Stephanie Bolton receives a 2023 scholarship to study global collaboration opportunities in viticulture and is supported by PSP Investments and a collaboration of farm organisations and individuals from California*.
Leading Grower Research, Education and Communications for the Lodi Winegrape Commission in California, Stephanie will explore how wine growers and scientists internationally can best be connected around sustainable viticulture research. The Lodi Winegrape Commission is an organization representing 750 growers farming around 100,000 acres of winegrapes. Stephanie believes that agriculture worldwide is more dynamic and challenging than ever. With a changing climate, globalization and invasive pests and diseases spreading rapidly, it is vital that farmers everywhere work together to find solutions.
Stephanie understands the many challenges that are particular to viticulture, and these are relevant across the globe, including insect pests, viruses, rootstocks and clean plant material. She is hopeful of creating a collaborative, international network which would build energy and resiliency into her local agricultural community and beyond.
"Grower involvement in research is crucial to have meaningful impact. In Lodi, we've had success building teams of dedicated growers, scientists, extension, and industry personnel to dive deeply into a specific farming challenge, and our teams find solutions at a fast speed because those involved are financially invested in discovering a better way of farming. My Nuffield project would build and grow the culture of learning that exists in the Lodi winegrowing community, taking it to an international scale."
Stephanie hopes to establish an international viticulture research network focused on globally relevant topics. To achieve this, she hopes to visit South Africa, Australia, and Europe, making connections with growers and organisations to collaborate on issues such as pests and diseases, drought tolerance and mechanization.
* Investor sponsors include the California Cotton Alliance, Terra Nova Ranch, California Fresh Fruit Growers Association, Agrian, Stevens Farms, and Mechanical Design LLC.