ROOTSTOCK 2018 – A Napa Valley Viticulture and Winery Symposium

ROOTSTOCK, a symposium by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, took place at a new venue in 2018.  The Napa Valley College (NVC) was the site and November 8 was the day.  NVC was very appropriate due to the wine and viticulture courses offered, not to mention the College’s own winery and vineyard for student use.  The Grapegrowers, founded in 1975, state their mission as “To preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards”.

The speakers forum and also the suppliers were located under a large tent, the farm equipment was on the grass, with several supplementary tents for other activities.  A new Happy Hour was complete with delicious catered bites, and was well stocked with a really good, diverse, and large selection of red and white wines with a few roses mixed in.  My favorite was a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon by Groth from Oakville.  It displayed especially luscious ripe berry fruit, great expression, complexity, and balance.

The ROOTSTOCK symposium is intended for vineyard managers, viticulturists, enologists, winemakers, and vineyard and winery proprietors whose goal is to keep raising the bar on quality.  ROOTSTOCK provided educational experiences throughout the symposium including supplier hosted booth displays, panel discussions, presentations, farm equipment displays with demonstrations, and wine trials embracing viticulture, winemaking, technology, and innovation.   Worth mentioning, there was also a wine tasting comparing the Napa Valley AVAs.

I spoke with a number of suppliers who had their solutions on display.  They were current on their products with plenty of information.  The first was Dr. Melissa Staid representing VineView from Angwin, bordering Napa Valley.  VineView’s service does fly over aerial photography which provides canopy management including harvest segmentation, homogenization, calibrated vigor essentials, and details canopy gaps.

I also had a conversation with Ernie Wilson representing Tule, a water control specialist.  Tule’s equipment reports the water applied to a vineyard, the amount evaporated from plant and soil surfaces, and the quantity that was used by the vines.  Sensors above the vine canopy measure evaporation from plant and earth surfaces in the vines.  The equipment also recommends how much water to apply.  Communication to Tule’s server is by a cellular link.

The Symposium Seminar topics included Grapevine Nursery Stock Pathogens, Pesticide Regulations, Practices for Long-Term Vineyard Health, Smoke Taint Research, factors affecting Grapevine Physiology and Berry Ripening, and Seismic Safety.

Open-forum discussions, ‘Experts in the Round’, conducted by trade experts covered soil health, vineyard and winery profitability, and a preview of the 2018 vintage.

As you can see, the offerings are quite robust for those interested in vineyard and winery operations. ROOTSTOCK is worth keeping on your annual calendar for consideration.

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