Wines Enology Grape Chemistry Lab at Virginia Tech

Enology Notes

Wine/Enology Notes # 88 May 3, 2004

To: Regional Wine Producers

From: Bruce Zoecklein

Subjects: Research and Extension at a Crossroads and Winery Planning and Design Workshop

Research and Extension at a Crossroads

There was an excellent article written by Dr. Cliff Ohmart in the March 2004 issue of Wines and Vines. The article, titled Research and Extension at a Crossroads, is important reading for anyone in the commercial grape and wine industry in this country. In the article, Cliff discusses the decline in publicly-funded agricultural research and extension, and the short-and long-term consequences. For our industry, coincidental with the decline is the increase in market pressures as more and more wine regions around the world look at the US market as the "new frontier".

He points out that researchers at land grant universities are rewarded most by bringing in large research grants, usually for cutting-edge type projects. This may leave more simple, yet important, applied research needs unmet. This trend is increasing. Additionally, promotion and tenure are often tied to publication in scientific journals, rather than trade-type journals, which are far more accessible to the growers and winemakers, and written in understandable language.

What can be done about declining public support? Dr. Ohmart makes a few suggestions, including the establishment of research development corporations (RDCs). He points out that in Australia in 2002-2003, funding for wine and grapes by RDCs was $7.8 million, vs. $2.4 million for the entire US (from American Vineyard Foundation, the Viticulture Consortium, and the California Competitive Grants Program).

The good old days of adequate public funding of agricultural research and extension may be over. The question is-What will the US and regional grape and wine industries do about this? Read this informative article.

Winery Planning and Design Workshop

A one-day Winery Planning and Design Workshop is scheduled for June 6, 2004, at Penn State, College Park, PA. This program is for those seriously interested in entering the commercial wine industry.

This event is being coordinated by Dr. Bruce Zoecklein, Head, Enology-Grape Chemistry Group, Virginia Tech, and Dr. Stephen Menke, Enology Extension Educator, Penn State, and is co-sponsored by Virginia Tech and Penn State.

The workshop will include presentations, discussions, and printed materials on the following:

  • The components of a successful business plan
  • The economics of table wine production
  • Winery design
    • Design areas:
      • raw production handling
      • fermentation
      • barrel fermentation/storage
      • warehousing
      • lab
      • bottling
      • tourism/administration
    • Equipment
    • Refrigeration, temperature control, ventilation
    • Sanitation, steam and hot water requirements
    • Lighting
    • Electrical requirements
    • Water and waste water requirements
    • Gravity flow considerations
    • Caves
    • Expansion considerations
  • Government compliance issues

The workshop fee is $300, payable to Penn State. Send check to Mid-Atlantic Winery Planning and Design Workshop, c/o Stephen Menke, Adams County Extension Office, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg, PA., 17325-3404. Pre-registration is required and enrollment capacity is limited.

Additional registration information is available from Terry Rakestraw at 540-231-6805.

Additional program information is available from Dr. Bruce Zoecklein, Head, Enology-Grape Chemistry Group, Virginia Tech, at or phone (540) 231-5325 and posted on the group's website at From the home page, click on events.


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Dr. Bruce Zoecklein
Professor and Enology Specialist Head Enology-Grape Chemistry Group
Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg VA 24061
Enology-Grape Chemistry Group Web address:
Phone: (540) 231-5325
Fax: (540) 231-9293