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NYS grape crop to benefit from new $69 research lab

Chi Le

A new, $69 million state-of-the-art lab will be built at Cornell University, where researchers will study the genetics of grapes.

Sen. Chuck Schumer says the funding supporting the project comes through a federal agriculture appropriations package. The facility will be located at the Cornell AgriTech campus in Geneva, where researchers are currently working out of leased space.

Sam Filler, executive director of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, said the investment in the new lab will ensure that New York stays on the cutting edge of grape research and continues the tradition started by Cornell in 1906.

Credit Greg Cotterill / Finger Lakes Public Radio
Finger Lakes Public Radio

"Our climate is different from California or southern Italy," Filler explained. "We are a little bit of a wetter, more humid climate and we have different types of pests and diseases that affect grapes, so the breeding program is really important at identifying grape varieties that grow well in New York and are resistant to the types of bugs and diseases that can afflict grapes here in New York."

Schumer said New York's grape crop generates $4.8 billion in economic benefits for the state each year. The foundation says there are more than 1,600 grape growers in New York, accounting for 37,000 acres.

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