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Jules J. Berta Vineyards in Albertville is participating in a project that aims to combat an industry wide devastating disease

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. -- Jules J. Berta Vineyards in Marshall County is one of two vineyards in the nation to be a part of a project that aims to combat a disease that affects the industry as a whole.

Jules J. Berta Vineyards calls Albertville home, and was recently awarded 2016 Alabama Winery of the Year.

The winery is part of a project spearheaded by University of California, Davis. "We got involved in a research release patent agreement with Davis, and we have me, and Randal Wilson who owns White Oak Vineyards. We are the only two wineries in the United States that now have this genetic material," owner Jules Berta says.

Berta says his vineyard is providing a location for field testing for the project. "These are the world's first vinifera PD resistant vines," Berta explains, "PD stands Pierce's disease, and it's a bacteria that is spread by a sharpshooter insect."

Infected vines usually die. "This is something that has always been a problem in the South. It's pretty alarming, because there's still no cure," Berta says.

Berta's vineyard and the other participating from Anniston are in the epicenter, so to speak, for the disease. "So what better place to field test these vines, than right here," Berta says.

Berta plans to continue to participate in the project for at least the next few years.

Berta hopes in a few years with the project northeast Alabama can be home to world - class wines.