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Dear reader,
We are excited to publish our first issue of VISCA Newsletter where you will find a recap on the developments of our project since its beginning in May 2017!  In the following sections, you will find:

We hope that you enjoy reading our news and THANK YOU for being part of VISCA community!

VISCA Consortium 

Editorial: Welcome statement from VISCA coordinator

Nowadays, agriculture is an activity with a global market, benefiting relevant countries of the EU, who is the first trader of agricultural products in the World. At the same time, Agriculture is highly dependent on climate factors, such as heat, sunlight and water, and therefore specially threatened in a changing climate. 

Among other agricultural species, the wine-grapes are especially dependent on weather and climate conditions, resulting in change of wine quality and properties. Furthermore, according to current climate projections, weather events worldwide are very likely to become more extreme and frequent. Even if the most optimistic scenario becomes true because policies and efforts to reduce GHG emissions are happening fast and mitigation actions prove to be very effective, some climate change will be impossible to avoid; therefore, strategies and actions to adapt to climate change impacts are needed.

VISCA project comes out from the need of the wine industry to make the management of the vineyards more resilient to the weather and climate variability. VISCA is a promising Climate Service (CS) and a Decision Support System (DSS) that will integrate in a user-friendly web platform the end-user needs with weather, climate and phenological forecast, being able to give recommendations on irrigation and resulting in well-founded decision of specific aspects of crop planning.

VISCA is now at the end of its developing phase and starting its demonstration in three wine stakeholders from Spain, Italy and Portugal. This is a challenge and an opportunity to monitor and prove the added-value of the tool.

Beyond our current mission, VISCA is being developed in coordination with related initiatives and projects in relation to Climate Services, so we are convinced of its potential to be expanded to other kind of crops in the agricultural sector and in other regions. I encourage you to visit our webpage, social media and read this newsletter to be updated about the progress and events of VISCA.

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VISCA in few words…

Wine grapes are extremely sensitive to weather, and subtle changes in temperature can affect their acidity, sugar levels, ripening period or their vulnerability to pests and diseases. This in turn affects the quality and quantity of the final product, which has implications for the economic competitiveness of Europe’s wines. Wine-growers need accurate information about weather forecasting including when extreme weather events are likely to hit them, in order to make the best decisions about when to irrigate, fertilise, prune and harvest.

VISCA project aims to meet this need by providing a software application integrating climate, agricultural and end-users specifications in order to design medium- and long-term adaptation strategies to climate change in order to ensure that farmers and viticulturists get the best vintage and quantity.

Watch VISCA video
Which climate services are provided by VISCA?

VISCA services are validated by real demonstrations with end users, who are part of the consortium, on three demo sites in Spain (Codorniu), Italy (Mastroberardino) and Portugal (Symington). VISCA services include:

- Weather forecasting/Extreme events at short time-scales from hours up to ten days (240 h)

- Seasonal Forecasting at seasonal time-scales up to 7 months ahead

- Climate projections at decadal time-scales for the next 20-30 years

These services are demonstrated while testing different management techniques such as crop forcing or shoot trimming and an irrigation scheduling tool

All these services give winemakers advice on crop management and irrigation planning, such as optimal harvesting and pruning times. In the short term, the project allows to optimise yields via reducing costs and risks, and improving the quality and quantity of their wine production. In the longer term, it will support the wine industry in strategic and adaptation decisions, for example giving hints on the potential schedule and geographical shifts of viticulture regions.

VISCA workshops: End-users’ insights

VISCA has organised two stakeholders’ workshops in Porto and Naples, in 2017 and 2018 respectively. These workshops gathered members from the Advisory Board who represent the following organisations:

  • - OIV (International Wine Association)
  • - INNOVI (Catalan Wine Cluster)
  • - PTV (PlataformaTecnológica del Vino)
  • - AssoEnology
  • - WMO (World Meteorological Organisation)
  • - AEMO (Spanish Oliva Association)
  • - COTOLIVA (Olive Oil Organisation)
  • - DELTAMED (Mediterranean Deltas Association)
  • - EEA (European Environmental Agency)
  • - Pole-terralia (The competitiveness cluster of the Vegetal)
  • - INGC (National Institute of Field Crops)
  • - Aprol Campania (Olive Oil Organization)
The aim of the workshops was to collect their needs and expectations from the tool. Also, these workshops presented mock-ups of the VISCA tool with a virtual guide on its main functionalities to collect feedbacks from the participants. Below are some collected conclusions which were drawn from these workshops:

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VISCA tool operation in 3 vineyards!

