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Grape Growers Honor Reith-Rozelle as Industry Person of the Year
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/26/2014

The assistant superintendent of the University of Wisconsin's West Madison Agricultural Research Station has been named Industry Personal of the Year by the Wisconsin Grape Growers Association. Judith Reith-Rozelle was honored for her research in cold-hardy grapes, which has been a major benefit to state growers and wineries in recent years.

Reith-Rozelle submitted a grant application for funding of seedless table grape field trials to the state's Value-Added Grant Program. By the spring 2007, the grant proposal had won approval and work began with the construction of the research station's first vineyard. The planting of 15 cultivars of seedless table grapes followed.

Twelve varieties survived that first winter and have flourished for five years, establishing the viability of production of winter-hardy seedless table grapes in Wisconsin. The initial grant and trial, helped prompt grape growers and winery owners in 2008 to approach the university for research into cold-hardy wine grapes.

Since the onset of these wine grape field trials many of these initial wine grape cultivars have overwintered well and several can be found growing in vineyards across the state. Wineries have already begun to ferment fruit and produce wine from two varieties in particular, Marquette and Brianna.

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