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)
  2. precision viticulture (Terry Bates, Cornell University)
  3. sensors and engineering (Qin Zhang, 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 participates in the Focus Group Plant Nutrition/Product Quality, 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

Co-Directors

Qin Zhang

Qin Zhang
Professor of Agricultural Automation, Washington State University

Qin is the project co-director leading the sensors and engineering group. He is developing non-destructive, near-real-time tools to measure grapevine nutrient status. He is also determining the use and adoption of existing sensors in vineyards and adapting over-the-row systems for nutrient sensing and data analytics. This project uses his research expertise in automated precision agriculture, crop sensing, agricultural cybernetics, and agricultural mechanization.
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

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

Paul is co-director leading the plant nutrition and product quality group. 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. He is working with commercial vineyards in Oregon to evaluate nutrient guidelines. This work extends his research in grapevine nutrition and sustainable practices that balance production, product quality, and environmental impact.
Faculty website

Patty Skinkis

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 serving as 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 is helping to determine mineral nutrient budgets for table grapes. His research will refine fertilizer use recommendations. He is also working with Dr. Pourreza’s lab, to develop remote sensing technologies for assessing vine nutrient status. This work is part of his program in applied plant physiology to advance viticulture practice.
Faculty website

Tony Wolf

Tony Wolf

Professor and Viticulture Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech

Tony is conducting two field studies to understand nutrient levels needed by grapevines. He is collaborating with commercial vineyards in Virginia. Dr. Amanda Stewart is working with wines from the study to determine the role of nitrogen on wine aroma. The vineyards are also used for ground-truthing sensors from the engineering team. This project relates to previous research and extension programs developed by Tony. He provides an eastern US comparison of parallel studies on the West Coast.
Faculty website

Justine Vanden Heuvel

Justine Vanden Heuvel
Professor of Viticulture, Cornell University

Justine is participating in research for the precision management 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

Manoj Karkee

Manoj Karkee

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

Manoj is working with the sensors and engineering group. He is investigating proximal systems. Those include ground-based, non-contact sensing systems. These provide near-real-time assessments of vine nutrient status. Sensors include machine vision systems that measure plant shapes, color and spectral characteristics. This research utilizes existing knowledge, experience, and equipment. The goal is to determine if the technology works for vineyards.
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

Postdoctoral Scholar, 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

Collaborators

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. 
Website

Project Management

Thomas Groenveld, Project manager  Postdoc in Viticulture, Washington State University

Thomas Groenveld

Project manager
Postdoc in Viticulture, Washington State University

Tom assists the project director to ensure that the team meets grant responsibilities and timelines, facilitates outreach, and coordinates project team meetings. Tom also conducts research on vine physiology in the Keller Lab as part of the plant nutrition and product quality group. His research focuses on grapevine uptake of nitrogen, with focus on plant, soil, and modeling techniques.

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, E&J Gallo Winery, Modesto, CA
  • Franka Gabler, California Table Grape Commission, Parlier, CA
  • Melissa Hansen, Washington State Wine Commission, Richland, WA
  • Ken Kupperman, Jackson Family Wines-Oregon, McMinnville, OR
  • John Martini, Martini Vineyards/Anthony Road Wine Co., Penn Yan, NY
  • Emily Pelton, Veritas Vineyards and Winery, Afton, VA
  • Anji Perry-Archuleta, J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, Paso Robles, CA
  • Russell Smithyman, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Prosser, WA
  • Stephen Vasquez, Sun-Maid Growers of California, Kingsburg, CA
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