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Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Welcome to the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Our research center serves Virginia’s horticultural fruit industries through research, educational programs, student training, and the development of tools and technologies that increase sustainability and resiliency of commercial producers.

aerial of grapevines
inside greenhouse with grapevines

Latest News and AREC updates

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Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester, Virginia

The Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center serves Virginia’s commercial fruit and value-added horticultural food crops industries through research, educational programs, development of sustainable production systems and technologies, and increased public knowledge of horticultural opportunities and benefits.

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  • Tree fruit entomology
    Tree fruit and specialty crop horticulture
    Tree fruite and specialty crop pathology
    Grape pathology


Membrane-based grapevine virus sampling kit
Molecular tools to detect and identify major grape pathogens
Marker-Assisted Breeding (MAB) of apple
CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing of apple
Weather-based prediction models for managing crop load in apple
Partial canopy rain shelters for grapevine
Novel fungicide chemistry for grape disease management

grape leaves


124 acres, over 40 field plots
6 modern labs
24,500 square-foot complex
100 person auditorium

lab testing


Virginia Agribusiness Council
Wine Industry
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Apple Industry


The AREC's grape pathology lab is developing a web-based decision-support system for grape pest management called This mobile-ready system allows grape growers and other users to access this information from anywhere. A user can set up multiple vineyards and blocks to input site-specific information, including fungicide inventory, spray plan/records, disease observations, and more.

This system helps growers make decisions on their pesticide application by providing the following:

  • guidance in pre-season fungicide application-planning based on the AREC’s pesticide database;
  • reminders of in-season actions;
  • a personal fungicide inventory for planning;
  • recordkeeping on fungicide application and other viticulture-related information;
  • printouts for EPA reports and for Worker Protection Standard postings; and
  • daily weather and disease-risk information based on user input and nearby weather stations.

In order to keep our objectives simple, we are currently focusing on disease management. Over the next several years, the system will be expanded to include other pesticide uses.

The development of has been supported by the Virginia Wine Board and the USDA NIFA Extension Implementation Program and was officially released to growers in 2018.

AREC Fact Sheet 

Click on the image below to view the full pdf

Fair Winchester, VA: Fair. 73.4 F (23.0 C) 1:55 am EDT