A new research facility designed to help Texas wine-grape producers manage Pierce’s disease, the biggest threat to the industry, will celebrate its grand opening June 14 in Fredericksburg.

Festivities are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pierce’s Disease Research Facility at 259 Business Court, Fredericksburg.

A spokesman for the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association says an estimated 3,700 acres of family-owned vineyard land throughout the state creates an economic impact of about $1 billion on the Texas economy. Pierce’s disease, caused by a bacterium and transmitted by insect vectors, threatens production.

The new facility will allow researchers to learn more about how to control and manage the disease and its insect vectors. It will also provide wine-grape growers with information on how to improve production and quality.

Open house attendees will include members of the Texas Pierce’s Disease Growers’ Advisory Board; the board of directors of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association; Texas wine-grape growers and winery owners and operators; Texas Wine Industry Development Advisory Committee; representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; researchers and educators from the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and Texas Cooperative Extension (Texas A&M University), Texas Tech University, University of Texas-Tyler, and University of Houston-Downtown; representatives from the offices of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas; and members of the Gillespie County Economic Development Commission.

The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and Texas Cooperative Extension will operate the facility, which includes a 3,200-square-foot laboratory, three 30-by-48-feet greenhouses and a one-acre research and demonstration vineyard. Features include growth chambers, incubators and field cages for capturing insects.

An open house will include tours of the facility and introductions of researchers, educators and other viticulture experts.

Contacts: Jim Kamas, 830-997-7047, jkamas@tamu.edu James Supak, 979-862-4389, j-supak@ag.tamu.edu Greg Snelgrove, 830-990-0953 (Gillespie County EDC)