Over the years, Central Florida Ag News has had the privilege of sharing with our readers the successful stories of area wineries. I have to admit that before coming to Central Florida Media Group, I had no idea grapes were a crop that could thrive and prove profitable in Florida. Yet our state has an estimated 40 wineries, and our growers produce more than 1,500 acres of muscadine grapes. (That figure has jumped 74 percent in the past 10 years!)
UF/IFAS plays a role in so many various fields of research, and grape production is no different. UF/IFAS Assistant Professor Ali Sarkhosh is hard at work testing different varieties to see which fare well in our subtropical, hot, and humid climate. Since pests present a challenge in any crop, Sarkhosh is also determining which cultivars tolerate Pierce’s disease in our particularly humid climate.
If you want to learn more about his research, there’s an opportunity coming up that you won’t want to miss. UF/IFAS is hosting its fourth annual Grape Field Day on August 18 at the Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra. Sarkhosh will present his work and talk about the future of viticulture here in Florida. Plus, there also will be a brief demonstration of winemaking at the event.
The deadline to register is August 18. For more information and to register, go to: https://bit.ly/3bP8TLq.