Who we are

The project team consists of 14 scientists from seven institutions across the US. Dr. Markus Keller of Washington State University is the project Director. The project is further led by four project co-directors. These co-directors work with co-PIs in four theme areas:

  1. plant nutrition/product quality (Paul Schreiner, USDA-Agriculture Research Service and Markus Keller, Washington State University)
  2. precision viticulture (Terry Bates, Cornell University)
  3. sensors and engineering (Manoj Karkee, Washington State University)
  4. outreach and social science (Patty Skinkis, Oregon State University)

Each team members profile is below.

Project Lead

Markus Keller

Markus Keller, Project Director
Professor of Viticulture, Washington State University

Markus serves as the project director, ensuring the overall progression of grant responsibilities. In addition, he is the lead of the Plant Nutrition/Product Quality Focus Group, taking over in spring 2024 (previously led by Paul Schreiner). In this role, he is helping to develop new grapevine tissue nutrient sampling protocols, determine nutrient uptake dynamics, and ground-truth sensor measurements. As the focus of his research is on physiology and management of wine and juice grapes in arid eastern Washington, his team is investigating links between vine nutrition and water deficit. This work links to and broadens his expertise in plant water relations and deficit irrigation, and combines it with his background in nutrient uptake and use in grapevines.
Faculty website


Manoj Karkee

Manoj Karkee
Professor, Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University

Manoj is one of the Project Co-Directors who is leading the sensors and engineering aspects of the project, taking over for Dr. Qin Zhang in summer 2023. This group focuses on the development of non-destructive, near-real-time tools to measure grapevine nutrient status. Manoj also contributes to the project through investigating proximal/ground-based non-contact sensing systems for near-real-time assessment of vine nutrient status. Specifically, he is developing a sensor platform incorporating color, 3D, thermal, and hyper- and multi-spectral sensors for comprehensive estimation and mapping of nutrient status over the canopy surfaces. Manoj works on sensing and machine vision systems for assessing various geometric, color and spectral characteristics of plants in vineyards and orchards, and this work utilizes existing knowledge, experience and equipment to bring the technology to the next level for supporting precision nutrient management in vineyards.
Faculty website

Terry Bates

Terry Bates
Senior Research Associate, Cornell University

Terry is project co-director of the precision vineyard management group. He also collaborates on the engineering and plant nutrition groups. Terry’s research focuses on profitable and sustainable vineyard production through precision agriculture. He recently led the Efficient Vineyard Project. This project integrated precision agriculture techniques with variable-rate mechanization. His team is using the engineering tools and vine nutrition knowledge generated in the HiRes Vineyard Nutrition project to test variable-rate nutrient management in New York vineyards.
Faculty website

Paul Schreiner
Research Plant Physiologist, USDA-ARS, Corvallis, OR

Paul was co-director leading the plant nutrition and product quality group until spring 2024. The goals of this group include defining nutrient guidelines based on productivity and quality for different grape markets and regions, developing new tissue nutrient sampling protocols, and ground-truthing sensors developed by the engineering team. Paul worked with commercial vineyards in Oregon to evaluate nutrient guidelines during the project. This work extends his prior research in grapevine nutrition and sustainable practices that balance production, product quality, and environmental impact.
Faculty website

Patty Skinkis
Professor and Viticulture Extension Specialist, Oregon State University

Patty is co-director leading the outreach, social science, and economics group. The team is working on documenting current industry practices, understanding nutrient management needs, determining economics of nutrient management, and adoption of new technologies. She is also a collaborator on vineyard field trials in Oregon. This work relates to her applied viticulture and outreach work in Oregon and continues her research on vineyard sustainability and grower decision-making.
Faculty website


Co-Principal Investigators

Matthew Fidelibus

Matthew Fidelibus
Extension Specialist, University of California, Davis

Matthew continues to determine mineral nutrient budgets for table grapes. His research is refining fertilizer use recommendations for table and raisin grape growers. He is working closely with Dr. Pourreza’s lab, to develop remote sensing technologies that assess vine nutrient status. This work is part of his program in applied plant physiology to advance viticulture practice.  Faculty website

Dana Acimovic 
Research Associate, Virginia Tech

Dana is working with the plant nutrition and product quality group, taking over projects established by Dr. Tony Wolf, a project co-PI, who retired in 2022. She is conducting two field studies in collaboration with commercial vineyards located in Virginia. The research goals are to understand nutrient levels, in particular nitrogen, necessary for the optimal vine growth and to develop new protocols for plant tissue nutrient analysis. Collected data serves the engineering team on the project to build ground-truthing sensors. Grapes from the studies are being made into wine by Amanda Stewart’s Lab at Virginia Tech to investigate the effects of nitrogen fertilizer on yeast-assimilable forms of nitrogen during fermentation and wine quality.  
Faculty website

