Improving Productivity and Quality of Wine Grape Vineyards

One of the most significant limitations to grape growing in Nova Scotia is the length of the growing season. The key parameters which define the growing season are:

  • Frost free period
  • Degree days above 10ºC

The purpose of this project is to improve the micro climate of our vineyard by addressing these two parameters. In other words, increasing the frost free period and increasing the Degree Days value.

The expected results in terms of the crop are:

  • Enhancing the quality of our wine grapes.
  • Improving consistency of crop size and quality.

Project Objectives

  • To design and build a multi-purpose overhead covers system to a vineyard.
  • To develop a management plan for the utilization of the covers during the season.

Methodology

Overhead covers are installed over an area of about 30,000 square feet. An Agryl 40 cover is used for frost protection and for increasing Degree Day value while a net type cover is used for wind/hail/bird control. The covers are installed as curtains in two layers. The net is the top layer and it is expected that it will stay deployed during most of the growing season. It will be stowed, secured and covered on the trellising by the end of the season. The Agryl 40 is installed 6″ below the net and it will be deployed as necessary at the beginning and the end of the growing season. Like the net, the Agryl 40 cover will be stowed, secured and covered on the trellising by the end of the season.

Two Davis Instruments weather stations (Vantage Pro 2 –  temperature, humidity, wind) and a data logger (Envoy 8x) are utilized to collect weather data. One station is installed next to the vines, under the covers, while the second station is installed in adjacent, unprotected area to be used as control plots. The data is collected at increments of 30 minutes, exported to a spreadsheet software and processed.

This construction phase of the project was completed during 2015. During the following years (2016-7) data will be collected and best practice methods will be evaluated.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any question about this project.