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Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Rows of grape vines in Winchester, VA

Latest AREC updates

DISCIPLINES  Entomology Pathology Pomology Viticulture

Located 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.


  • Membrane-based grapevine virus sampling kit
  • Molecular tools to detect and identify major grape pathogens
  • High-Resolution Melting (HRM) analysis
  • Marker-Assisted Breeding (MAB) of apple
  • CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing of apple
  • Weather-based prediction models for managing crop load in apple


  • 124 acres, over 40 field plots
  • 6 modern labs
  • 24,500 square-foot complex
  • auditorium
Alson H. Smith Jr. AREC
Alson H. Smith AREC Director and Professor of Viticulture Tony Wolf inspects floating covers over the fruit trees in the experimental field.

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 

Overcast Winchester, VA: Overcast. 59.0 F (15.0 C) 5:55 pm EDT