucans is at least 6 weeks, so an enzyme addition prior to maturation or bulk storage is advised. An additional benefit of an enzyme like MMX is that it also accelerates autolysis of yeast cells which can improve mouthfeel in the wine. Peterson cautions, “Waiting until bottling day to test for glucan content may be too late, especially in years with favorable conditions for glucan formation.” Professional laboratories can test for Botrytis and glucan content of juice and wine. 

ETS Labs in California can test juice and wine for Botrytis and glucan content:

Enartis by Vinquiry Labs in California can also test juice and wine for Botrytis and glucan content:

Here is a link to the Lallzyme MMX enzyme product from Scott Labs’ website:

Enartis by Vinquiry in California has a comparable product:

The websites, companies and products referenced above are not a complete list representative of the entire industry, they are provided as a courtesy, and are not specifically endorsed by the University of Minnesota. Companies listed should be contacted directly for proper and appropriate use of their products and services
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 1:45pm

CFANS Spotlight: Cold-hardy table grapes

Spotlight on Matt Clark featured new developments in growing cold-hardy table grapes

Our most recent CFANS Spotlight with Matt Clark, assistant professor of grape breeding and enology in the Department of Horticultural Science, provided a fascinating look into his approaches to developing new varieties of seedless, cold-hardy table grapes that reintroduce flavor and aroma to the supermarket staple. Follow this link to youtube!


Publish Date: 
Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 9:00am

Link to Webinar 4/22/20: What to Do Now in the Vineyard - Bud Swell

Follow this link to watch this past week's webinar!

Publish Date: 
Friday, April 24, 2020 - 11:00am

Upcoming Webinar Series

Follow the links and to register for each online event!

flyer for grape grower workshops Spring 2020


Publish Date: 
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 11:15am

UMN Legacy Magazine

Raise a glass




Publish Date: 
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 11:15am

2020 CCC

MGGA Cold Climate Conference 2020 Press Release

January 25, 2020


The Minnesota Grape Growers Association (MGGA) will host the 14th annual Cold Climate Grape and Wine Conference February 20-22 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Cold Climate Conference brings experts from coast to coast across the northern tier together in one venue where they share their knowledge and insights with attendees.

Registration can be made online at where applicants will have the option to purchase admission to the conference by the day or as a full-conference package. Discounts are available for MGGA members, students and those registering four attendees or more at a time.

This year’s conference theme is “Get a Clear Vision in 2020.”

Event agenda

The opening day of the conference (Thursday, Feb. 20) features a tasting proficiency and fault identification class from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Lunch is included.  Those wishing to register for Thursday’s tasting proficiency and fault class must act quickly, as enrollment is limited to 45 participants.

The session will be led by Jennie Savits and Erin Norton from Iowa State University’s Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute. Savits and Norton are dedicated enology specialists committed to developing and sharing industry best practices tailored specifically to cold-hardy wine grapes.

There will be a welcome reception with trade show exhibitors and bar from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. The annual meeting for MGGA members is called to order at 6:15 in Suite 104.

Sessions Friday and Saturday are divided into three separate learning tracks: winemaking, viticulture and business practices. All three tracks and the event tradeshow begin each day at 8:30.

The Membership and Awards Dinner begins Friday at 7 p.m. at Four Daughters Winery. Buses will be available to transport attendees between the Mayo Civic Center and the winery.

Winemaking Track

Winemaking track attendees of the will hear wine makers and vineyard managers discussion the industry’s newest grapes, Itasca and Petit Pearl. Maturing, aging and filtering wine will be key themes in addition to topics ranging from winemaking fundamentals like wine stabilization and barrel selection to advances in chemistry and techniques like cryoextraction.

Viticulture Track

The viticulture track is designed to give both new and veteran growers insights from some of the industry’s top experts regarding topics such as soil health, plant nutrition and vine pathogens. Cornell University pathogen expert Wayne Wilcox will lay out cold climate grape management strategies.

