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Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Viticulture Society Award

Ph.D. student Andrej Svyantek was chosen to receive the prestigious Presidents’ Award for Scholarship in Viticulture by the American Society for Enology and Viticulture.
Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Viticulture Society Award

Andrej Svyantek

July 20, 2018

Andrej Svyantek, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University, was chosen to receive the Presidents’ Award for Scholarship in Viticulture by the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV). The award was presented at the 2018 ASEV National Conference in Monterey, California in June.

Students nominated for this award must be current ASEV student members and enrolled in a full-time accredited four-year college or university, where their major area of study emphasizes enology or viticulture. Award recipients are expected to participate in ASEV outreach and promotion events throughout the year.

Svyantek is from Auburn, Alabama. He says his interest in grapes and vines began as a child, when he was fascinated to see vines growing on fences, houses and trees. When he was older, his passion for soils, genetics, plants and production led him to the study of viticulture.

He earned his M.S. at Auburn University with advisor Dr. Elina Coneva, who is the Alabama State Extension Fruit Specialist. There he had his first chance to work with grapevines in an official capacity, investigating new grapevine selections with resistance to Pierce's disease.

He is currently working on his Ph.D. at NDSU with advisor Dr. Harlene Hatterman-Valenti, professor and high value crop production project leader in the Department of Plant Sciences.

“From day one Andrej has been involved with every aspect of grape breeding as well as cultural management to enhance production and maintain or increase winter hardiness,” says Hatterman-Valenti. “Every grape grower in the state knows Andrej and the largest grower in the state even hosted an appreciation dinner because of Andrej’s knowledge and assistance with production issues.”

His Ph.D. research, Altering Grapevine Crop Load and Canopy Architecture Through Cultural and Genetic Methods, involves the practical application of grapevine canopy management techniques towards improving fruit and wine quality for North Dakota grape growers.

“It is amazing to work in viticulture in North Dakota,” says Svyantek. “As an extremely young industry, every question we ask is fresh, addressing applied industry problems in new ways. Especially from the perspective of our Grapevine Germplasm Enhancement Project, no one needs grapevine breeding efforts to obtain advanced plant material more than the grape growers of North Dakota.”

Author: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123,
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384,

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