Andrej Svyantek, a doctoral student in the NDSU Department of Plant Sciences, was chosen to receive the Presidents’ Award for Scholarship in Viticulture by the American Society for Enology and Viticulture. The award was presented at the organization’s national conference in Monterey, California, in June.
Students nominated for the award must be current society 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 organization 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 master’s degree at Auburn University, and is currently working on his doctorate at NDSU with adviser 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,” said 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 research,“Altering Grapevine Crop Load and Canopy Architecture Through Cultural and Genetic Methods,” involves the practical application of grapevine canopy management techniques toward improving fruit and wine quality for North Dakota grape growers.
“It is amazing to work in viticulture in North Dakota,” said 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.”
As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.