Business Practices Track

The business track this year focuses on a winery’s profit center, its tasting room. Track leaders will cover topics like tasting room construction, employee management and training, as well as wine clubs and social media promotion that help increase sales after a customer’s visit. 

Craig Root will share tips for making wineries more money with track attendees he has gained from 30 years of revitalizing tasting rooms and increasing winery sales. Root is a global consultant from St. Helena, California. 

Business track attendees will also get to peek inside the head of some of the metro wine scene’s most influential people, including sommelier and wine educator, Jason Kallsen. Kallsen will show attendees how wine education directly contributes to improved winery sales.

The conference hotel connected to the Civic center via skywalk is The Kahler Grand Hotel. A link to The Kahler is available on the Cold Climate Conference registration site.

# # #


For more information Please contact

Jenny Ellenbecker

Minnesota Grape Growers President

Minnesota Grape Growers Cold Climate Conference Chair


Publish Date: 
Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 4:45pm

VitisGen2 Outputs: Links to read and share

Interested in keeping up with the VitisGen2 project? Visit the webpage at or on twitter @vitisgen


Trade Articles from VitisGen2

Grape Breeders Search for Reliable DNA Markers: Why the Pinot noir PN40024 Reference Genome is Not Enough
Wine Business Monthly, December 2019
by Tim Martinson, Qi Sun, Cheng Zou, and Lance Cadle-Davidson
The full issue is available with a free account:

 Disease-resistant varieties are on the way: Can we ensure they last?
Wine Business Monthly, June 2019
by Michelle M. Moyer, Timothy Martinson and Lance Cadle-Davidson
The full issue is available with a free account:

“Marker-Assisted Selection” Makes Efficient Table Grape Breeding
American Vineyard, March 2019
by Tim Martinson, Craig Ledbetter and Rachel Naegele

The Phenotyping Bottleneck: How grape breeders link desired traits to DNA markers
Wines and Vines, December 2018
by Tim Martinson and Lance Cadle-Davidson

Will Europe Embrace Hybrid Wine Grapes?
Wines and Vines, August 2018
By Tim Martinson and Bruce Reisch

Grape Breeders No Longer Flying Blind
Wines & Vines, March 2018
By Tim Martinson

The Frozen Genetics of International Wine Cultivars
Wines & Vines, December 2017
By Tim Martinson

VitisGen2 in Popular Press

Two Cornell Profs Hot on Wine Grape Hybrids Hint Europe May Be Too
Forbes, September 2018
by Thomas Pellechia

Why the World’s Most Popular Wine Grapes Are Vulnerable to a Pandemic
Mental Floss, June 2018
By Jen Pinkowski

The Quest to Grow the First Great American Wine Grape
Smithsonian Magazine, June 2018
By Kevin Begos

Program Uses Grape Breeding to Bolster Genetics
Growing Produce, November 2017
By Christina Herrick

The Hunt for Great Grape Genes
Good Fruit Grower, November 2017
Kate Preganman

Helping to Create the Next Generation of Grapes
Missouri State News, October 2017

VitisGen Project to Improve Grapes Gets Big Boost
Appellation Cornell, August 2017
By David Nutt

Can Science Save Our Favorite Wines?
Wine Enthusiast, January 2017
By Brooke Borel

VitisGen2 Research in Plain English Summaries

What is the economic value of breeding grapes that are resistant to powdery mildew?
Summary by Janet Van Zoeren

New resistance genes mapped for an important foliar insect pest of some hybrid grape cultivars
Summary by Matthew Clark and Lu Yin

A new locus associated with downy mildew resistance is found by creating a more accurate genetic linkage map
Summary by Janet Van Zoeren

Looking for durable downy mildew resistance in grapes
Summary by Janet Van Zoeren

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 2:45pm

Webinar Recording: Revisit and Improve Your Vineyard Spray Program

The recording from the December 10th webinar, "Revisit and Improve Your Vineyard Spray Program" is now online. To watch the recording of this webinar, click on the video below.

