Cornell Secures $70M Grape Improvement Center in Genevav

Synopsis: Cornell University, with substantial federal funding secured by US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is set to establish the National Grape Improvement Center at its Geneva campus. This state-of-the-art facility aims to revolutionize America's viticulture industry, enhancing research capabilities in grape genetics, climate resilience, and crop management.
Monday, July 1, 2024
Source : ContentFactory

Cornell University, in partnership with the USDA, has secured nearly $70 million to establish the National Grape Improvement Center at its AgriTech campus in Geneva, Finger Lakes. The initiative, spearheaded by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, aims to bolster America’s viticulture industry by advancing grape genetics research and enhancing crop resilience in the face of climate change. The new facility, spanning over 70,000 square feet, will house the USDA’s Grape Genetics Research Unit and the Plant Genetic Resources Unit. These units will collaborate with Cornell's research projects focused on grapevine innovation.

The center's strategic location in the Finger Lakes, renowned for its wine production, underscores its role as a hub for pioneering research in viticulture. It will facilitate groundbreaking studies to combat invasive species, pests, and climate-related challenges such as drought and salinity. Cutting-edge technologies including robotics, remote sensing, and artificial intelligence will be deployed to optimize grape cultivation practices and improve crop yields across the nation.

The economic impact of New York's wine industry, generating billions in revenue and supporting tens of thousands of jobs, highlights the significance of this investment. The new center is poised to drive further economic growth by fostering innovation and supporting the development of new grape varieties suited to diverse climates.

Senator Schumer emphasized the center's role in solidifying the Finger Lakes as a global leader in wine production and innovation. Collaborative efforts between federal scientists and Cornell researchers are expected to accelerate discoveries in viticulture, benefiting growers nationwide.

In parallel, Schumer secured an additional federal grant for "Tech Farm 2," an expansion project adjacent to the Grape Improvement Center. This initiative aims to boost job creation and support emerging food business ventures, reinforcing the economic ecosystem around Cornell’s AgriTech campus.

Industry leaders such as Jim Trezise of WineAmerica and Scott Osborn of Fox Run Vineyards have praised Schumer's commitment to advancing grape research, emphasizing its pivotal role in enhancing grape quality and industry competitiveness.

Sam Filler, Executive Director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, highlighted the urgency of adapting to climate challenges and applauded Cornell’s proactive approach in grape breeding. The establishment of the Grape Improvement Center underscores New York’s leadership in developing climate-resilient grape varieties essential for sustainable viticulture in a changing climate.

The new Grape Improvement Center promises to elevate America’s grape and wine industry to new heights, ensuring continued innovation and sustainability in viticulture for years to come.