Good Fruit Grower

January 2016

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Page 18 of 39 GOOD FRUIT GROWER JANUARY 1, 2016 19 Grape industry honors members T he Washington State Grape Society recog- nized industry contribution of several mem- bers during its annual meeting in Grandview, Washington, in November. Jack Maljaars of Vine Tech Equipment received the 2015 Walter Clore Award for his ser- vice to the industry. Maljaars grew up on a dairy farm with seven brothers. He started Vine Tech in the garage of his house with just a service truck in 2002. The company has since grown to 20 employees and provides vital equipment and services to grape growers in the region. "It's about relationships," Maljaars said. "That's how our business is built. I would give the honor to all those people, rather than myself." The Grape Society honored the late Mike Miller and fam- ily with its Lloyd H. Porter Grower of the Year Award. Miller grew up in the Yakima Valley — his grandfather helped to bring irrigation water to the area and his father was one of the first to plant wine grapes in 1968. Miller earned an agronomy degree at Washington State University in 1974 before return- ing to the family farm, which today is entirely wine and juice grapes. Miller founded Airfield Estates winery in 2007 and opened a tasting room that same year in Prosser. A second tasting room was opened in 2010 in Woodinville. Miller died in October 2014 at age 67. His wife, Kristeen, and children are carrying on the family business. His son, Marcus, is wine- maker at Airfield Estates and his daughter, Lori Stevens, is marketing director. Inland Desert Nursery received the Distinguished Exhibitor Award. For more than 40 years, the nursery has provided clean, healthy plants to vineyards across the country, though roughly 80 percent of its business is with Washington growers. Inland Desert sources virus-tested, disease-free stock from the Clean Plant Center of the Northwest and works with growers on the selection of varieties, clones and rootstock to help build profitable, sustainable vineyards. Inland Desert founder Tom Judkins Jr. first propagated grape cuttings in his high school Future Farmers of America class in Prosser. With the help of Clore, he established the first certified wine grape mother-blocks in Washington. The nursery provided roughly 4 million plants in 2015. His son, Kevin Judkins, accepted the award on behalf of the nursery. Eric Gale, a master's degree candidate at Washington State University, received the Grape Society's Memorial Fund Scholarship of $1,000. Gale began his graduate work in horticulture at WSU in 2013. He is working with Dr. Michelle Moyer on a research project involving cold hardiness of grapevine roots. —Shannon Dininny PHOTO COURTESY MADI CLARK Jack Maljaars after receiving the Walter Clore Award with wife, Denise, and children, Calvin and Ellie. Mike Miller Eric Gale ripening also meant growers were able to get fruit off the vines before any freeze event. "Any time we have a hot vintage, we consider that one of the good vintages," Smithyman said. "Reds really do ben- efit more from the heat, though I've heard good things about some whites. Generally, it means a smaller berry size, a little bit less crop sometimes, but we saw more concentration of the fruit and great phenolics." Prices The Washington State Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture will post prices in February, but the trend of rising prices is likely to continue, Ball said. U.S. off-premise wine sales topped the previous year in 2015. Like other retail industries, the biggest sales occur during holiday seasons in November and December and again in the spring for Easter. Sauvignon Blanc and red blends showed the largest sales growth rate in 2015, followed by sparkling wine, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Nationally, Merlot and Syrah showed a decrease in sales, but Washington Merlot and Syrah showed positive sales growth, Ball said. That Cabernet remains a hot variety is still good news for Washington, especially when the price point is taken into consid- eration, he said. "Our bread and butter is the higher price points, and those are all growing." • Announcing the second annual . . . Winter AG Academy Series !! Pre-Registration is Required Choose from the from the following three event dates/venues: • January 20th, 2016 @ the Yakima Convention Center • February 4th, 2016 @ the Three Rivers Convention Center • February 9th , 2016 @ the Wenatchee Convention Center Contact Maegen at G.S. Long Company for more information and to register: (800) 338-5664 or Choose from one of three all day professional training opportunities in one quality event Choose from one Choose from one of three all day of three all day professional training professional training of three all day professional training of three all day of three all day professional training of three all day professional training opportunities opportunities opportunities opportunities in one quality event in one quality event in one quality event Choose from one of three all day professional training opportunities in one quality event Choose from one of three all day professional training opportunities in one quality event Workers - Training to the Worker Protection Standard (Spanish) Learn about important changes to the Federal Worker Protection Standard. If you have employees working directly with or even just around pesticides who are not licensed as Private Applicators, this workshop is an excellent opportunity for you to provide them with Accredited and Documented Training. All Hands On Training is given directly by experienced WSDA and L&I trainers and all participants will receive a WSDA Handler Card upon course completion – no testing required. Six WSDA Pesticide recerti cation credits will be available for licensed participants. Crew Leaders - Leadership Skills (Spanish) Focusing on personal development and peer interactions, this course will teach and reinforce the leadership qualities that cultivate a healthy workplace. Topics will include dealing with workplace harassment, general con ict resolution, and promoting common goals within your organization. Owner/HR – Labor Law (English) This course o ers important legal information speci c to managing your most important asset - labor. Discussion will focus on current and upcoming Labor Issues , including Piece Rate Pay/Breaks, Government Surveys, Workplace Harassment, Information on Labor Contractors, and much more.

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