Variable Rate Vineyard Management Set to be Tested Across California Vineyards

This season, Terry Bates and the project team demonstrated the use of variable rate mechanical crop adjustment based on spatial data in NY juice grape vineyards (see blog post: link).  Kaan Kurtural and his viticulture team have set out this season to identify commercial wine and table grape vineyards across CA to establish similar spatial data driven variable rate management trials. FreiRanch

Working with the project advisory group and cooperating growers, Bates and his team hit the road in April with soil and canopy sensors and scanned multiple vineyard sites in the North Central Valley (Lodi area), South Central Valley (Delano area), Central Coast (Paso Robles area), and North Coast (Sonoma area).  Steve Nuske and his Carnegie Mellon team followed up in those vineyards with their image analysis platform to spatially map crop characteristics.  Soil, canopy, and crop spatial data layers were processed and analyzed to identify viticulturally different regions within the commercial vineyard blocks termed management classifications.  Kaan Kurtural and his group at UC Davis have taken the reigns at these vineyard sites by collecting directed vine and fruit samples across the management zones to further characterize vine performance and fruit development.  Small viticulture trials have been set up across management classifications to possibly identify the best management practice in each zone to meet the producers’ goals.  Next season, Kurtural will integrate the spatial data information and viticulture trial results to impose and evaluate variable rate management in the identified test vineyards.

Terry Bates, Ph.D. Cornell University Department of Horticulture Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory, Director