A 4D high resolution vineyard soil assessment for soil-hydrological interpretation in combination with automated data analysis and visualization to manage site-specific grape and wine quality

A Visual Information eNvironment for Effective agricultural management and Sustainability (VINES) is under development, which can provide significant competitive advantages to winegrowers by sustaining their appellation-specific grape and wine qualities and yields while measurably conserving water resources. The system has been designed to validate, refine, and improve the Automatic Landform Inference Mapping (ALIM) soil modeling/ sampling method, and to define the key components for perennial crop production, in general, and wine grapes in particular.

The feasibility of this novel technology has been validated through analysis of data collected to date through sensor deployment in West Coast vineyards and the development of highly resolved 4D soil maps that can visualize vine water availability. A comparison of predicted map-based water flow at several depths and locations vs. in-field sensor sampled values was conducted.

The accuracy of predicted soil characteristics across vineyard blocks at several locations has been validated based on physical and chemical analyses and statistical comparisons. The first completed real-time spatial soil functional maps have been used to design visual analytics to create an effective decision-making environment applicable in commercial vineyards.

Working directly with vineyard managers and winemakers, this integrated research and extension project has collaboratively developed an interactive, user-driven decision making environment that harnesses visual analytics to organize all the inputs from deployed soil sensors, high-resolution spatial soil function and water dynamic responses, while integrating all available historic and current data flows. VINES is designed to integrate future soil, plant, viticulture, and enological models into its decision support system to help respond to changing climatic and especially to drought conditions, and to improve general vineyard management, harvest scheduling, and long-term sustainability and life-cycle decisions.

Authors: David S. EBERT (1), Phillip R. OWENS (1), Trester J. GOETTING (2), Julie A. JOHNSON (3), Christian E. BUTZKE (1)

(1) Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
(2) Robert Biale Vineyards, Napa, CA, USA
(3) Tres Sabores Winery, Rutherford, CA, USA

Email: butzke@purdue.edu

Keywords: soil mapping, terroir, wine quality, plant water availability, visualization, decision-support

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