Seven Questions with James Osborne

Each month the OWRI will highlight a different researcher from our program and discuss current/future research goals, hobbies, and other interesting information. This month, our featured faculty member is  James Osborne.
1. What is your position at OSU/OWRI?

I am an Associate Professor and Enology Extension Specialist in the Food Science and Technology Department and a core member of the OWRI. I started in this position in September 2006 after working in my home country New Zealand at the University of Auckland and Delegat’s Winery. My job responsibilities are split between research, extension, and teaching (30:40:30%) with my research program focusing on understanding the impact of wine microorganisms on various aspects of wine quality.

2. What do you enjoy most about your work?

What I enjoy most is the diversity of tasks my job offers. Firstly, I get to teach students in our undergraduate and graduate program. This is a challenging but rewarding experience especially as our graduates start making an impact in wine industries all around the world. I am also able to work closely with the Oregon wine industry through both research and extension activities. Addressing industry needs through applied research is intellectually challenging and satisfying especially knowing that you are working on research questions that can impact the continued improvement and competitiveness of Oregon wines.

3. When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your time?

When I’m not working I enjoy time at home with my family. I have an 8yr old son and a 5yr old daughter who keep me very busy as well as baffled by their endless energy. Aside from this I do enjoy playing an occasional game of golf or tennis when time and weather allows. My rugby playing days are well behind me and so I make do with watching rugby on TV/internet when I can as well as an occasional football (American) game.

4. What inspired you to choose your career path?

I arrived at this career path in a rather indirect manner. I grew up in NZ on a dairy farm and through school had an interest in science, particularly biology. At University I studied microbiology and it was through this discipline that I first became interested in wine. My MS research work focused on the malolactic fermentation and after that I was hooked. I enjoy studying microbial interactions in a medium as diverse and challenging as wine especially given how little we really understand about what’s going on.
5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

That’s a tough question as no one piece of advice really stands out to me over others. However, I would say trying to maintain balance and perspective in life is probably one piece of advice that has been the most helpful and challenging to me on a daily basis. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the minor details sometimes and taking a moment to place things in perspective can make all the difference.
6. Which three people (living or dead) would you invite to dinner?

Sir Edmund Hillary: A New Zealand legend. A great and humble man who is a true hero to New Zealanders

Stephen Colbert: Hilarious, sharp, and thoughtful. In or out of character he would make for a great dinner guest

Charles Barkley: Would provide us with some great conversation starters and has an opinion on just about everything

7. What is your vision for the future of your research?

I have always been interested in better understanding how microbial interactions during winemaking can be utilized to either encourage growth of certain microorganisms or inhibit growth of others. This covers everything from the microbial load that comes in on the grapes to interactions between spoilage bacteria and yeast during wine aging. I believe that a better understanding of these relationships will help in the management of microbial communities throughout the winemaking process.

Willamette Valley Viticulture Scholarship (WVVS)

One of the veterans in the Oregon wine industry is Buddy Beck, who got his start in the wine industry over 25 years ago.  After graduating from Oregon State University he was given an opportunity to work with Allen Holstein at Argyle Winery where he managed vineyards for ten years.  Today Buddy is the owner of Advanced Vineyard Systems, Inc. managing 20 vineyards and working with 50 wine makers around the Willamette Valley.

Buddy learned about the Willamette Valley Viticulture Scholarship (WVVS) and the matching donation the Erath Family Foundation would make supporting viticulture industry employees. He was immediately interested and on board.  Buddy made the first donation to support his employee and Chemeketa viticulture student, Carlos Martinez-Feleyson in the WVVS. Buddy said, “I instantly thought of Carlos. He’d already decided to attend the viticulture program and I knew it was a question of financing.”

Carlos said, “I didn’t decide to get a degree in viticulture from the very beginning. My dad had worked in the vineyard industry since 2000, but he recommended that I look for a career somewhere else. My primary interest was with computers, so I took electives in computer programming in high school. I was looking to a career as a software engineer. However, Buddy asked me if I wanted a job when I had turned 16 and I accepted. At first I did it for the money but then I started to get interested in the process that grapevines go through during the seasons. So I had the practice but I needed the theory. “

Carlos’ father and Buddy have been his inspiration for going into the viticulture degree program.

Carlos adds, “Buddy was the first person to offer me a job and the opportunity to achieve something with my life. He also put faith in my ability to learn, and has been willing to sponsor my education.  I have been given the opportunity to further my education in viticulture, and I hope others have the chance that I’ve been given. “

Buddy adds, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Carlos and I appreciate Dick Erath and his family for developing this scholarship. It will help others get into the industry that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity. “

Seven Questions with Laurent Deluc

Mug Shot Question 1. What is your position at OSU/OWRI?

