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Partners In Science Grape Presentation
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The Modesto Area Partners in Science (MAPS) will offer a presentation entitled “Grapes in our Lives: Cultural Connections between Grapes and People” by Peter Cousins, a grape breeder at E. & J. Gallo Winery. The free event is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Sierra Hall 132 on Modesto Junior College’s West Campus, 2201 Blue Gum Ave., Modesto.

Cousins’ talk will focus on answering questions such as: How is it that we have seedless grapes? What is the genetic connection between Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc and why do we have both? Why have Concord grapes evolved to produce methyl anthranilate, a bird repellent but a mammalian feeding call?

The grapevine improvement program Cousins leads focuses on the breeding, introduction, and evaluation of proprietary wine grape varieties and selections with enhanced quality. Before joining E. & J. Gallo Winery, he was grape rootstock breeder and geneticist with the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture based at Geneva, New York, for more than 12 years. In that role he bred and introduced five grape varieties, including rootstocks and genetics research varieties.

Cousins grew up in the Central Valley on his family’s vegetable farm east of Ceres. He studied plant science at MJC and received a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University. His dissertation research in Genetics at the University of California, Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology examined the inheritance of nematode resistance in grape rootstocks and the evolution of Vitis x champinii, a wild grape.

The free public MAPS event is intended for people over 12 years of age.


For more information about the MAPS program visit the website, the Facebook page or contact MJC Professor Noah Hughes at 575-6800 or