After completing her PhD in Plant Pathology at Cornell University, Michelle joined the faculty at Washington State University in the Department of Horticulture as the Statewide Viticulture Extension Specialist. At WSU, she is a member of the Viticulture and Enology Program, and is based out of the WSU-Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (WSU-IAREC) in Prosser, WA, the heart of Washington Wine country.
Her Extension responsibilities (70%) cover all aspects of viticulture production in Washington, and include juice, processing, and wine grape production. This responsibility entails the production of educational materials for viticulture, instructing courses on grape growing and disease management in the Viticulture and Enology Certificate Program at Washington State University, development of educational workshops, and the timely dissemination of information to growers. Her research responsibilities (30%) are industry-driven, and focus on applied aspects of canopy management on fruit quality and overall vine health, mechanized approaches to wine grape production, and optimizing current techniques in various grape production systems for vine and fruit management.