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CLEREL Ribbon Cutting

New Cornell lab focuseRibbon Cuttings on grape, wine, and juice research

Cornell deepened its century-long commitment to Western New York’s wine, grape, and juice industries with a ribbon-cutting ceremony August 25 to inaugurate the new Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory (CLEREL) in Portland, N.Y.

Since 1909, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has maintained a research laboratory in nearby Fredonia. With the opening of the state-funded, $5.4 million Portland facility, CALS sustains a rich history of viticulture advancements in such areas as vineyard management and production systems, grape breeding, pest control, and mechanical harvesting.

More than 50 acres of prime-grape growing land surround the new lab. The facility also includes state-of-the-art equipment for lab and field tests, and classrooms and meeting space for research and extension staff from Cornell and Pennsylvania State University, visiting scientists, and growers.

Leading the ceremony were New York State Sen. Catharine Young (R-Olean); New York Assemblyman William Parment (D-Jamestown); Susan A. Henry, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Tom Burr, director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.

“The Portland laboratory serves as a regional hub for research and extension, as well as a resource for growers, producers, and visiting scientists from New York and beyond,” said Henry.  “It is truly rewarding to uphold our commitment to supporting the state’s grape, wine, and juice industries, which are vitally important to the New York economy and the Lake Erie region in particular.”

According to figures from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM), the state wine and grape industry makes a $6 billion annual economic impact and includes more than 1,400 vineyards statewide. At the Portland lab, Cornell researchers will continue studies to increase yields, improve quality, and lower production costs of grapes grown in the Lake Erie escarpment, especially the well-known Concord and Niagara varieties.

Jackie Moody-Czub, NYSDAM deputy commissioner, presented Terry Bates, CLEREL director, with the Agricultural Environmental Management Award. It recognizes measures to conserve open space and water quality in the design, construction, and operation of the building.

– Ted Boscia is a staff writer in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
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