Wine symposium at SCC offers variety of speakers

DOBSON — The fourth annual Southeastern United Grape and Wine Symposium hosted by Surry Community College Nov. 5 at the Shelton-Badgett North Carolina Center for Viticulture & Enology on the college’s Dobson campus will include leading educators in viticulture and enology from such colleges as University of Georgia, the University of Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Appalachian State University. The symposium’s focus this year is “Brand Building in the Southeast.”

Michael A. Moore, chief marketing officer for Lowes Foods, will be the keynote speaker and will lead a presentation titled, “Rebranding – Crayons or Connections?” He will speak on how today’s fast paced, consumer driven markets constantly challenge marketers to maintain a strong brand image. Market shifts are so strong at times that they require winemakers to go down the one-way street of rebranding. Some brands have done so with tremendous success, but others have faced large barriers and have failed to do so effectively. The discussion will focus on the importance of rebranding through a retailer’s lens, informed from deep customer insights and connecting those insights into a whole new brand experience.

In addition to Moore, the program will include renowned speaker Dr. Markus Keller, Chateau Ste. Michelle Distinguished Professor of Viticulture at Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser. Keller wrote the textbook on “The Science of the Grapevines – Anatomy and Physiology” and will discuss the optimization of grape ripening in the vineyard during the symposium. Keller will provide insight on berry maturation, and suggested vineyard management techniques to improve ripening.

Dr. David Lockwood, an extension specialist specializing in tree fruits, nuts and wine for the University of Tennesee and the University of Georgia, will speak on grape root borer control and management techniques for Southeastern vineyards. The grape root borer (GRB), Vitacea polistiformis, is the most damaging insect pest of grapes in Tennessee, and potentially the Southeast as a whole. Damage usually appears slowly; and because the pest attacks the plant below ground, symptoms are not always associated with a pest infestation. Chemical control is difficult. This topic will provide information to help you identify a GRB problem and protect your grapes against damage.

Dr. Seth Cohen, assistant professor and the director of the Fermentation Sciences program at Appalachian State University, focuses his work on wine and grape quality. He will speak about major wine faults in the Southeast with tasting. He will take participants through the major faults that are encountered in the Southeast and how to rectify them.

Enartis Vinquiry winemaker Eglantine Chauffour will explain the best uses for oak alternatives in winemaking during a presentation titled, “Oak Alternatives.” Chauffour holds a double master degree in Viticulture-Oenology and Agronomic engineering from Montpellier SupAgro, France.

Dr. Phil Brannen, professor in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Georgia and Extension Fruit Pathologist for Georgia, will give a lecture entitled “Electrostatic Spraying: where does it fit in southeastern wine grape production.” Many environmental impacts are lessened with electrostatic spraying technology, including chemical drift, the amount of chemicals and water applied, noise, soil compaction and fuel savings. Electrostatic uses an “air-assisted” nozzle, whereby the solution (chemical and water) is combined in a “shearing” action, which atomizes the particles down to 30 to 50 microns. Then, just before the mist exits the nozzle, it is exposed to a negative charge. The electrically-charged particles are automatically attracted to the “grounded” vine. This topic will explore this concept in detail, and present the benefits of utilizing ESS technology in vineyard management.

Wes Ward of Nomacorc LLC will work with attendees on understanding cork alternatives and the oxygen management surrounding them. Ward is the technical sales manager for the Americas and South Africa at Nomacorc.

Don Wright of Wright Global Graphics Solutions will take you through the best, the mediocre, and the worst examples of re-branding in his experience. Don will include tips for shelf appeal and how to capture the heart and personality of the brand.

Dr. Mizuho Nita, assistant professor of Plant Pathology at Virginia Tech, will present “Cultivar selection and fungicide application scheme based on organic and reduced input trials.” Cultivar selection is arguably the single most important decision made in the vineyard beyond site selection. Choosing the appropriate cultivar for your vineyard will ultimately affect fruit quality, yield, and pest and disease pressures. This topic will review both cultivar selection and fungicide application based on both organic and reduced input field trials.

Attendees also will discuss nutrient management with lead Enartis Vinquiry winemaker, Eglantine Chauffour, in another session.

As a part of the symposium, the Grand Wine Tasting on Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. will highlight wines of the Southeast complemented by heavy hors d’oeuvres. The Grand Wine Tasting is open to the public for a non-conference rate of $25. The entire conference registration is $100 and includes the Grand Wine Tasting. Participants can register for the entire symposium or the Grand Wine Tasting at

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