NVEELC – 2015

National Viticulture and Enology Extension Leadership Conference

Lodi, CA

March 24-26, 2015


“As agriculture is highly knowledge intensive and institutionally determined, what is the effectiveness of different novel extension strategies and how best can they be set up to facilitate institutional change and technical innovation with the aim of ensuring that the widest number of farmers are reached and engaged?”

– Pretty et al, “The top 100 questions of importance to the future of global agriculture



CaptureThe National Viticulture and Enology Extension Leadership Conference (NVEELC) is a professional development gathering of wine, table, and raisin grape extensionists working within and outside of Cooperative Extension. The 2015 conference will be hosted by the Lodi Winegrape Commission (LWC) and the National Grape and Wine Initiative (NGWI), and will be held in Lodi, California.

This year’s focus will be on extension strategies. We typically hone our attention on the science or information to be extended. Seldom do we give attention to the methods for delivering knowledge, the strategies we build outreach our programs around, the “tools” or “platforms” we use to disseminate information, or the theories that underpin our work. The goal of this year’s NVEELC is to provide new insight on how to fund, design, deliver, and evaluate extension programs.

At this years meeting we will hear about several NGWI supported research on topics ranging from drought adaptation to trunk disease management to grapevine genomics. We will enjoy a day-long tour of different vineyards and wineries that represent the natural and economic diversity of Lodi. Finally, we will learn about nine different grower outreach programs that are advancing the leading edge of creative and innovative extension. We hope all conference attendees will take home some good ideas for sharpening their own extension programs.




  • Full conference tickets (3 days):
    • $200.00
    • Click HERE to register
    • Password: NVEELC2015FULL
  • Single day tickets:
    • $75.00 (To register for two days, purchase two single day tickets.)
    • Click HERE to register
    • Password: NVEELC2015DAY

State/Region Reports

One function of NVEELC is to help participants stay apprised of industry happenings in other regions and states. Complete your state/region report prior to arriving in Lodi. Click HERE to submit your report.


Airport options

  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF) – 48 miles, 50 minute drive. (This is the recommended airport.)
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC) – 88 miles, 1 hour 40 minute drive
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) – 105 miles, 1 hour 40 minute drive

To and from SMF
We recommend you schedule your ground transportation prior to arriving in Sacramento with SuperShuttle. The basic rate for round trip transportation from SMF to Hampton Inn & Suites is about $70 per person, and about $11 per each additional passenger. Consider coordinating your pick up times with colleagues.

Hotel Accommodations

The conference will be held at the Hampton Inn & Suites, in Lodi, CA. Mention the conference name to receive the reduced rate of $119.00 per night.

Hampton Inn & Suites
(209) 369-2700
1337 Beckman Rd.
Lodi, CA 95240

About Lodi and the LWC

CaptureLodi is one of California’s historic winegrowing regions. You can read more about the history and evolution of Lodi winegrowing HERE and HERE). The regions’ estimated 750 winegrowers farm about 75 different commercial varieties of winegrapes planted across 110,000 acres. In 2013, the region produced 19% of California’s total crush. Lodi is known for its Old Vine Zinfandel. The regions’ top red variety is Zinfandel, of which 180,000 tons were crushed in 2013. Cabernet Sauvignion, Merlot, Petit Sirah, Pinot Noir, and Syrah comprise the remaining top red varieties. Chardonney is Lodi’s most widely planted white variety with 150,000 tons crushed in 2013.

The Lodi Winegrape Commission (LWC) was established in 1991 to serve the common interests of all Lodi (Crush District 11) winegrape growers and to enhance the profitability of winegrape production through promotion, research, and education (Klonsky et al. 1998). The LWC has made significant strides in growing public appreciation for Lodi wines. The LoCA consumer marketing campaign was launched in 2011 and uses print and digital platforms to brand Lodi as an authentic and approachable wine tourism destination. Take a look at the LoCA Thoughts video series, which takes a fun and personable approach to wine education.

