Foundation Plant Services - News
Each year many new grape varieties and clones become available to the public after completion of testing at Foundation Plant Services. Wine grape clones from vineyards in Europe and California were added to the FPS foundation grapevine collection in 2016. Highlights of those selections were presented at the FPS Annual Meeting in Davis on December 1. Some of the more interesting grape varieties currently in the pipeline at FPS were also previewed.
During the annual meeting, FPS director Dr. Deborah Golino, was presented an award from the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, from its past-president David Cox, as the recipient of the organization’s annual Research Award for 2016. Cox said the award was presented to Golino, “For your contribution towards an improved nursery industry.” Golino has been director of FPS since 1994, and serves as a UC Cooperative Extension Specialist and a faculty member of the UCD Department of Plant Pathology. In addition to its role as the repository for clean grapevine material, and a source of virus-tested, professionally identified grapevines, FPS plays a similar role for the nursery industry for clean plant material for fruit and nut trees, strawberries, ornamental rose cultivars, and sweet potatoes.
Grapevine Pinot Gris virus (GPGV) has been detected in vineyards in 14 locations in Napa County, but not in other California vineyard locations to date, based on initial findings from a statewide survey started in 2016 and funded through an American Vineyard Foundation research grant. These findings and an update on GPGV were presented by Dr. Maher Al Rwahnih, diagnostic and research lab director at Foundation Plant Services (FPS) at the University of California, Davis, during a day-long extension class, “Current Issues in Vineyard Health,” held Nov. 29 in Davis.
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The university maintains an exhaustive public database of grapevine cultivars and rootstocks available in the United States known as the National Grape Registry, as well as running an impressive nursery company selling virus-free versions of these vines, Foundation Plant Services. Known as FPS, this is the only dedicated grape importation facility in the country, which means that most vine material brought legally into the US goes through its doors.
Maher Al Rwahnih, a project scientist with Foundation Plant Services, has won the Lee M. Hutchins Award from the American Phytopathological Society. The award is given to the author of published research on the diseases of perennial fruit plants.
Strawberry farmers and industry leaders say new science, education and collaborations underway at the UC Davis Public Strawberry Breeding Program bode well for the quality and sustainability of strawberries in California. The breeding program has launched a large-scale genetic disease-resistance experiment, added students and staff researchers to its expanding team, and planted strawberry-yield trials on five farms from Ventura to Watsonville.