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Winetitles releases world-first precision viticulture book

A new book that confirms Australia’s place at the cutting edge of contemporary viticulture has been published by Winetitles. Precision Viticulture – A new era in vineyard management and wine production is a world first work that outlines the various tools and technologies associated with Precision Viticulture (“PV”).

PV is a state-of-the-art technology that creates maps of vineyards’ heterogeneous physical and chemical characteristics to help viticulturists explain and manage variability. Every year, vineyard variability costs Australian growers and winemakers millions of dollars in wasted treatments and man-hours. PV addresses this problem by allowing defined zones within wider vineyard blocks to receive individually tailored treatments.

Perhaps even greater than its power as a remedial tool, PV can also be used to predict variability before vines are planted. An indication of PV’s importance on the international stage in this respect came in a recent report on South African viticulturist Phil Freese’s soil moisture survey of a block earmarked for new plantings at his own vineyard in the Paarl district. Mr Freese commented that PV, ‘gives me a relative difference picture of how the soils vary both across the surface as well as at depth. It just gives us the clues as to where to look for differences in potential performance characters that the soils can be expected to deliver.'

The new book uses everyday language to outline how spatial data should be acquired, delivered and used, thereby empowering viticulturists and winemakers with the questions that need to be asked when contacting consultants and service providers.

By discussing one-by-one the individual tools that can be employed, Precision Viticulture gives growers a menu of possible choices. So because your vineyard has its own individual needs, the book tells you what data you are going to be most in need of. Handy end-of-chapter checklists sum-up the salient points for each.

The practical application of PV is a central theme to the book and a number of commercial case studies are presented which demonstrate how the information has been used to improve decision-making for both the economic and environmental sustainability of the vineyard.

For instance, we are told how one grower at a 4.3ha Shiraz vineyard in Padthaway in South Australia is using PV to identify distinct high- and lower-value fruit zones. By picking these zones separately in order to direct the fruit towards different wine product lines, the grower saw a crop value increase of over $4,000 and this translated to a $270,000 rise in eventual wine retail revenue.

Authored by leading Australian researchers, Tony Proffitt, Rob Bramley, David Lamb and Erika Winter, the 92-page colour book is the outcome of a project funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture (CRCV) which is a joint venture between Australia’s viticulture industry and leading research and education organisations.

Australian viticulturists and winemakers are key stakeholders in the CRCV, contributing levies matched by the Commonwealth Government and invested by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation in the Centre.

During the production stages, drafts of the book were reviewed by the Editorial Reference Group which consisted of members of research organisations, industry practitioners and service providers.

The material presented is derived from Precision Viticulture research and development undertaken by CSIRO, The University of New England, AHA Viticulture and the CRCV in partnership with industry collaborators.

Viticulturists, winemakers, service and training providers, consultants, and industry development officers will all find this book informative as they strive to adopt best practice in the management of vineyard variability.

Precision Viticulture – a new era in vineyard management and wine production, is available from Winetitles for $49.50 including GST plus postage and can be ordered through the online bookstore at www.winebiz.com.au or by telephoning Winetitles on (08) 8292 0888.

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