California Grower Defeats Botrytis Using Integrated Solutions from Crop Science

By: Michael Saini, Saini Farms, Vice President and Fourth-Generation Grower
California vineyard weed management

Valued at $3.16 billion in 20131, wine grapes are one of California’s top commodities. Grapes are grown in 48 of the state’s 58 counties and Sonoma County annually produces an estimated 30 million gallons of wine2.

With more than 60 miles of coastline, Sonoma County is home to diverse microclimates and soils3. Although the area is uniquely suited to growing wine grapes, its average of 25–30 inches4 in seasonal rainfall can lead to significant disease pressures.

Botrytis bunch rot, caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, is a common disease that overwinters on the ground or vine and can infect shoots, flowers, leaves and fruit when high humidity and moisture are present. If left untreated, Botrytis can potentially affect grape quality and reduce a grower’s yield at harvest.

Botrytis on Wine Grapes

Vice President of Saini Farms and fourth-generation grower, Michael Saini, manages 300 acres of wine grapes in Sonoma County. Saini’s family has been farming this land for nearly 100 years, and although he fights off pests and diseases over the entire property, Saini has a particularly challenging six-acre plot of Zinfandel grapes.

“We have a block of Zinfandel that is planted in a location that is extremely challenging to grow. Without a solid Botrytis material, we’re pretty much destined to cut off 50 percent of our crop,” said Saini. “We’ve utilized Serenade® [Opti] in our last five sprays for the season from pre-veraison to post-veraison and have found tremendous increases in yield due to the decrease of Botrytis.”

Serenade Opti fungicide and bactericide from Crop Science is designed with a unique biological strain that provides effective control of fungal pathogens, such as Botrytis and Sclerotinia, and bacterial pathogens, such as Xanthomonas. Serenade Opti is a flexible tank-mix option that complements other chemistries and Saini experienced success using it in every spray with Flint® fungicide, Luna® Experience fungicide and Luna Tranquility fungicide.

“We had minimal to no mixing issues. We found that the disease pressures decreased 25 to 50 percent, in our opinion, just by adding the Serenade [Opti],” explained Saini.

Research field trials from Dr. Douglas Gubler of the University of California, Davis, confirm the efficacy of utilizing integrated solutions from Crop Science. In a 2013 trial, untreated grapes allowed 30 percent incidence of Botrytis, while a combination of Luna Tranquility, Luna Experience and Serenade Opti only allowed 1.25 percent incidence of the disease.


Severity (%)

Incidence (%)

Untreated Control

2.09% 30%

(Luna® Tranquility, 16 fl. oz., then Serenade® Opti, 16 oz. then Luna Experience, 8 fl. oz., then Serenade Opti 16 oz.) + Dyne-Amic® , 0.25% (v/v)

0.03% 1.25%

“In regards to pairing Bayer products, it’s wonderful to have fungicides that complement each other,” said Saini. “We have four or five different products that are going to cover the whole spectrum of disease that we have here with our wine grapes. It will make it easier for us to monitor and control our disease resistance program.”

Serenade® Opti is a part of a collection of biological fungicides and insecticides from Crop Science that gives growers more options in their integrated disease management programs. The fungicide’s novel, multisite mode-of-action offers growers a new tool to combat fungicide resistance and enhance existing integrated disease management programs. In addition to Serenade® Opti, Bayer offers a portfolio of solutions for wine grapes, such as, Luna® fungicide, Movento® insecticide, and Alion® herbicide to help growers defend against seasonal challenges and deliver a successful harvest every year.

Learn how Serenade Opti and Bayer’s integrated wine grape solutions can help protect your crop this season.


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