Viticulture Research & Technical Issues
California table grape farmers have long sought innovative ways to grow a healthy product in a fruitful and efficient manner. Impelled by the ever-changing, complex and highly competitive nature of California table grape production, industry has worked to develop new varieties to meet changing consumer tastes, advanced farm productivity and efficiency, assisted in gaining foreign market access through developing postharvest phytosanitary treatments, and refined environmentally-sound growing techniques. Some of the recent studies focus on refining commercial grape-growing practices in an effort to reduce/optimize pesticide use, conserve water, and improve grape quality and vineyard productivity.
The California table grape industry has funded viticulture research since 1972. Projects range from the development of new varieties... development of best cultural practices... to the evaluation of pest management processes... to the evaluation of new water conservation methods... and cover many research categories in between.
The commission has been providing assistance to the industry on technical issues such as the analysis of international shipping protocols and pesticide residue tolerances, commonly referred to as maximum residue levels or MRLs, such as Codex or exporting country MRLs. The primary purpose of the commission’s work on worldwide MRLs is to monitor and influence actions of individual countries and Codex, the international body established to implement a food standards program, as they relate to the setting of MRLs and relevant sanctions policies for table grapes. This is done through evaluating proposed MRLs, comparing them to U.S. and Codex standards and then proactively working to eliminate discrepancies between U.S., international and Codex levels. Efforts also extend to improve existing and proposed sanctions policies that are not the least trade restrictive. The Codex effort is completed for two primary reasons. First, many countries defer wholly or in part to Codex MRLs if they do not have their own MRLs established. Secondly, Codex standards provide benchmarks for countries that set their own standards.