I am an assistant professor in the OSU Department of Horticulture (started in June 2009), and I am a member of the OWRI core faculty. My position is a combination  of grapevine research, teaching and outreach. My major focus is on studying functional genomics in grape berry development.  My group is interested in understanding the  molecular mechanisms associated with grape berry ripening and the influence of environmental factors.

 Question 2. What do enjoy most about your work?

The most interesting- and most challenging- part of my job is dissecting the complex process of grape berry ripening, which is still seen as an obscure biological process. The grape  berry cluster is not a single fruit but rather a population of individual fruits evolving together under a strong control of environmental and developmental factors. The emergence    of rapidly evolving and new technologies and their use as research tools present a unique opportunity better understand the grape berry ripening process. In the long-term, this      will give the Oregon wine industry new strategies and practices to improve fruit quality.

Question 3. When you’re not working, what do you do?

I always try to balance work time with quality time with my family. I enjoy hiking with my family to explore the beautiful sites that make Oregon an outstanding state, cooking, skiing, and biking with my family. Coming from the west coast of France, I often need to go to the coast just to feel the oceanic breeze.

Question 4. How did you choose your career path?

As I often say, it was purely coincidental. After my MS in Forestry, I knew that I wanted to explore and learn more about molecular biology in plant sciences. Grapes happen to be the model I started with and the idea to do basic research with potential societal and economic impacts suited my professional goals. After my Ph.D. in France, I accepted a post-doctoral position working on the grapevine model at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2004. The two research experiences in France and in US confirmed my determination to pursue research career in basic science using the grapevine model.

Question 5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Make a simple story from a complex concept. Basic researchers often tend to show tremendous amount of data, which are usually difficult to digest, when it is a matter of conveying a simple message. I am not always 100% successful in this exercise when I communicate with the industry, but I attempt to communicate in this way.

Question 6. Which three people (living or dead) would you invite to dinner?

Hard to answers to this question without falling into simple stereotypes….

–     Nikola Tesla (inventor, mechanical engineer, futurist, etc…)

–     Alan Turing (father of the computer science and artificial intelligence)

Finally, the last one is dedicated to a grape scientist, Bryan Coombe (plant physiologist, which happens to be a grape physiologist). Dr. Coombe passed away in August 2014 this year. He was the pioneer in grape berry development and his vision about the grape berry model was 30 years ahead compared to other grape researchers at that time. His research has played a role in my decision to embrace the career of grapevine researcher.

Question 7. What is your vision for the future of your research?

My vision for the future of my research lies in two components of my grapevine research program:

–        Justify the grapevine model as a valuable tool to address fundamental questions in plant sciences and use it in a whole-plant context
–        Generate enough background knowledge in grape metabolomics that be utilized by the wine industry to address recurring and anticipated viticulture problems.

September 21-27 is Farm Safety Week

Did you know that September 21-27 is National Farm Safety Week? It’s a good time to put on your learning cap and brush up on safety practices that will keep you and your employees safe. In honor of National Farm Safety Week, the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences -Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety & Health, is providing information from the Northwest and other NIOSH Regional Ag Centers. For more information, search online for #NFSW14. 





Seven Questions with…

Oregon State University Extension and Experiment Station Communications

  Vinay Pagay

1. What is your position at SOREC/OWRI?
I started my job at OSU-SOREC and the OWRI in January 2014 after receiving my doctorate at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. My position is a combination of viticulture research (60%) and extension (40%), so an interesting mix of basic and applied research, as well as addressing issues faced by the grape and wine industry in Southern Oregon. In my position, I cover the Southern Oregon AVA (American Viticultural Area), which includes the Rogue (Bear Creek and Applegate Valleys), Illinois, and Umpqua Valleys.

2. What do you enjoy most about your work?
The most interesting part about this job is the diversity of viticulture that exists in Southern Oregon. Sub-regional climates, soils, and topography contribute to this diversity, but the plethora of grape varieties – by some accounts up to 70! – from both warm and cool climates make my job not only interesting but also challenging. Can you tell the two Portuguese cultivars Tinta Amarella (Trincadeira, if you prefer) and Tinta Barocca apart by looking at just their leaves? Email me if you’re curious to know how!

3. When you’re not working, what do you do?
My time outside of the office or vineyard is spent working out (I compete in Olympic-distance triathlons, so a lot of swimming/biking/running/weight training), hiking the hills around Southern Oregon, playing golf, and reading (currently a book entitled ‘The Sleepwalkers’ by Christopher Clark, a Cambridge historian; it is about the events leading up to the first world war – quite a gripping story). I am trying to get back into playing competitive tennis and classical piano, but have yet to find time for these. I also enjoy home brewing and baking breads when I’m home over the weekends.

