Grape growers and wine industry leaders will meet with top Texas researchers here on May 21 to discuss strategies to combat Pierce's Disease, a condition that can be devastating to vineyards.

The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. at the Texas Tech University-Highland Lakes, 806 Steve Hawkins Parkway, Marble Falls.

"We want to give people a chance to interact with the researchers and specialists and hear firsthand about the results of their 2006 projects, which were supported through the Pierce's Disease Research and Education Program," said Dr. James Supak, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station coordinator for this program.

More than 135 commercial wineries on 3,700 acres of family owned vineyards in Texas currently make a $1 billion economic impact on the state, according to the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association.

Supak said Pierce’s Disease is the single greatest limiting factor for commercial grape production in some growing regions of Texas.

The Pierce's Disease Research and Education Program is a multidisciplinary, interagency program that combines the expertise of scientists from Texas A&M's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Experiment Station, Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas Tech University, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Texas-Tyler and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services.

For more information, see http://piercesdisease.tamu.edu/