In a bustling UNR laboratory, a student pours liquid nitrogen
over test tubes.
STUDENT: "So you can fill that up and you have to make sure
that those tubes are always covered."
Nearby, professor Grant Cramer watches. He's been testing
drought-resistant grape varieties in the lab for years. This year
he took his work literally into the field, building a
commercial-sized one-acre vineyard in the high desert.
CRAMER: "We have a very good control experiment we don't
have to worry about rainfall coming in and messing up our drought
stress experiment out in the field, so Nevada is an ideal
Of the 7,500 varieties of grapes, he is testing six. One of
the benefits of drought-stress is that grapes increase their
production of a compound called resveratrol.
CRAMER: "It has been shown to be involved in longevity. So
if you give resveratrol to mice and nematodes they have a 25
percent longer life-span."
Cramer's experimental winery license is for organoleptic
CRAMER: "Which means tasting and it specifically says 'not
for consumption.' We aren't allowed to drink it. We are only
allowed to taste it. Ha, ha, ha."
Cramer says good flavor, more resveratrol and reduced need for
water could help California wineries adapt to a drier climate. He
also hopes to cultivate the fledgling Nevada wine industry which he
says could grow to 5-billion dollar a year.