Vineyards often have to cope with a great deal of variability. Within the same vineyard, vine physiology and fruit composition can vary wildly from one block to the next due to differences in climate, vine water status and vineyard management practices.
Therefore, it is often not enough to base your decisions on merely visual observations. Furthermore, frequent onsite observations can be quite costly and require a large amount of human effort.
If you follow this blog, you might be aware of Fruition Sciences’ various mapping services such as biomass, temperature and color mapping. Our mapping services are meant to help winegrowers capture the variability in the vineyards in a more cost-effective manner. With regard to water deficit status, recent modeling techniques have enabled researchers to better characterize vine water status variability within a vineyard.
Sap Flow sensors
At a conceptual level, vineyard researchers would measure water status at key reference points in the vineyard by using tools such as Sap Flow sensors. The intra-vineyard variability can be captured by using other supporting data such as fruit quality measurements. Then the researchers can use the variability factor to extrapolate water status data at reference points to the rest of the vineyard and construct a map.
In a study led by Herrero (2013), the researchers used carbon isotope ratio for berries at harvest from the previous season to characterize variations in vine water status. In fact, various studies have indicated the correlation of carbon isotope ratio with vine water status such as one study by Gaudillere et al (2002).
This ratio is also not impacted by vine nitrogen status. This makes it a good indicator of vine water status variability. To update the map, one simply needs to update water status measures at reference points in the vineyard.
This methodology has been replicated successfully in other studies such as Urretavizcaya et al (2013). The researchers were able to estimate vine water status in a traditional rain-fed vineyard in Rioja Alavesa, Spain.
New data collection and modeling methodologies like this have enabled today’s vineyards to obtain a more granular understanding of intra-vineyard water status variations more than ever before.
Fruition Sciences offers a full suite of products addressing a variety of vine health monitoring needs to enhance fruit and wine quality. Sap Flow sensors help winemakers enhance fruit and wine quality while saving significant amounts of water.