To watch it in higher resolution, click on the video, then click on the video title to open it in Youtube.


An effective pest management program leads to higher yields, higher quality fruit, and more satisfied winemakers. Constructing a program that effectively and sustainably targets the diseases and insects in the vineyard is an important skill for all grape growers regardless of experience level or vineyard size.

In the webinar, we discussed how to decide which products to spray based on the pest species in your vineyard, when to spray them, and how to use a variety of resources to develop or improve a current spray program. Speaker: Annie Klodd, UMN Extension.



Publish Date: 
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 9:45pm

Upcoming Cold Climate Grape Webinars

We will be hosting a series of webinars for cold climate grape growers during the winter months. The first two webinars in this series are taking place in December, and will cover pest management and spray programs.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 10, from 12:00-12:30pm: Revisit and Improve Your Vineyard Spray Program
  • Tuesday, Dec. 17, from 12:00-12:30pm: Developing Your Vineyard Weed Management Plan

Click here to sign up

Having a spray program that effectively and sustainably targets the diseases, weeds, and insects present in the vineyard, is an important skill for all grape growers regardless of experience level or vineyard size. An effective pest management program leads to higher yields, higher quality fruit, and more satisfied winemakers.

Even seasoned grape growers should be re-evaluating their spray program every year and making improvements to it. December is a great time to do that, so that you can order products for 2020 before the spring rush.

We will discuss how to decide which products to spray based on the pest species in your vineyard, when to spray them, and how to use a variety of resources to develop or improve a current spray program. 

    Click here to sign up for the webinars

    Registration is free, but we need you to register so that we can send you the login information.

    This webinar series is funded by a grant by the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

    Publish Date: 
    Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 11:00am


    Registration is now open for the 9th Annual International Cold Climate Wine competition. Click on the logo to learn more.


    Winter is Minnesota can be one of the most challenging times for the grape plants.  It's the main reason V. vinifera varieties aren't grown here.  Learn a little bit about whats going on in the vineyard in winter.

    Wine making is a rewarding career, but is not free from headaches. A wine maker's nightmare is the re-fermentation of sweet wines and the instability of some wines. This blog entry addresses the topic and offers some strategies to avoid and mitigate a potential devastating re-ferment.


    Are you curious if your wine is finished with malolactic fermenation? Here is a quick reminder on how to test with paper chromatography





    ALERT: September 27, 2016. Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) in Grapes: A short memorandom on SWD in Minnesota and associated volatile acidity. Read more here

    Fall vineyard managment should focus on managing insects, vertebrate pests, rots, and diseases that will impact the vines in the next growing season.  Making quality wines requires disease intervention and sorting, as infected fruit will impact wine quality. Read more here.


    International Cold Climate Wine Competition 2016 Results here!

    Northern Grapes Project Webinar Registration

    “From Vine to Glass: Understanding the Flavors and Aromas of Cold-Hardy Grapes and Wine”
    Tuesday, May 17th*, 2016
    12:00 Noon Eastern (11:00 am Central)
    7:00 pm Eastern (6:00 pm Central)
    *Please note this is a date change from the original date of May 10th.

    Join Anne Fennell of South Dakota State University, Adrian Hegeman of the University of Minnesota and Somchai Rice of Iowa State University as they discuss their research conducted on Marquette and Frontenac as part of the Northern Grapes Project. 

    Mock Winery Inspection

    Friday April 29, 2016


    Savor Minnesota

    This Saturday April 16, 2016


    Itasca Grape Vine Named

    The University of Minnesota releases its news wine varieity 'Itasca' on April 4, 2016


    Intergeneric Grafting

    Experimenting with different grafting techniques including grafting Ampelopsis with a hybrid rootstock.

    Preliminary Bud Survival Data

    Early bud chop counts on cold-hardy cultivars at the HRC


    Old blog entries

    Are you looking for previous blog posts? Search the archived entries