Growing a vineyard is complicated and comes with a myriad of environmental challenges from extreme weather to insect and animal pests to disease and nutrient challenges and everything in between. Fortunately, vineyard managers are a resourceful bunch and come up with brilliant, creative solutions to meet the needs of their vineyards including these 3 unique innovations:
Sprayers are designed to cover both foliage and fruit as you drive down the row, but some products are only needed in the fruit zone.
A grower in the Finger Lakes of New York came up with a brilliant solution.They added a tank to the front of their standard tow-behind Cima sprayer to create separate tanks for foliar & fruit zone sprays.This allows sprays for things like bunch rot or Grape Berry Moth to be isolated to only the fruit zone where it is needed, reducing their product costs, lowering environmental impacts, and still achieving the desired result with only one pass of the sprayer.
Target specific sprayers – isolating the fruit zone
Hail Netting for Deer
Georgia growers needed to protect young vines from deer.
Even though they do not have issues with hail, these Georgia growers realized that using hail netting in combination with grow tubes would be an effective solution for protecting these first year vines (yes, these are first year vines) from deer. The finer mesh of hail netting allows for sprays to penetrate without shoots poking through thus providing an effective and innovative barrier against hungry deer.
First year vineyard in GA using hail netting as deer protection
Watson System for Sheep
A California grower wanted to graze sheep in the vineyard year-round.
The Watson System was initially created to address the issue of varieties with small cluster sizes that are hard to pick and spray because the clusters bunch inside of the leaves. Then, a regenerative grower in CA, who had been trying to devise technical systems with electrical wires etc. to protect the fruit from the sheep, had a light bulb moment when he learned about the Watson System. He realized that he could implement the Watson System (even though it wasn’t specifically needed for the varieties he was growing) and simply move the fruit higher enabling him to run the sheep all year long in the vineyard. Now he has happy sheep and happy grapes!
Sheep grazed vineyard – fruit protected by the Watson System
Learning how different growers are innovating in their vineyards may trigger a great idea for a unique solution for your vineyard challenges.
To learn more about a Holistic Approach to Vine Health, Production & Longevity, check out www.vineyardundergroundpodcast.com/vu014.