Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable Grape Production in Sonoma County

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2003: $13,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Nick Frey
Sonoma County Grape Growers Assn.

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: field monitoring/scouting, prevention


    Project's Purpose:

    Our objectives include: decreasing pesticide use whenever possible, increasing use of reduced-risk or organic pesticides when treatments are needed, and reassuring the non-farming community that grape growers are committed to safe, sustainable grape production.

    Major work completed:

    Sonoma County growers are decreasing pesticide usage and are selecting pesticides with fewer environmental impacts. Grower commitments to environmental stewardship and sustainable grape production are evidenced by their participation in the Code of Sustainable wine growing. (Over 200 growers who farm nearly 15,000 acres - 25% of Sonoma County total acreage - have completed and submitted self-assessments of their farming practices for inclusion in the statewide report.)

    The continuity of using the 4 Demonstration vineyards as working examples of grape growing for 5 consecutive years and having those cutting edge vineyard managers share their knowledge of grape growing imparts example over word.

    Significant Results:

    Thirty-eight or 66% of those surveyed for the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Grower Appellation Meeting(s) (GAM) Evaluation (Appendix # 1) stated they changed their management practices as a result of the IPM GAM. Changes included:

    • Minimizing pesticides & fungicides & more tolerance with wildlife
    • Started managing nymph counts with monitoring sheets from IPM Book
    • Tolerances for pests have increased
    • Mulch, owl boxes & new pesticides
    • More monitoring before spraying
    • Trend toward "softer sprays"

    Impacts & how it has affected our operation:

    The greatest impacts of the IPM program are increasing use of pest monitoring results, increasing tolerance for uneconomic pest levels, e.g. weeds, insects or mites, and increasing use of reduced risk pesticides. The monthly grower meetings are attended by over 10% of Sonoma County's 963 grape growers (MKF Research - Economic Impact of California Wine 2004). Grower to grower exchanges continue to prove valuable in sharing experiences with current pest and disease problems and by increasing awareness about reduced risk alternatives, particularly to pesticides under FQPA (Food Quality Protection Act) review. Data on pesticide use (Appendix # 2) show 28% reductions in lbs applied from 1997 - 2002 while grape acres increased 49%. Pesticides under FQPA review decreased 35% in lbs used and 24% in acres treated from 1999 to 2002. Grape acres increased 16% over the same period. These decreases in pesticide usage resulted in considerable savings (likely over $10 million) due to fewer pesticide purchases and fewer applications, especially for miticides, insecticides and fungicides.


    See Summary

    Project objectives:

    Integrated pest management is vital for Sonoma County grape growers.

    Objectives include:

    • to decrease pesticide use whenever possible
    • to increase use of reduced-risk or organic pesticides when treatments are needed
    • to reassure the non-farming community that grape growers are committed to safe,
      sustainable grape production.

    Anticipated Results:

    • Achieve total grower attendance of 90 or more at monthly GAM and 125 or more at the IPM Field Day.
    • Achieve non-farming community attendance of 25 or more at the IPM Field Day.
    • Publish one or more articles on some aspect of the IPM program in newspapers or magazines.
    • Further reduce total use of 9 pesticides under FQPA review that are reported in the CA Pesticide Use Report (PUR) (1 -year lag in published data).
    • Implement the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices program with 75 or more growers in 2003.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.