UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Penn State University will receive nearly $623,000 between eight different grants for projects to increase the production of Pennsylvania-made malt and brewed beverages as well as grants for wine projects.
Governor Tom Wolf announced the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) approved the grants that will help increase the production and enhance the Pennsylvania beer industry through promotion, marketing, and research-based programs and projects, and to enhance the Pennsylvania wine industry and increase production of Pennsylvania-made wines.
“Pennsylvania industries have to adopt new ways of doing business in the COVID-19 world, and these grants will provide substantial funding to help two vital parts of our agricultural community not only explore ways of improving production methods, but also boost marketing efforts that reach beyond our borders,” said Gov. Wolf.
The following were approved by the PLCB by the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board:
$94,341 – Characterizing the Potential for High Sulfite Producing Yeast Strains to Improve Beer and Hop Thiol Aroma Stability: In an effort to explore effective ways to preserve beer quality after packaging and during storage, this project will use a new instrument to quantify thiols, experiment with various yeast strains and resultant sulfur dioxide amounts produced, investigate using yeast strains in conjunction with traditional brewing strains and further evaluate how high sulfur dioxide-producing yeast strains may maintain thiol character, prevent beers from spoilage, and minimize aroma and flavor declines over time.
$78, 603 –Hops Pelletization for Small Hop Growers in Pennsylvania: While Pennsylvania is one of the top craft beer producers in the country, its hops industry is just emerging. This project will study hop pelletization in a Pennsylvania hop yard to assess pelletization’s impact on hop quality, as well as evaluate costs associated with pelletization processes, in order to provide technical and economic information about on-farm hop pelletization to Pennsylvania growers.
Penn State University also received another $449,905 for the following grants for wine projects:
$108,161 – Assessment of Economic Decision Levels for Spotted Lanternfly in Vitis Vinifera: This project aims to study spotted lanternfly economic thresholds and impacts on cabernet franc, measuring how insect density and number of yearly infestations impact yield losses, plant decline, and vine death. This research will inform management of spotted lanternflies and usage of insect-suppressing techniques.
$88,747 – Exogenous Acetaldehyde as a Tool for Improving Pennsylvania Red Wine Color and Quality: This project aims to take a novel oxygenation technique demonstrated as effective in a previously completed PLCB-funded project, and move this concept to application and industry use, allowing wineries an additional tool to improve wine color and quality as an alternative to barrel aging without the sanitation risks and costs associated with barrels.
$79,310 – Assessing and Addressing Vineyard Herbicide Drift Challenges in PA: By studying herbicide use, drift, and damage on grapevines, this study aims to inform wine and grape industry stakeholders about the scale of herbicide drift issues in Pennsylvania so that neighboring vineyards, farms, and herbicide application industries like landscaping and rights-of-way may increase communication and support of Pennsylvania wineries.
$74,003 – Understanding Vine Declamation to Mitigate Spring Front Damage Across Pennsylvania: Frost damage in late winter and early spring can hamper grape production in Pennsylvania, but the effects of winter and spring temperature on budbreak timing are not well understood. This project will study and document how temperatures impact phonological development in order to help growers predict loss of cold hardiness and effectively implement frost protection strategies.
$57,192 – Economic Impact and Model Evaluation for Optimum Management of Grapevine Leafroll Associated Viruses in Pennsylvania: Previous funding from the Pennsylvania Wine Marketing and Research Board and the PLCB enabled Penn State researchers to reveal a significant presence of damaging grapevine leafroll associated viruses in the state. This grant project will complete data collection at four commercial vineyards to determine the economic and longevity impact of grapevine leafroll disease, determine the role weather may play in the expression of grapevine leafroll disease, and inform recommendations for cost-effective management strategies to strengthen Pennsylvania grape industry production.
$42,492 – Evaluation of a Novel Grid Shoot Positioning System’s Impacts on Canopy Management Efficiency, Crop Yield, and Fruit Composition: This project will explore a novel vertical and lateral shoot positioning apparatus for canopy management and shoot positioning to determine if it reduces labor costs and fruit-zone shading to improve fruit composition and decrease bunch rot. Improved canopy health and fruit quality, combined with reduced labor costs could improve economic sustainability for small vineyards and wineries.
Act 39 of 2016 created the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board within the department of Agriculture and authorized the PLCB to approve up to $1 million annually for development and marketing of the Pennsylvania beer industry. The Pennsylvania Fiscal Code also allows for unallocated beer grant funds to be made available in subsequent years. Since the first beer grants were approved in 2017, the PLCB has awarded $3.9 million in grants to support the Pennsylvania beer industry (not including this round).
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