The California 2011 vintage was riddled with pest and disease problems. But lessons can be learned from these challenges. Turning this difficult year into a learning opportunity will be the focus of the 2012 Central Coast VINE Symposium: "Learning from Adversity — a focus on vineyard pest and disease management." The third annual meeting will be held March 6-7, 2012 at The Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, Calif.

"We can't predict the future but we can learn from the past," said VINE meeting director Lowell Zelinski. "Knowing how to prepare for pest and disease problems or deal with damage control after the fact is valuable, relevant information. Keeping VINE focused on hot topics and what's important is what has made the meeting successful."

Zelinski is a former University of California Extension agent and has modeled the meeting after short courses and meetings he has produced in the past. Now in its third year, the Central Coast VINE Symposium is recognized as a valuable resource for wine grape growers from all over the Golden State. It's the only conference and tradeshow in California focused solely on wine grape production and the only one held on the Central Coast. Its mission is to provide growers, consultants and vineyard managers with production information to help them optimize yields, improve quality, decrease production costs and stay abreast of new technologies and techniques.

The 2012 meeting will include two full days of sessions presented by a variety of industry experts. The practical, hands-on topics will be addressed by viticulturists, industry experts, researchers, educators, growers and vineyard managers. VINE provides information on applied rather than theoretical practices and technologies that can be used in day-to-day wine grape management. Topics will include production and management, pest and disease management, irrigation and water management and industry updates.

Wine industry welcome

The meeting is targeted to address Central Coast wine grape production issues but the curriculum benefits anyone working in any wine region. VINE participants can earn PCA, CCA and Ag Waiver continuing education units, enjoy great networking opportunities and learn about viticulture products and services from vendors from around the state at the tradeshow.

The VINE Showcase will feature up to 40 vendors including nurseries, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, as well as a wide variety of vineyard-related service providers, professional service providers and more. The VINE Showcase will be open throughout the meeting and there will be a VINE Showcase reception featuring live music and a regional wine tasting on Tuesday, March 6 from 4 - 7 p.m.

The VINE Symposium was developed and is hosted by Precision Ag Consulting - a Paso Robles-based vineyard production consulting company owned by Lowell J. Zelinski, Ph.D. and Becky Zelinski. Lowell Zelinski is a private consultant with more than 30 years experience in the agriculture industry. He has a doctorate in soil-plant-water relations and as a former University of California Extension agent and California State University professor, has spent much of his career researching issues and planning and directing educational meetings. Part of his company's mission is to provide education and training in viticulture, environmental monitoring, soil fertility and other topics related to the products and services the company provides. Becky Zelinski has a background in agricultural and educational marketing and public relations and 20 years experience in business administration.

Early registration rates begin at $129 per person and $159 after February 15, 2012. VINE Showcase and Wine Reception tickets are $20 per person in advance and $30 at the door. Registration includes workshop materials, tradeshow access, a welcome reception and meals during the meeting. Discounted accommodations are available at The Paso Robles Holiday Inn Express, the Paso Robles Courtyard Marriott, the Best Western Black Oak Motor Lodge and the La Quinta Inn & Suites. To register or for more information, call (805) 434-3331 or visit www.vinesymposium.com.