A Comprehensive Curriculum for Cold Climate Grapevine Production: Practical Skills for the Novice and Vineyard Manager

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2019: $38,390.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2022
Grant Recipient: University of Minnesota
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Matthew Clark
University of Minnesota

Information Products


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Crop Production: fertilizers, irrigation, pollinator health
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, workshop
  • Pest Management: cultivation, cultural control, disease vectors, field monitoring/scouting, genetic resistance, integrated pest management, weather monitoring
  • Soil Management: soil analysis, soil chemistry, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, quality of life

    Proposal abstract:

    The Minnesota grape and wine industry is expanding and contributes to over $80M in economic activity. Minnesota grape growers have expressed a need for introductory and continuing education for sustainable, viticulture best practices. This project will develop a curriculum that can be offered in-person, online, and then extended to other cold-climate grape growing regions. Sustainable grape production is limited by winter injury, disease, insect pests, and overall limited knowledge of plant growth and canopy management. Obtaining consistent yields and high fruit quality can increase the profitability for growers.  Knowledge gaps in pest management cause inappropriate pesticide applications that impact environmental sustainability.
    The partnership will focus on collaborating with growers to host workshops for hands-on training and implementation of a targeted curriculum. Using grower fields will allow a curriculum to be "beta-tested" and modified in an applied setting in response to participant feedback and experiences. This will allow the curriculum to be modified and improved with videos, testimonials and images during the development. Furthermore,  participants workshops will be hosted in a way that participants can return throughout the growing season and over two years to see the impacts of field-based decision making. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Develop a curriculum of viticulture training materials that focus on cold hardy grape production: 

    • Introductory content for seasonal workers and novice viticulturists
    • Continuing education for advanced viticulturists
    • Uses "Growing Grapes in Minnesota" as a guide
    • Use outreach workshops to identify knowledge gaps and
    • Beta-test curriculum with attendees
    • Make curriculum available to a regional audience

    Improve sustainability of grape production by:

    • Changing behaviors related to canopy management
    • Improving pest management skills 
    • Increasing understanding of the short and long-term consequences of vineyard decision making



    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.