COLUMBUS, Ohio - Grape growers, wine producers and anyone interested in learning more about the wine industry will have several opportunities to learn from local and national professionals during the 2013 Ohio Grape and Wine Conference.
The conference, held Feb. 18-19 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Dublin, is anticipated to attract some 250 participants throughout the region, said Imed Dami, a state viticulture (grape growing) specialist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension.
The conference is offered jointly by Ohio State's Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, OSU Extension, OARDC, the Ohio Grape Industries Committee and the Ohio Wine Producers Association. OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
The conference will offer sessions that focus on viticulture and enology with themes focused on vineyard innovations, fruit wine and specialty production among other topics, and is designed to help growers and winemakers, as well as to boost Ohio's wine industry, Dami said.
"Attendees will get a regional perspective on various practices, production techniques and insight into the grape and wine industry," he said. "We'll also provide research updates and educational programs that are beneficial for either new or existing producers.
"The conference will also provide an excellent opportunity for networking for grape growers and wine producers, as well as feature a trade show."
The conference comes as the Ohio grape and wine production industry continues to grow. It now ranks among the top 10 in the U.S. for grape acreage, grape and wine production, and number of wineries.
The Ohio grape and wine industry employs 4,100 people and attracts 1.7 million visitors every year with an estimated economic impact of more than $500 million annually, Dami said. He notes that grape production has become the fastest-growing sector in Ohio agriculture with a current growth rate of about 10 percent per year.
"This growing interest is driven by the high value of wine grapes as an alternative and profitable cash crop in Ohio; its adaptability to the already existing lands that are otherwise unsuitable for row crop production; and grape shortage and upward demand for locally grown grapes," he said.
Workshop topics will include: Developing an Effective Disease Management Program for Grapes; Vineyard Weed Management; Pesticide Safety; Vineyard Fertility Management; Grape Disease Control; Grape Root Borer Research Project; and Evaluation of Wine Grape Varieties New to Ohio, among others.
Registration for the full conference is $200 if received by Jan. 30 and $225 after that date. For more information on the conference or for registration information, contact Christy Eckstein 614-728-6438 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.