By Amanda Garris
Cornell grape breeder Bruce Reisch pollinates grape flowers in the vineyard at New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

Cornell grape breeder Bruce Reisch pollinates grape flowers in the vineyard at New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

Got Concord in the refrigerator, Pinot in the wine rack, or Thompson Seedless in the fruit bowl? These familiar grape varieties will be making room for the next generation of improved grapes, with a boost from two grants totaling $4.5 million.

The projects, one led by Cornell grape breeder Bruce Reisch, professor of horticulture, and the other by senior extension associate Tim Martinson, take complementary approaches to a common problem: how to make grape breeding more efficient, since new grape varieties can take more than 20 years to breed and evaluate and much longer to reach commercial success. The projects are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI).

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