Center for Viticultural Sciences
The mission of the Center for Viticultural Sciences and Small Fruit Research is to conduct research and provide service and support that will help the viticulture industry in Florida to become a viable industry (Florida Viticulture Policy Act, 1978).
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The Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research (Center) was established by the Florida Legislature in 1978 as a result of a special resolution that identified viticulture as an underdeveloped industry with great economic potential in the state (Florida Viticulture Policy Act, 1978). The Center is an integral component of the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences and the only research center among the 1890 colleges and universities dedicated to grape and small fruit research. It has a diverse group of faculty and staff that are involved in research, teaching and outreach programs.
The Center is located on a 40 acre site with a 12,300 square foot facility that housed four research laboratories: grape breeding and genetics lab, biotechnology and proteomics lab,
viticulture and vineyard management lab, small fruit lab, a conference room, and faculty offices. More recently, a genomic system analysis lab and a scanning electron microscope lab were added to enhance the Center’s research capacity and capability.
The Center is involved in a wide range of multidisciplinary research in the area of grape breeding, grape genetics and genomics, bioinformatics, nutraceuticals, proteomics, metabolomics, best management practices for Florida grapes, production, and development of heat tolerant raspberries for warm climate. As a member of the National Clean Plant Network, the Center is involved in the production and distribution of disease-free grapevines. The Center is also involved in evaluating non traditional small fruits in North Florida and Integrated Pest Management practices for vegetables.
In addition to research and teaching, the Center’s faculty is also involved in extension and outreach activities such as providing technical support and information to grape growers and small farmers, site visits, workshops and seminars, and organizing field days.
The annual grape harvest festival has become a hallmark of the Center’s outreach effort to promote grape growing in Florida. This annual event has now become a community affair and attracted a diverse group of participants who come to enjoy the day’s activities from the vineyard run and grape tasting to grape stomping.