Grape Research


Grape research on Long Island is conducted by personnel employed by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. The program is based at the Cornell University Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center in Riverhead. Most of our work is done in the field rather than in the lab. Our goals are to address practical vineyard management concerns, often ones that are specific to Long Island. We work in conjunction with faculty and other specialists at Cornell University and the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva as well as with regional colleagues in the eastern US. Many growing regions along the eastern coast face similar challenges to those faced on Long Island. Growers play the most important role both in an advisory capacity and in our day to day contacts ensuring that our research is relevant to the industry that we serve.

Brief summaries of the previous season's work can be found on the LIHREC website:

More detailed reports can be found in the following papers.


Strategies for Control of Sour Rot in Vinifera Winegrapes 2013

Innovative Under Vine Management Strategies 2013

Evaluation of Winegrape Cultivars and Clones 2013

Early Leaf Removal Trials 2013

Grape Commodity Insect Survey 2013

Alternative Pest Management in Chardonnay 2012 Final Report
Evaluation of Winegrape Cultivars and Clones 2012
Innovative Under Vine Management Strategies 2012
Alternative Pest Management in Chardonnay 2011
Alternative Weed Management in Merlot 2011
Evaluation of Winegrape Cultivars and Clones 2011
Alternative Pest and Weed Management 2010
Evaluation of Winegrape Cultivars and Clones 2010
Alternative Pest and Weed Management 2009
Evaluation of Winegrape Cultivars and Clones 2009


Since the first vines were planted in 1993, 36 winegrape varieties have been evaluated in the research vineyard at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center. The trial initially focused on the exploration of selections of the three most commercially important varieties, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Small quantities of other white and red varieties were planted in demonstration plots, an early and perhaps inadvertant acknowledgement of the importance of varietal diversity.

For both components of the trial we offer extensive field data including yield and quality assessments. Most of the selections were processed into wine, providing the industry with the opportunity for sensory evaluation. This provided a compelling complement to the yield data, enabling a sense of wine quality and style. Varieties from this trial that are now planted in the industry include the Dijon Chardonnays, Dornfelder, Muscat Ottonel, Lemberger, Malvasia Bianca and Barbera. We continue with vineyard renovation annually, removing varieties with mediocre to poor vineyard performance or of little interest to industry members. Dolcetto, Grenache, Gamay, Primitivo and Muscat Blanc are examples. In 2008 we planted varieties that are purportedly adapted to cool climate winegrowing. Most of these are earlier ripening, a potential advantage in a region with sometimes erratic fall weather. The newer varieties include Albariño and Zweigelt. In 2009, Grüner Veltliner, Auxerrois and Petit Manseng were planted. In 2011, we planted Verdejo, our second Spanish white. We have also begun exploration of disease resistant hybrids such as Marquette and a numbered selection from the NYSAES grape breeding program. With input from the advisory group and industry, we will continue to refine selections in the vineyard to reflect the evolution in wine styles in the industry. The following data reflects our research results from 2005 to 2012. (March, 2012)

Performance of Grape Selections 2012

Performance of Grape Selections 2011
Performance of Grape Selections 2010
Performance of Grape Selections 2009
Performance of Grape Selections 2008
Performance of Grape Selections 2007
Performance of Grape Selections 2006
Performance of Grape Selections 2005