Congratulations to Rhonda Smith on her retirement! The “Heroine of the Vineyards” emerged as Sonoma County's resident expert on all things wine grape during her nearly 34 years as the viticulture advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension. NCPN was fortunate to have Rhonda serve as a member since the inception of NCPN-Grapes. An article featuring Rhonda and her career is in this month's American Vineyard Magazine
Grapevine ‘Variety Focus' lectures are now available on Foundation Plant Service's website at
These lectures, from 2005-2011, were given by a talented group of guest speakers including UC Davis faculty, UC farm advisors, experienced California growers and winemakers as well as guest speakers from the focus variety country of origin.
- Wine quality is affected by a very common disease, leafroll disease, which reduces sugar content and color of grapes and increases acidity. Leafroll disease is caused by one or more viruses in the grapevine leafroll virus species.
- Archived leaf tissue in the UC Davis Herbarium from the 1940s was found to be infected with the newly discovered (2012) Grapevine red blotch virus indicating that it has been around at least since then.
- Every year, over 100 grapevine selections are treated for virus elimination in NCPN-associated labs.
- NCPN-Grapes has the largest Tier 2 Committee – 21 members from industry, extension/research and state regulatory agencies representing the eastern and western US.
- NCPN-Grapes centers distribute more than 700,000 clean grape cuttings, buds, and plants to industry.
“The National Clean Plant Network is a valuable resource for our wine industry of Washington and other areas of the PNW and the nation. Virus-clean grapevine material from the Clean Plant Center Northwest (CPCNW) has given the Washington wine industry a future and direction in battling the most significant disease (Grapevine leafroll) facing the industry. This is important to me and many others for the long-term sustainability of our farming operations. We farm over 1300 acres of wine grapes and 250 acres of Concords and we cannot afford to overlook the significance of clean, virus-free planting material.
It is without any reservation that I support the NCPN and CPCNW because I know firsthand that the long-term sustainability of the wine grape industry depends on the availability of clean, virus-free grape plants.
In 2009 our farm removed 13 acres of Chardonnay (purchased from a reputable nursery) that we thought were certified and virus free. The Chardonnay vines were planted in 2006 and the planting/training costs of the first 3 years were just beginning to be recovered when we determined the vines were not clean but diseased with 2 viruses. On top of this, we had just propagated 10,000 vines from this same block the previous year, not knowing the vines were infected. We lost two-fold: existing vineyard and future planting. Since 2009 we have replaced 115 acres (11 blocks) of grapevine leafroll-infected vines that were low yielding and poor quality. This firsthand experience makes me a firm believer in the CPCNW—it is paramount to the future of our industry.”
Chris Bowland, grape grower and vineyard manager, Sonoma County, California
"I've had to replant a number of young vineyards due to unclean plant material. It's heartbreaking. Starting with known, clean material, is fundamental in maintaining the longevity of a vineyard.”
Kevin C. Judkins, Owner/Operator, Inland Desert Nursery, Benton City Washington
“Inland Desert Nursery is the largest grapevine nursery in the Pacific Northwest, delivering annually 2 million plus field-grown and green-potted vines to customers across North America. The National Clean Plant Network is critical to the future of our business. Having the support of the Clean Plant Center Northwest in Prosser WA and Foundation Plant Services in Davis CA is essential to our mission of providing clean vines to our clients.”
Dennis Rak, Double A Vineyards, New York
“Double A Vineyards is one of the largest grapevine nurseries in the East, with sales of over 100 varieties. The National Clean Plant Network is important to Double A Vineyards' future business success. Double A Vineyards is currently doubling their increase vineyards from 40 acres to 80 to supply the growing demand for grapes for planting east of the Rockies. NCPN will provide us a clean source of plant material for future plantings and will benefit the entire grape industry. This is not something we could do ourselves and the program is a great example of the industry working together for the benefit of all.”