Published on 01/29/20

UGA viticulturist, plant pathologist to present at Wine Producers Conference Feb. 3-4

By Sharon Dowdy

The annual Georgia Wine Producers Conference will be held Feb. 3-4 at Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia. 

Fritz Westover of Westover Viticulture and Virtual Viticulture Academy will serve as keynote speaker for the conference. Westover will speak on “A new era for grape growing in Georgia: Learning from the past and adapting to new practices for the future.”

Researchers from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Texas A&M University and Virginia Technical Institute will be among the conference speakers.

UGA plant pathologist Phil Brannen will provide a disease update focused on powdery and downy mildew.

UGA viticulturist Cain Hickey will give a presentation on the effects of delayed pruning on Lomanto and Chardonnay.

Wine producers will learn how to optimize the quality and production of Blan Du Bois from Texas A&M Extension Viticulture Specialist Justin Scheiner. He will also discuss his research and experience on Blanc Du Bois rootstocks and nutrition, salinity, viruses and ripening.

Virginia Tech Enology Extension Specialist Beth Chang will give a presentation on the basics about acids and their effects on wine production. She will discuss the difference between pH and TA, the relationship of pH to TA, their respective influence on flavor, the types of grape acids that contribute to pH and TA, and the effects of changing pH and TA to the final wine product’s stability and quality.

Renee Moss, co-owner of Farmer’s Daughter Vineyard in Thomasville, Georgia, will share creative ways to spread the word about vineyards or tasting rooms. Vineyard managers will also hear Moss’ creative tips on how to work with the community, customers and the media to spread the word.

The conference will also include viticulture, customer service and enology discussion panels. Sessions will also be held on alcohol liability and special events permits.

Registration to the conference also includes admission to the Taste of Georgia event on Feb. 3 from 6-9 p.m. Participants will enjoy samples from 10 Georgia wineries and 10 Georgia eateries. 

Participating wineries include: Big Door Vineyards; Chateau Elan Winery; Crane Creek Vineyards; Farmer's Daughter Tasting Room, Vineyards and Winery; Habersham Winery; Kaya Vineyards and Winery; Paulk Vineyards; Stonewall Creek Vineyards; Sweet Acre Farms Winery and Yonah Mountain Vineyards.

The cost of the conference is $160 for Georgia Wine Producers members, $175 for nonmembers and $40 for Extension agents. For more details or to register, visit

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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