Division brings together mechanisation and advanced automation, patenting and licensing, and viticulture research

The California Table Grape Commission (CTGC) has said that it is strengthening its long-term commitment to science and technology with the collation of a new science and technology division.

Generic green grapes cloesup

The new division unites three areas of innovation including mechanisation and advanced automation, patenting and licensing, and viticulture research.

They come together under the leadership of senior vice-president Ross Jones, who will serve as chief science and technology officer.

As a result of this, there are new responsibilities for commission staff members Dr Maha Afifi, Dr Franka Gabler and Julie Mercado, CTGC outlined.

Afifi has been promoted to director of viticulture research and will now lead production research and its related responsibilities while completing the projects on which she serves as principal investigator.

Gabler has been named director of science and technology to emphasise her work in mechanisation and advanced automation while continuing to provide scientific data and analysis organisation-wide, and leading invasive species research.

Mercado’s roll with the commission has also expanded to include administering the viticulture research agreements and related grant requirements with scientists as part of her work as director of grant management.

“Uniting these programmes under the umbrella of this new division makes clear the strength of the commitment the industry has made to science and technology,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the commission.

“The depth of experience this team brings to this important area will serve the organisation and industry well in the years ahead.” she added.