The 1st version of VISCA tool has been released and will be tested and validated in real-life environment in the 3 demonstration sites involved in the project: Spain (Codorniu), Italy (Mastroberardino) and Portugal (Symington). The tool is based on the architecture described in  the figure below. Based on the feedback received from end-users, a 2nd version is going to be released and it is already under preparation. It will be published in the coming months with a more integrated dashboard. 

VISCA web responsive application gives access to short, medium-term and seasonal weather forecasting to farmers where they receive warnings on predicted extreme events, forecasts on phenological events (e.g.  fruit set, veraison) and optimum harvesting dates according to the techniques applied (Crop Forcing or Shoot Trimming). 

8 VISCA deliverables now available for download!
VISCA presence at different events!

Ever since the beginning of the project, VISCA consortium has been participating in different events to disseminate about the project and to exchange experiences, best practices and establish synergies. Among these events with the presence of VISCA are: 

CLIMATE CHANGE LEADERSHIP: Solution for the wine industry, 5 - 7 March 2019, Porto, Portugal

The conference discussed new ideas to tackle the greatest challenge wine industry faces today: climate change. It aimed to provide practical and proven solutions, both short and long term, that help mitigate the impact of a changing climate on our industry. VISCA project was given as an example of these strategic solution and mentioned by Al Gore, Nobel Prize Laureate and former Vice-President of the USA, himself!

International Congress on Grapevine and Wine Sciences, 7 - 9 November 2018, La Rioja, Spain

The conference serves as a platform for interrelating the most relevant researchers of the international sphere in Grapevine and Wine Sciences. The congress dedicated sessions to vine protection, genetic diversity and breeding, production management, vine physiology, oenological microbiology, sensorial evaluation and oenological chemistry and technology. VISCA project was presented by IRTA during the event.

 AGRO INOVAÇÃO 2018 (Agro Innovation), 29 October 2018, Porto, Portugal

The conference promoted the exchange of good practice such as identifying common challenges and exploring potential solutions as well as developing synergies between teams that address common themes. VISCA project was presented by both Symington and University of Porto.

Climateurope Festival 2018: Climate information at your service, 17 - 19October 2018, Belgrade - Serbia

The 2nd edition of the Climateurope Festival was organised in order to support the exchange of knowledge and cultivate efforts for climate change adaptation and mitigation informed by science. The event brought researchers, suppliers, and funders with an emphasis on participants from Central and Eastern Europe. VISCA project was presented in 2 different sessions, one on the “Future of wine: Round table / Impulse talks” on October 18th by UT SEMIDE together with the project Med-Gold and the other on “Climate information at your services I. Agriculture: Storytelling session & Round table” on October  19 by Meteosim SL. 
VINEXPO, 13-16 May 2019, Bordeaux, France
Vinexpo is an international brand that specialises in creating and developing major events in the wine and spirits sector, organised for and by people in the trade. Ever since its inception in 1981, Vinexpo has been connecting industry insiders to boost sales and stimulate the market. Further information is available on VISCA website.

11º Simpósio de Vitivinicultura do Alentejo (11th Alentejo Vine and Wine Symposium), 15-17 May 2019, Évora, Portugal

An International Wine Symposium organized by various institutions (official and private) related to research and wine production in Évora - Portugal. VISCA project will be there and presented by the University of Porto! Further information is available on VISCA website.


4th European Climate Change Adaptation conference, 28–31 May, Lisbon, Portugal

The conference will focus particular attention on identifying the ways that the climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction communities can learn from each other, and find ways to support the most vulnerable groups and environments in danger from climate change impacts. VISCA project will be there and presented by the METEOSIM, IRTA  & LINKS foundation (ISBM) ! Further information is available on VISCA website.


IX International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops, 17-20 June 2019, Matera, Italy
The Symposium is expected to cover a wide range of research fields including: Sustainable approaches to irrigation management, DSS (Decision Support Systems), Plant water status and fruit quality, irrigation management under arid and semi-arid conditions, Water use efficiency and Social and economic aspects. VISCA project will be there and presented by IRTA! Further information is available on VISCA website.


21st GiESCO International Meeting (Group of international Experts for Cooperation on Vitivinicultural Systems), 23-28 June , 2019, Thessaloniki, Greece
The Meeting will cover the main fields in viticulture research and innovation focusing on vine ecophysiology, vineyard management, grape and wine quality, and sustainable production. VISCA project will be there and presented by the University of Porto! Further information is available on VISCA website.

Addition related events are available on VISCA website!

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Copyright © 2019, VISCA project, All rights reserved.

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