GiESCO 2019 banner
IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 GiESCO 9 GiESCO 2019 9 Efficient irrigation strategies and water use reduction in the high quality production regions of Priorat and Montsant (Spain)

Efficient irrigation strategies and water use reduction in the high quality production regions of Priorat and Montsant (Spain)


Context and purpose of the study – Priorat and Montsant Appellations of Origin are located in the south of Catalonia (North‐East Spain), under severe Mediterranean climatic conditions, in terms of rainfall and water availability. Taking both appellations together, they account for close to 4000 ha cultivated by more than 1300 vine growers. Due to water stress during the growing season, irrigation is considered a suitable tool to ensure grape quality at harvest in order to maintain the high‐quality standard of these regions’ wines. However, optimal irrigation strategies based on plant water stress evaluation are not often undertaken, which may lead to inefficient water management. The objective of this study is to develop a regional irrigation strategy based on specific water potential measurements and meteorological data from different region sub‐areas, in order to achieve an overall 10% reduction of water consumption in the region.

Material and methods – During two growing seasons (2017 and 2018), a total of 53 vineyard plots were monitored, which represented the main grape varieties planted in the region (Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet-Sauvignon and Syrah) and were classified in eight sub‐areas inside the region. From pea‐size to harvest (phenological stages), measurements of phenology, water potential and meteorological data were collected. Irrigation recommendations were then given to growers, to avoid water potential below ‐1.4 MPa. Generic agronomic characteristics and production of the studied plots were also evaluated. Data on water use in the monitored vineyard network were compared to historical data of water use in the region. In addition, a specific field experiment was conducted to assess water consumption reduction using three different irrigation strategies.

Results – The monitoring of 53 vineyard plots per year was carried out during 2017 and 2018, with different meteorological conditions, accounting for a more water deficient season in 2017. Overall, more than 50 irrigation recommendations were emitted to growers. The water consumption with the optimized irrigation strategy ranged from 10 to 83 liters per ha, for the whole of 53 vineyards evaluated. Compared to the generic consumption reference of 80 l ha‐1, the recommended dose saved up to 87 % of the irrigation water per year. Moreover, two irrigation strategies also reduced water consumption compared to local grower strategy in the field trial comparing three strategies. The results of this study will help to develop an irrigation strategy, specific by region’s sub‐zones, in order to optimize water consumption while maintaining a high quality of the produced wines of this region. 


Publication date: June 22, 2020

Issue: GiESCO 2019

Type: Article


Carlos CALVO‐GARRIDO (1), Mario DE LA FUENTE (2), Rafael RODA (1), Joan RUIZ (1), Marcelo MAZZIERI (1), Sergi DE LAMO (1)

(1) VITEC – Centre Tecnològic del Vi, Ctra de Porrera, Km 1, 43730 – Falset, Spain
(2) PTV-Plataforma Tecnológica del Vino, C/ Musgo no2, Bajo-B. -28023 – Madrid, Spain

Contact the author


Vitis vinifera, Irrigation, Water use, water stress, regional strategy


GiESCO 2019 | IVES Conference Series


Related articles…

Physiological and growth reaction of Shiraz/101-14 Mgt to row orientation and soil water status

Advanced knowledge on grapevine row orientation is required to improve establishment, management and outcomes of vineyards on terroirs with different environmental conditions (climate, soil, topography) and in view of a future change to more extreme climatic conditions. The purpose of this study was to determine the combined effect of row orientation, plant water status and ripeness level on the physiological and viticultural reaction of Shiraz/101-14 Mgt.

Effects of mechanical leafing and deficit irrigation on Cabernet Sauvignon grown in warm climate of California

San Joaquin Valley accounts for 40% of wine grape acreage and produces 70% of wine grape in California. Fruit quality is one of most important factors which impact the economical sustainability of farming wine grapes in this region. Due to the recent drought and expected labor cost increase, the wine industry is thrilled to understand how to improve fruit quality while maintaining the yield with less water and labor input. The present study aims to study the interactive effects of mechanical leafing and deficit irrigation on yield and berry compositions of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in warm climate of California.

The effects of cane girdling on berry texture properties and the concentration of some aroma compounds in three table grape cultivars

The marketability of the table grapes is highly influenced by the consumer demand; therefore the market value of the table grapes is mainly characterized by its berry size, colour, taste and texture. Girdling could cause accumulation of several components in plants above the ringing of the phloem including clusters and resulting improved maturity. The aim of the experiments was to examine the effect of girdling on berry texture characteristics and aroma concentration.

Application of a fluorescence-based method to evaluate the ripening process and quality of Pinot Blanc grape

The chemical composition of grape berries at harvest is one of the most important factors that should be considered to produce high quality wines. Among the different chemical classes which characterize the grape juice, the polyphenolic compound, such as flavonoids, contribute to the final taste and color of wines. Recently, an innovative non-destructive method, based on chlorophyll fluorescence, was developed to estimate the phenolic maturity of red grape varieties through the evaluation of anthocyanins accumulated in the berry skin. To date, only few data are available about the application of this method on white grape varieties.

Different yield regulation strategies in semi-minimal-pruned hedge (SMPH) and impact on bunch architecture

Yields in the novel viticulture training system Semi-Minimal-Pruned Hedge (SMPH) are generally higher compared to the traditional Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP). Excessive yields have a negative impact on the vine and wine quality, which can result in substantial losses in yield in subsequent vintages (alternate bearing) or penalties in fruit quality. Therefore yield regulation is essential. The bunch architecture in SMPH differs from VSP. Generally there is a higher amount but smaller bunches with lower single berry weights in SMPH compared to VSP.