News

How is VISCA DSS supporting the agronomic technique of Crop forcing in Raimat vineyards?

Crop forcing is based on moving the grape-ripening period from hot summer months to a cooler month later in the growing season. This is achieved by making an additional pruning, stopping the natural cycle of the plant and “forcing” it to restart its phenology (bud break, bloom, fruit set and so on). Shifting the ripening to a cooler month couples sugar accumulation with flavour and aroma development improving the quality of the grapes

This June, crop forcing has been successfully applied in our Spanish Demo site in Raimat in order to move the grape-ripening to October. According to VISCA DSS, performing the crop forcing at the beginning of June will move veraison from the last week of July to the mid October. In our Mediterranean climate, summers are characterized by hot and dry weather conditions, with temperature values that can be as high as 40 ºC. In Autumn, the temperature drops. The cooler weather conditions allow an optimum balance between sugar and flavor in the berry.  

The VISCA DSS tool is presenting this phenological cycles of the vineyards and taking into consideration the applied agronomic technique which is fed by the end-users:

VISCA DSS shows the phenology stage before crop forcing 

VISCA DSS shows the phenology stage after crop forcing 

What would happened if this forecast is not available (Business as Usual scenario)?

Without a tool like VISCA DSS, we cannot explore the optimum pruning date to implement the crop forcing. Having a seasonal forecast linked to phenological models provide a useful guideline to decide the optimum date to perform the crop forcing.

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Adaptive actions to support vineyard management using VISCA predictions in Douro Valley, Portugal

VISCA DSS is integrating climate and agricultural models with farmers’ management specifications in order to design short practices, medium- and long-term adaptation strategies to climate change.

In the Douro Valley, where our Portuguese demonstration site is located, the combination of abundant rainfall in March and April of 2020 and a very warm winter influenced the precocity of this year’s growth cycle, with budbreak recorded three weeks earlier than average. These conditions caused recurrent and earlier than expected outbreaks of downy mildew. However, with the predictions supplied by VISCA, the Symington viticulture team was able to plan a very effective treatment schedule, which successfully contained the disease.

Flowering also advanced earlier, arriving two weeks ahead of the regional average, and in order to safeguard good fruit set and ensure a healthy crop, the team at Symington continues to rely on timely VISCA predictions to plan ahead and keep disease pressures at bay.

DSS showing that budbreak has been achieved (May 2020)

 

Pictures of Ataíde vineyard of first week of May 2020 showing the phenological stage of bloom

During April, VISCA DSS predicted higher rainfall than normal in Douro. This increase of precipitation would risk the spread of grape diseases causing some loss of crops. To avoid this loss, the Viticulturists of Symington have decided to make 4 treatments sprays instead of 3 with an earlier positioning than usual in the calendar, to block the downy mildew cycle.

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Scientific publication: Post-Harvest Regulated Deficit Irrigation in Chardonnay Did Not Reduce Yield but at Long-Term, It Could Affect Berry Composition

Future increases in temperatures are expected to advance grapevine phenology and shift ripening to warmer months, leaving a longer post-harvest period with warmer temperatures. Accumulation of carbohydrates occurs during post-harvest, and has an influence on vegetative growth and yield in the following growing season. This study addressed the possibility of adopting regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) during post-harvest in Chardonnay. Four irrigation treatments during post-harvest were applied over three consecutive seasons: (i) control (C), with full irrigation; (ii) low regulated deficit irrigation for sparkling base wine production (RDIL SP), from harvest date of sparkling base wine, irrigation when stem water potential (Ψstem) was less than −0.9 MPa; (iii) mild regulated deficit irrigation for sparkling base wine production (RDIM SP), from harvest date of sparkling base wine, irrigation when Ψstem was less than −1.25 MPa; (iv) mild regulated deficit irrigation for wine production (RDIM W), from harvest data of wine, irrigation when Ψstem was less than −1.25 MPa. Root starch concentration in full irrigation was higher than under RDI. Yield parameters did not differ between treatments, but differences in berry composition were detected. Considering that the desirable berry composition attributes of white varieties are high in titratable acidity, it would seem inappropriate to adopt RDI strategy during post-harvest. However, in a scenario of water restriction, it may be considered because there was less impact on yield and berry composition than if RDI had been adopted during pre-harvest.

Download the full scientific article: Post-Harvest Regulated Deficit Irrigation in Chardonnay Did Not Reduce Yield but at Long-Term, It Could Affect Berry Composition

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How will climate change affect the viticulture in the coming decades in Europe?

Conclusions from the Decadal Projections Performance Report

Facing climate change and climate variability is one of the main challenges in viticulture. Developing strategic actions to adapt viticulture to the impacts of a warmer climate is one of the main interests of the sector, which has been suffering for changes in the quality and yield.

A report has recently been published by VISCA project Decadal projection performance report (D2.5) which provides a set of regional climate projections at European scale and at demosites of the project (Campania region, Mirabella Eclano Estate (Mastroberardino-Italy), Costers del Segre region, Raimat hills (Codorniu- Spain),  Douro Valley, Porto (Symington-Portugal)). These projections would bring an added value for the wine industry to plan long-term adaptation strategies to face climate change and a new climate variability in the coming decades.

First of all, EURO-CORDEX climate projections have been analysed in terms of their ability to reproduce the historical climate. As a result, it has been confirmed that EURO-CORDEX is representing correctly the temporal and spatial correlation of the main interesting variables such as mean temperature and precipitation, climate extremes such as droughts, spring frosts and heatwaves and, finally, specific agronomical parameters such the Winkler index.

After that, the analysis of climate projections at European scale and at demosites is providing by comparing the climatology off the period 2070-2099 against the historical period 1976-2005. In terms of precipitation, a decrease in the southern European countries, which is more intense in the summer months. In terms of temperature, there is a clear increase throughout Europe, although it is more intense in southern countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and in norther countries like Sweden and Finland. Regarding extreme events, there is an increase of the length of droughts, especially in the Iberian Peninsula, a decrease of frost days in spring months and an increase of heatwaves, especially in the southern European countries.

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VISCA at "POWER best practices"

VISCA has participated recentely at "POWER best practices" by sharing the project at the dedicated repository which serves as an umbrella providing an overall view to the POWER water communities with in pilot cities. Further information can be found at the POWER BEST PRACTICES website.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730253.