In October of 2014, we were finishing up the harvest in beautiful 70 degree weather. Then, barely two weeks later on November 14th, the temperatures on our vineyards plunged to minus 4 degrees. The entire region and parts of the Northwest experienced the extreme temperatures, and many vineyards were hit. Red varieties were especially hit hard – we lost around 30% of our reds. Read More


Last month, we took part in a concerted (and ultimately successful) effort to recognize National Pollinators Week in all 50 states. National Pollinators Week is part of the American Pollinators Protection Campaign, an effort to raise awareness surrounding the plight of pollinators like the honey bee.

You may not be aware just how important pollinators like honey bees are to the food supply, but they are integral to the survival of many of our most important crops – and they are dying out. Read More


I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 National Wine and Grape Policy Conference as the Intermountain Wine Region Board member. It was a busy couple of days, as members of WineAmerica and Winegrape Growers of America met among the beautiful cherry blossoms of Washington, D.C. for policy discussions.

Top of the docket among the issues facing our industry was the potential threat of Canada leveraging retaliatory tariffs on imported American wine. Canada, as the largest consumer of exported American wine with over $1 billion in annual sales, could deeply damage sales and reduce market share for years to come by imposing these tariffs. Read More


February is here, almonds are almost in bloom, tens of thousands of colonies of honeybees are being trucked from all over the United States to pollinate these orchards. An excerpt from Washington States current Green Times issue is listed below. I highly recommend that you sign up for the free online subscription to read more on this issues as well as other current research.  To sign up, please contact kantors@wsu.edu

For Washington state, bees mean business. That’s why improving bee health and habitat is vital for keeping the state’s agriculture successful. This month’s “All About Bees” issue of Green Times highlights research at WSU to help preserve the not-so-humble honey bee. First, entomologists have teamed up with mushroom researchers to study how fungus can give bees a boost. Then, read about how a partnership between commercial beekeeper Eric Olson and Washington State University jump-started field research and is exploring innovative ways to keep hives strong through the winter. Throughout this edition, find infographics showcasing the economic importance of bees and some of the factors behind colony collapse disorder.

 

 

– Ron Bitner a.k.a. Dr. B