Cornell professor recognized for grape, wine research

Justine Vanden Heuvel
Vanden Heuvel

In recognition of her major contributions to the state’s wine and grape industries, Justine Vanden Heuvel has earned this year’s research award from the New York Wine and Grape Foundation (NYWGF).

The foundation recognized Vanden Heuvel, associate professor of enology and viticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, for her research optimizing flavors and aromas in wine grapes, and for improving the environmental and economic sustainability of wine grape production in cool climates. She received the award March 1 at the annual NYWGF unity banquet, part of the three-day B.E.V. New York organized by Cornell and held near Rochester.

Grape production in New York is a multibillion dollar industry. According to the NYWGF, the grape, grape juice and wine industries generate more than $4.8 billion in economic benefits annually in New York. Wineries in the state produce more than 175 million bottles of wine each year.

Research by Vanden Heuvel has provided guidance for vineyard management decisions to improve economic outcomes and reduce environmental impacts. A series of papers published during the summer demonstrated that planting cover crops beneath vines reduces nutrient and agrochemical leaching from vineyards while reducing production costs.

In addition to research and outreach work, Vanden Heuvel teaches undergraduate courses on the science of viticulture and enology, as well as a course on wine culture.

“New York has earned its reputation as one of the world’s premier grape and wine producers, but that success can only be sustained through a continued commitment to research,” said Vanden Heuvel. “Growers face uncertainty as climate shifts, and rely on robust research programs to guide sustainable innovation. I am proud that my research helps growers prosper and maintains New York’s reputation as a grape and wine powerhouse.”

In 2016, as a Public Voices Fellow, Vanden Heuvel authored opinion pieces in The New York Times Well blog, The Huffington Post and U.S. News & World Report.

Melanie Cordova is communications coordinator at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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