How it works: Who gets funded for WRE projects and when?

The Winemakers Research Exchange receives funding on an annual basis from the Virginia Wine Board on a fiscal schedule that begins June 1 and ends May 29 of the following year.

WRE projects are funded on an annual basis beginning with a call for proposals in June. Proposals are reviewed by the Research Enologist and Exchange Coordinator in June and early July to prepare a budget. The WRE Board meets in mid July to review proposals for experimental design and to review budget constraints. If the proposed budgets of experiments exceed the budget for analysis, the WRE Board will use the criteria outlined below to discriminate among proposals. Once funding is granted, the Research Enologist and Exchange Coordinator works with experimenters to plan and execute experiments that are analyzed at sensory sessions January through May.

Eligibility for funding is limited to those who produce wine on a production scale in Virginia.

Vision Statement: Promoting innovation through experimentation and education in the (Virginia) Wine Industry

Objectives for 2019-2020

The Virginia Winemaker's Research Exchange (VWRE) aims to foster innovation in the production of high quality wine through practical research in wineries and evaluation through sensory sessions across Virginia. 

Specifically, the objectives of the 2019-2020 fiscal year will be:

●     To identify 5-7 themes for repeated projects to allow for focus during sensory sessions

●     To support 40-55 practical research projects representing each of the 5 regions of the state. Experiments may be simple side by side comparisons or may include multiple aspects of the same question (for example, the effect of temperature and yeast strain on acid in Chardonnay).

●     To have 50% of the projects replicated within the winery or repeated at several sites to allow for greater transferability of results and greater depth to exploration of themes.

 Core Criteria: Experiments must meet the following considerations to be funded:

  1. The experiment must address a practical concern that will be of interest to others.

  2. The experiment must be at production scale (at least 1 barrel of finished wine)

  3. The experiment must contribute to innovation or improvement in quality for Virginia Wine.

 Special Consideration will be given to the following:

  1. Experiments from under-represented regions (Shenandoah, Southern, Peninsular)

  2. Vineyard experiments

  3. Proposals from new experimenters or experimenters who rarely participate.

  4. Proposals that include academic partners (Virginia Tech Enology or Food Science) or other Wine Board Funded projects (ex: Bubba Beasley)

 Other guidelines:

  1. Preference will be shown for experiments that are carried through to wine. Some experiments will be considered for juice or grape stage only as pilot projects.

  2. Projects that allow replicates will be given special consideration due to greater reliability of results.

  3. Projects that are repeated in other vineyards/wineries will be given special consideration due to better transferability of results.

  4. If there are more proposals than funding available, experimenters will be limited to 3 projects per winery.

  5. If there are more proposals than funding available, preference will be given to participants who have successfully completed projects in the past as opposed to those that have consistently dropped projects, and those who have worked as cooperative partners with the WRE in the past.