Justine Vanden Heuvel
Professor of Viticulture, Cornell University

Justine is conducting research for the precision viticulture management focus group. Her research determines spatially-explicit data sources to improve sample collection for nutrient testing. The goal is to improve efficiency and precision. This research extends her work in developing sustainable grape production methods. 
Faculty website

Alireza Pourreza

Alireza Pourreza
CE Specialist, UC Davis

Alireza is working with the engineering team. His research focuses on identifying spectral characteristics of grape leaves canopies that are relevant for nutrient status. Alireza is the Digital Agriculture Lab director at UC Davis and leads projects on decision support tools for specialty crops. In this project, Alireza leads nutrient status sensing experiments in California.
Faculty website

Jan Van Aardt

Jan van Aardt
Professor – Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

Jan is working with the engineering group. He is part of the Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Group (DIRS) at RIT. This team focuses on the entire process of the technology, including photon capture, system calibration, image pre-processing, algorithm development, and information product delivery. In this project, Jan is focusing on proper image calibration (for data consistency), nutrient-specific wavelength selection, and system design, or design of application-specific sensors. The goal is to develop the technology for future product development.
Faculty website

Amanda Stewart

Amanda Stewart

Associate Professor of Food Science & Technology, Virginia Tech

Amanda is working with the plant nutrition and product quality group. She is the collaborating winemaker for trials in Virginia. Her research focuses on the impact of vine nutrient levels on fruit chemistry, wine fermentation, and wine quality. She is also focused on understanding how vine nutrients relate to the fruit at harvest. She has particular interest in nitrogen and potassium levels. This work relates to her applied research on fruit chemistry and yeast-assimilable forms of nitrogen on fermentation and quality of wine, cider and cocoa.
Faculty website

Jim Harbertson

Jim Harbertson
Associate Professor, Washington State University

Jim is working with the plant nutrition and product quality group. His research evaluates link between vineyard nutrient status to grape and wine quality. He is the collaborating winemaker for vineyard trials conducted in Washington and Oregon. This work relates to his expertise on the biochemistry and chemistry of phenolic compounds during grape ripening and winemaking.
Faculty website

John Woodill

A. John Woodill

Research Associate, Oregon State University

John is working with the outreach and economics group. He is evaluating the economic impact and feasibility of vineyard nutrient management decisions. He has expertise in advanced econometrics and data science applied to farm-level decisions. These methods are used to assess economic impact of nutrient management using data sets generated in the project and a meta-analysis of other vineyard nutrient data sets. The goal is to determine economic impact of nutrient management decisions.
Faculty website



Jorge “Pata” Perez Peña

Jorge “Pata” Perez Peña

Researcher, INTA – Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria – Mendoza

Pata is a collaborator in the project. He conducts nutrition and irrigation research in Mendoza, Argentina. His team in Argentina works on ecophysiology of irrigated vineyards and on factors of climate change (water relations, temperature). He is also responsible for the INTA Mendoza Laboratory of Soil, Water and Plant Tissue. This lab conducts plant nutrition research and performs nutritional analyses as a service to farmers for various crops, including grapes. 

Project Management

Nataliya Shcherbatyuk

Project manager, Washington State University

Nataliya assists the project director to ensure that the team meets grant responsibilities and timelines, facilitates outreach, and coordinates project team meetings. She is trained as a viticulture researcher and has keen interest in outreach and Extension.



Project Advisory Panel

This project would not be possible without the engagement the project advisory panel. The panel includes 11 stakeholders from across the US. Each individual represents different regions and grape markets.

  • Mark Amidon, National Grape Co-op/Welch’s, Westfield, NY
  • Donnell Brown, National Grape Research Alliance, Sacramento, CA
  • Nick Dokoozlian, Gallo Winery, Modesto, CA
  • Franka Gabler, California Table Grape Commission, Parlier, CA
  • Melissa Hansen, Washington State Wine Commission, Richland, WA
  • Emily Hodson, Veritas Vineyards and Winery, Afton, VA
  • John Martini, Martini Vineyards/Anthony Road Wine Co., Penn Yan, NY
  • Anji Perry-Archuleta, J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, Paso Robles, CA
  • Russell Smithyman, Gallo Winery, CA
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