MSU Grape School offered in Traverse City and Benton Harbor

Explore ways to improve vineyard management, gain in-depth training in pest and disease control, understand grapevine physiology and discuss climate changes.

Cabernet Franc grape clusters
Photo by Thomas Todaro, MSU Extension

The Michigan State University Grape School will be held March 28-29, 2019, in Traverse City and Benton Harbor; the two locations will be connected via teleconference. Participants will explore ways to improve vineyard management, gain in-depth training in pest and disease control, understand grapevine physiology, and discuss climate changes and how to respond.

Organized by the MSU Extension grape team and Michigan State Horticultural Society, this two-day program will explore fundamental aspects of grape growing and vineyard pest and diseases with experts from MSU, California, Italy and our local industry. Included in the program will be visits to local vineyards and wineries.

Registration is $70 per person, which includes lunch on Thursday, light breakfast and lunch on Friday, course materials and two extension books, “A Pocket Guide for Grape IPM Scouting of Grapes” and “Winter Injuries to Grapevines and Methods of Protection.” Dinner is on your own and lodging is separate.

Online pre-registration is required for planning purposes. When registering, you will indicate which location you will be attending: Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center, 6686 S Center Hwy, Traverse City, MI 49684 or Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center, 1791 Hillandale Road, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.


(Day 1) Thursday, March 28

Viticulture: Climate and Cultivars

10-11 a.m.

Climate change and potential agronomic impacts in the Great Lakes Region; Jeff Andresen (MSU)

11 a.m. -12 p.m.

Cultivar and rootstock selection for Michigan’s mixed viticulture: Duke Elsner (MSU Extension)

12-1 p.m.

Lunch break

1-2 p.m.

New cultivars and clones for Michigan cool climate viticulture: Diego Barison (Herrick Grapevines, California)

2-2:30 p.m.

Clean plant network in the US and new diagnostic capability at MSU: Laura Miles (MSU)

2:30-3 p.m.

A new grapevine nursery for the Michigan wine industry: Pat Murad (Campbell Milarch Vines, LLC)

3-4 p.m.

Vineyard management for improving fruit quality of the most important wine cultivars for Michigan; Craig Cunningham (Leorie vineyard)

(Day 2) Friday, March 29

Viticulture: Grapevine Physiology (morning)

7-8 a.m.


8-9 a.m.

The Eastern US Challenge: increasing cold tolerance of grapevines to extreme low temperatures: Imed Dami (The Ohio State University)

9-10 a.m.

Methods for vineyard recovery and management after severe winter injury; Thomas Todaro (MSU Extension)

10-11 a.m.

Sources and Sinks: production allocation of photosynthates during the growing season in grapevines: Paolo Sabbatini (MSU)

11 a.m. -12 p.m.

Understanding grapevine capacity: effect of climatic conditions, canopy structure and summer pruning: Paolo Sivilotti (University of Udine, Italy)

12-1 p.m.

Lunch break

Viticulture: Pest and Diseases (afternoon)

1-2 p.m.

What do we know about spotted lanternfly? Rufus Isaacs (MSU)

2-3 p.m.

Vineyard IPM Diseases: Tim Miles (MSU)

3-4 p.m.

Late Season Fruit Rots: Mark Longstroth (MSU Extension)

4-5 p.m.

App 4Grapes: New precision viticulture tool for scouting vineyards and improve wine quality: Giovanni Bigot (PerLeUve Consulting, Italy)

For more information about the program, please contact Thomas Todaro (, Mark Longstroth ( or Paolo Sabbatini (

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