CaptureThe LWC partners with university scientists, Cooperative Extension, and industry allies to offer growers opportunities for learning about vineyard management. A number of studies have captured the LWC’s success with supporting grower adoption of Best Management Practices (Dlott et al. 2005, Hoffman et al. 2011, Hillis et al. 2011, Warner 2005). Sustainable farming has been a focus of the LWC over the past decade (Ohmart 2008), and in 2005 Lodi growers launched the nation’s first sustainable winegrowing certification program: The Lodi Rules. Today, over 30,000 acres are certified sustainable in the program and about 20 wineries make wines from certified grapes.

Photos from the 2015 conference

2015 Schedule

Monday, March 23: Arrival

  • Arrival and check into Hampton Inn & Suites
  • 5:00 -7:00 pm: Welcome reception at Hampton Inn & Suites

Tuesday, March 24: Conference Opener

  • 8:00 am: Continental breakfast served at Hampton Inn & Suites
  • 9:00 am: Welcome address by Matthew Hoffman, Lodi Winegrape Commission
  • 9:30 am: NGWI research report outs
    • Scalable Solutions to Reduce Water Use and Salinity in Wineries. Dr. Gour Choudhury
    • New Detection, Research, and Extension Tools for Managing Wood-canker Diseases. Dr. Kendra Baumgartner
    • Northern Grapes: Integrating viticulture, winemaking and marketing of new cold hardy cultivars. Dr. Tim Martinson (tentative)
    • Accelerating Grape Cultivar Improvement via Phenotyping Centers and Next Generation Markers. Hans Walter-Peterson
    • Improved Grape and Wine Quality in a Challenging Environment. Dr. Tremain Hatch (tentative)
    • Developing Sustainable Vineyard Water Management Strategies for Limited and Impaired Water Supplies. Dr. Jim Ayars, Dr. Andrew McElrone (tentative)
  • 12:00 pm: Lunch provided
  • 1:30 pm: State and regional reports (Complete the report prior to the meeting by clicking HERE.)
  • 5:00 pm: Dinner on own in down town Lodi. We will take a chartered bus to historic down town Lodi, where you will have our choice from several local restaurants within walking distance.
  • 8:00 pm: Board bus and return to Hampton Inn & Suites

Wednesday, March 25: Lodi Tour

  • 7:00 am: Continental breakfast served at Hampton Inn & Suites
  • 7:30 am: Bus departs promptly
  • 8:00 am: Tour of Trinchero Family Estates’ new Lodi winery and distribution facility.
  • 10:00 am: Vineyard visit in the Sacramento Bay Delta area of Lodi, hosted by Vino Farms, which manages several thousand acres of winegrapes across California.
  • 12:00 pm: Lunch and winery visit at Heritage Oak Winery, a small-scale operation focusing on direct-to-consumer marketing and agritourism.
  • 3:00 pm: Vineyard visit on the eastern side of Lodi, hosted by Nestor Enterprises who farms winegrapes across Lodi.
  • 5:00 pm: Winery visit and dinner at LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyard, which is known for their sustainability branding and winery design.
  • 9:00 pm: Board bus and return to Hampton Inn & Suites

Thursday, March 26: Innovations in Extension Symposium

  • 8:00 am: Continental breakfast served at Hampton Inn & Suites
  • 9:00 am: Introductory remarks on innovation in extension by Matthew Hoffman (LWC) and Jean-Marie Peltier (NGWI)
  • 9:30 an: Innovation in extension morning session
    • Chris Greer, UC Cooperative Extension
    • Rick Stark, Sun-Maid Raisins
    • Franz Niederholser, UC Cooperative Extension
    • Kendra Baumgartner, USDA/ARS
    • Matthew Fidelibus, UC Cooperative Extension
    • Laura Breyl, Sonoma Winegrape Commission
  • 12:00 pm: Lunch provided
  • 1:00 pm: Innovation in extension afternoon session
    • Matthew Hoffman, Lodi Winegrape Commission
    • Ryan Murphy, Agricultural Sustainability Institute
    • Mark Lubell, UC Davis
    • Neil McRoberts, UC Davis
    • Bob Curtis, Almand Board
  • 3:00 pm: Reflection discussion – what have we learned and what will we do now?
  • 5:00 pm: Board chartered bus for dinner at Woodbridge Crossing, in Woodbridge, CA.
  • 9:00 pm: Board bus and return to Hampton Inn & Suites

Friday, March 27: Departure

  • 8:00 am: Continental breakfast served at Hampton Inn & Suites