4. How did you choose your career path?
While pursuing my first degree in computer engineering, I had an old friend from high school visit me in Montreal who led me through my first structured tasting of wine (red was the color of the evening). This delightful experience led me to read and learn more about the world’s wine regions, styles, and wine production, culminating in my enrolling at Brock University in Canada to do a degree in enology and viticulture. The mentorship I received while at Brock, and later at Cornell, were instrumental in my decision to pursue this career and current job at OSU/OWRI.

5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Take up a job you love and you’ll be successful (and maybe even wealthy!) before you know it. I think at least part of it has come true already!

6. Which three people (living or dead) would you invite to dinner?
-Thomas Jefferson (for his wine collection, of course)
– Sergei Prokofiev (Russian composer)
– Bill Clinton

7. What is your vision for the Southern Oregon wine industry?
I see the wine industry in Southern Oregon as destined for greatness and popularity not only within Oregon but also across the country. With significant acreages being planted with winegrapes across the region, higher grape and wine quality from the greater experience of the industry, the profile and visibility of this region is steadily increasing. The diversity of available grape varieties and wine styles provide tremendous opportunities for this region. While Southern Oregon has a number of major tourist attractions, e.g. Crater Lake, the Britt and Oregon Shakespeare Festivals, I envision wine tourism growing in this small but dynamic region of Oregon.

Oregon Department of Agriculture Grape Quarantine Update

Oregon Department of Agriculture Grape Quarantine Update 


The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has updated its grape quarantine rules and added Pierce’s Disease (Xylella fastidiosa) to the already listed Grapevine fanleaf virus, grapevine leafroll associated viruses, grapevine corky bark disease agent, grape phylloxera, vine mealybug, and  European grapevine moth. The quarantine places restrictions on the importation of all parts of the grapevine into Oregon including the harvested fruit.  Please review the accompanying quarantine of Glassy-Wigned Sharpshooter as it is a vector of Pierce’s disease.

Please take the time to review these important changes. To view them in more detail, please visit the ODA website at:

Link to Grape Quarantine: 603-052-0051_072462014CLEAN

Link to Glassy-Wigned Sharpshooter: 603-052-1221_07242014CLEAN


Monitoring Vineyards for Grape Rust Mites in Late Summer

Rust mites can be a nuisance pest and require careful monitoring and assessment.  Check out the post below written by Dr. Patty Skinkis, Viticulture Extension Specialist & Associate Professor, which provides information on how to deal with these pests.


Monitoring Vineyards for Grape Rust Mites in Late Summer


Dr. Patty Skinkis, Viticulture Extension Specialist & Associate Professor

Grape rust mites have been a nuisance pest in vineyards of western Oregon for years. They can be found living on grape tissues from early spring through summer. During late summer and into fall, they retreat to overwintering sites in the bark and bud scales. The grape rust mite has been known to cause shoot deformity early in the growing season and stippling of leaves as they advance into the upper canopy in summer. If populations are very high (hundreds to thousands per fully expanded leaf), the leaf tissue can begin to discolor, starting to turn a dark green, then purplish and finally a bronzed color in late summer to early fall. This discoloration can lead to reduced photosynthetic ability of the vines if a large percentage of the vine’s leaf area is damaged.

Monitoring for signs and symptoms of rust mite infestation are important to do throughout the season. However, determining the presence of grape rust mites in your vineyard now (late August and early September) will help determine whether control methods are warranted the following season. We developed a user-friendly method by which to monitor grape rust mites on vine tissues, and this method has since been employed by growers in Oregon to determine presence of rust mites. The protocol for this method is available for use:

  • Grape tissue washing protocol (link to document)
  • Visual work flow of protocol (link to document)

Using this method, we were able to determine a strong correlation of stippling symptoms to rust mite presence on small shoots and leaves. The greater the stippling severity on the leaf, the greater the number of rust mites. The bronzing of leaves was also associated with high rust mite numbers, but the symptom was associated with feeding later in the summer on older leaf tissues. Now is your last chance to monitor your vineyards for these symptoms and verifying mite presence before the hustle of harvest. For examples of these symptoms, see the grape rust mite section of the PNW Insect Management Handbook.

If you find significant rust mite damage and presence, it is best to make note of those vineyard blocks that are most damaged and consider your management options for the future. In some cases, you may want to reevaluate your in-season fungicide program, as sulfur has been found to be effective at reducing or maintaining low rust mite populations. Also, it is best to know the infestation status of your vineyard now so that plans can be made to monitor and take action against rust mites shortly after bud break the following spring. Current recommendations exist for early season rust mite control, and those can be found in the pest management guide released by OSU Extension each spring.

