A new, state-of-the-art lab will be built in Geneva where researchers will study the genetics of grapes.
Senator Chuck Schumer says $68.9 million in funding will support the project 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, says 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 University in 1906.
"Our climate is different from California or southern Italy," he 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," he said.
Schumer said New York's grape crop generates $4.8 billion in economic benefits for the state each year. There are currently 327 grape growers in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region.