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The concept of a statewide research institute was first conceptualized almost a decade ago by a group of leaders in the Oregon Wine Industry. After several years of discussion, Oregon State University was approached and asked to help develop The Institute. The Oregon Wine Industry has been instrumental in providing funding to help start The Institute, and provides guidance via a Policy Board. The Institute is a multidisciplinary collaboration of research and outreach specialists in areas including viticulture and enology. These world-class scientists include faculty from OSU and USDA-ARS scientists. One of the goals charged to the OWRI is to develop a vigorous program of research and outreach in the area of wine business. Our undergraduate programs in viticulture and enology are administered by the departments of Horticulture and Food Science and Technology. Please follow the links to those departments if you are looking for information about undergraduate and graduate programs in viticulture and enology. We also work closely with the Horticultural Crops Research Unit of the USDA-ARS here in Corvallis, OR.
Thus, our three major areas of focus are:
Viticulture: promote understanding of grapevine physiology and metabolism for growers and employees; conduct research to address how these factors can be manipulated to achieve target fruit and wine composition, while maintaining a sustainable environment and enhancing grower profitability.
Enology: conduct research to improve winemaking processes and disseminate findings to winemakers; provide special outreach programs and seminars for winemakers to learn the latest principles and practices of wine production.
Business: address the wine industry’s unique business and marketing needs, and offer outreach programs and consultations to family vineyards and wineries including marketing strategies, tourism, governance, conflict resolution, communications, and succession.
We are currently undergoing a comprehensive planning process to develop The Institute’s first five year strategic plan. This plan will develop a set of measurable goals to allow the development and direction of The Institute to be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis.
Planning for the Institute has suggested the following as goals for the OWRI to pursue:
- Create a comprehensive viticulture and enology program
- Coordinate collaborative research and outreach between faculty in viticulture, enology, business, and other disciplines relevant to the wine industry
- Facilitate opportunities for industry partnering, technology transfer, and collaboration
- Serve as outreach pathway for transfer of critical knowledge to growers and winemakers through Extension and other services
- Operate under an entrepreneurial model, working with industry to determine problems, suggest possible research for funding, and report on progress and results
The Institute has established a research seminar series which is held during the fall, winter, and spring terms. Thus far, seminars have been held in Corvallis, but made available to anyone offsite via webinar software.
Every year we host a Viticulture and Enology Research Colloquium. Both the colloquium event and seminars have included presentations from OSU and USDA-ARS scientists and experts invited from around the world.