For more information about monitoring for rust mites and management, see the following publications and resources:

Schreiner, R.P., P.A. Skinkis, and A.J. Dreves. 2014. A rapid method to assess grape rust mites on leaves and observations from case studies in Western Oregon vineyards. HortTechnology. 24: 38-47.

Skinkis, P.A., J.W. Pscheidt, E. Peachey, A. Dreves, V.M. Walton, D. Sanchez, I. Zasada, and B. Martin. 2014. 2014 Pest Management Guide for Wine Grapes in Oregon. OSU Extension Publishing.

Skinkis, P. 2014. Grape Rust Mites, eXtension/

Skinkis, P., J. DeFrancesco, and V. Walton. 2014. Grape Rust Mite, PNW Insect Management Handbook.

Oregon Wine Industry Symposium Spanish Sessions

The Oregon Wine Board will be sponsoring the annual Oregon Wine Industry Symposium in Portland on February 25 & 26. This event is designed to provide the wine industry with relevant, up-to-date information, and techniques for grape growers and winemakers alike.  This event gathers people from Oregon’s various wine regions together to network and share ideas to improve their businesses.

This year, the Symposium is offering Spanish sessions. Both days, all Viticulture and General Sessions will be translated in real time by professionals. Attendees will get a full Symposium experience as well as a deeper, richer educational opportunity.

To view a flyer about the Spanish session, please click here.

Welcome to the Fall 2013 Newsletter

The OWRI Team

This edition includes articles from various OWRI team members ranging from viticulture to enology and sensory. The OWRI’s Extension Specialists contributed articles focused on timely topics related to the 2013 vintage.  Dr. James Osborne, OSU Enology Extension Specialist, provides an article on methods by which to reduce the impacts of off odors caused by sulfur compounds post-fermentation.  On the viticulture side, Dr. Patty Skinkis, OSU Viticulture Extension Specialist, summarizes research comparing manual and mechanized leaf removal and impacts for vineyard management in Oregon. Dr. Paul Schreiner and Dr. Inga Zasada, USDA-ARS researchers, provide a comprehensive summary of current and past research conducted on ring nematode in western Oregon vineyards. Dr. Laurent Deluc, OSU Assistant Professor, provides a general summary of genomic research into berry ripening synchronization and future applications for the winegrape industry. Dr. Elizabeth Tomasino, OSU Assistant Professor, presents a brief summary of her latest research in sensory analysis with an update on the OWRI Sensory Panel. This edition also includes a news brief on David Adelsheim, who was inducted into the College of Agricultural Sciences 2013 Hall of Fame, and concludes with recent happenings from the OWRI interim director, Dr. Bill Boggess.  As always, be sure to explore the list of various publications and resources available for you to read and expand your knowledge in viticulture and enology. Finally, consult the end of the newsletter for upcoming events, including the 2014 Grape Day where we will feature research of the OWRI faculty!

David Adelsheim inducted into the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences 2013 Hall of Fame

Dr. Bill Boggess, Interim Director, OWRI 

Dr. Dan Arp, Reub Long Dean of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station at OSU poses with David Adelsheim, Adelsheim Vineyards. Photo Courtesy of Betsy Hartley.

The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University recently recognized David Adelsheim, president of Adelsheim Vineyard, with its highest honor – induction into the College’s 2013 Hall of Fame.  Early wine pioneers David and Ginny Adelsheim founded Adelsheim Vineyard in 1971. Beyond leading the remarkable success of the vineyard, David has had an unparalleled impact on Oregon’s wine industry over the past 40 years.  David was instrumental in efforts to pass land use legislation in the 1980’s that enabled protection of agricultural land, importation of Dijon clones of Pinot noir and Chardonnay to the U.S.A., the establishment of the Willamette Valley’s six distinct appellations and wine labeling regulations, and the creation of the Oregon Wine Board.  David was recognized with the industry’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, by the Oregon Wine Board in February 2012. David’s role in the history and prospects of Oregon wine is truly unequalled.

Over the past 40 years, David has collaborated extensively with the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University.  Early collaborations included setting up a grapevine clonal importation program and supporting viticulture research efforts focused on Oregon’s unique growing conditions. More recently, David contributed significantly toward the formation of the Oregon Wine Research Institute (OWRI), which is the region’s first multi-disciplinary and comprehensive program dedicated to addressing the research and outreach needs of the wine industry in Oregon. The OWRI has garnered more than $2 million toward Oregon wine research and supports eight OSU faculty members. Development of such pivotal programs within industry, government, and the university is not possible without the strong support of industry partners. We are sincerely thankful for the efforts of David Adelsheim and proudly offer him this prestigious honor at Oregon State University.