‘We do not know what we do not know’

The headline quote above sits comfortably with another quote, “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got”.

Unsurprisingly, many common vineyard operations are completed without knowing the actual consequences for the grapevines. Some of these consequences have detrimental effects to both the quality and quantity of the wine grapes supplied at vintage. Often there are financial costs, or losses, associated with doing what has always been done in the vineyard.

  • When is the best time of the day to irrigate grapevines?
  • How much water do the grapevines need?
  • When is it best to fertilise grapevines?
  • Is the growth of grapevines affected even with the proper use of some herbicides?
  • Can bare soils be too hot for grapevines?

The list of questions could go on if we did know what we did not know.

Many of the solutions to problems we create in the vineyard are quite simple to overcome. The challenge is to be more informed of the performance of the grapevines and relate that to specific vineyard practises.

It is quite possible that by making relatively minor changes to what we have always done, there will be improvements in both yield and quality of our wine grapes.

The Riverland Wine ‘Vitivisor’ research project, in conjunction with Wine Australia and the University of Adelaide is developing the technology to process information from vineyard sensors to help us know what we do not know. The result should be that Riverland vineyards are more productive with lower operation costs and create higher returns to the grower.

You are invited to contribute questions, regarding specific vineyard operations that may assist with the ‘Vitivisor’ research and trials, to Kate.

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