Studies on the mode of perennation of Uncinula necator in Eastern Washington were conducted over a 4-year period. Evidence of perennation of U. necator in infected dormant buds was not evident during vineyard surveys conducted over the period. Cleistothecia retrieved from bark fissures and senesced leaves contained viable ascospores at bud burst and later. The proportion of cleistothecia retrieved from bark that contained viable ascospores at bud burst ranged from 0.19 to 0.48, 0.09 to 0.72, 0.18 to 0.22, and 0.48 to 0.67 in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001, respectively. Viability of cleistothecia retrieved from senesced leaves in two vineyards at bud burst was 0.41 and 0.40 in 1998 and was 0.5 and 0.4 in 1999. Ascospore release in lab studies occurred from the late-dormant stage through the prebloom and (in some cases) the bloom stages. The initial ascosporic infection of Chardonnay leaves began at the late-dormant stage; colony numbers then declined through the prebloom and bloom stages. In vineyard studies, ascospores were trapped as late as 70 days after bud burst during rain events of 3.9 to 9.6 mm. Detection of ascospores in vineyard air preceded the initial occurrence of powdery mildew symptoms and signs and the occurrence of conidia in volumetric spore traps by several days. Cleistothecia are the only known source of primary inoculum in the grape-production regions of Eastern Washington.