University of Maryland Extension

Viticulture and Small Fruit

Statewide Extension and research programs in enology, tree and small fruits, and viticulture (grapes) are being created and implemented at the Western Maryland Research & Education Center by Dr. Joseph A. Fiola, Viticulture and Small Fruit Specialist. Dr. Fiola holds a B.S. in Horticulture from Cook College, an M.S. in Horticulture from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He has been with University of Maryland Extension since 2001 and has over 20 years of academic and industry experience in research and extension in viticulture (grape growing) and enology (winemaking).

Dr. Fiola works with existing vineyard and winery owners to increase production and improve quality. He is working to expand the industry in Maryland by educating new vineyard owners.

Annual events include:

  • Regional Beginners' Grape Growing Workshop
  • Regional Winter Fruit Meeting
  • Summer Orchard Tour
  • Field Days
  • Twilight Meetings and Tours

Some of the viticultural programs conducted by Dr. Fiola at the Western Maryland Research & Education Center are:

  • Cultivar Testing: The objective of this program is to evaluate traditional and newly developed varieties as well as specific clones of varieties under Maryland conditions. An innovative part of this program involves importation and testing of vinifera varieties. High quality, very cold, hardy varieties that have never been tested in this country have been imported from the northernmost regions of Italy and from Eastern Europe. A repository is being established.
  • Pest Control/Vineyard Nutrition: Dr. Fiola initiated an Integrated Vineyard Management research and delivery program to maximize fruit quality and vine cold-hardiness, as well as to control disease with the most environmentally friendly procedures. The program also includes extensive tissue (petiole) sampling and subsequent nutrition/fertility recommendations for the commercial vineyards in the state.
  • Enology: Small batch enological studies are conducted on the new grape varieties to determine their wine quality. Also, research has been conducted into understanding annual vintage variability, as well as utilizing various enological tools to make the best wine possible with each specific "vintage" of grapes. Vinified products from Dr. Fiola's new grape variety research have won awards in the American Wine Society's (AWS) International Competition. Experiments with cryo-concentration for “ice” wines from grapes and apples are being conducted.

For more information on the Viticulture and Small Fruit Program, please visit

Joseph Fiola
University of Maryland
Western Maryland Research & Education Center
18330 Keedysville Road
Keedysville, Maryland 21756-1104
Phone: 301-432-2767 x344
Fax: 301-432-4089

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