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Fall 2009
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New Cornell Lab Focuses on Grape, Wine, and Juice Research

By Ted Boscia

Cornell deepened its century-long commitment to Western New York’s wine, grape, and juice industries with a ribbon-cutting ceremony August 25 to inaugurate the new Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory (CLEREL) in Portland, N.Y.

New Cornell Lab Focuses on Grape, Wine, and Juice Research
Ted Boscia

Leading the ceremony were (l-r) New York State Sen. Catharine Young (R-Olean); Tom Davenport of the National Grape Cooperative; New York Assemblyman William Parment (D-Jamestown); CLEREL director Terry Bates; Tom Burr, director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station and Goichman Family Professor of Enology and Viticulture; and Susan A. Henry, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Since 1909, CALS has maintained a research laboratory in nearby Fredonia. With the opening of the state-funded, $5.4 million Portland facility, CALS sustains a rich history of viticulture advancements in vineyard management and production systems, grape breeding, pest control, and mechanical harvesting.

More than 50 acres of prime grape-growing land surrounds the new lab. The facility also includes state-of-the-art equipment for lab and field tests, and classrooms and meeting space for research and extension staff from Cornell and Pennsylvania State University, visiting scientists, and growers.

“The Portland laboratory serves as a regional hub for research and extension, as well as a resource for growers, producers, and visiting scientists from New York and beyond,” says Susan A. Henry, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It is truly rewarding to uphold our commitment to supporting the state’s grape, wine, and juice industries, which are vitally important to the New York economy and the Lake Erie region in particular.”

New York’s wine and grape industry makes a $6 billion annual economic impact and includes more than 1,400 vineyards statewide. At the Portland lab, Cornell researchers will continue studies to increase yields, improve quality, and lower production costs of grapes grown in the Lake Erie escarpment, especially the Concord and Niagara varieties.

New York Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Jackie Moody-Czub presented Terry Bates, new CLEREL director, with the Agricultural Environmental Management Award to recognize measures to conserve open space and water quality in the design, construction, and operation of the building.


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