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Considerations for Dry Farming Wine Grapes

January 26th, 2015
Considerations for Dry Farming Wine Grapes

Some wine grape growers prefer to dry farm wine grapes, while others have no choice because either they have no water for irrigation or no means to apply water during the growing season. Of course, dry farming is as old as grapevine cultivation and it remains a hallmark of old world viticulture. However, unlike many parts of Europe, almost all California wine growing areas experience drought during the summer, making…

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Charlie Starr – Nutrient Management Profile

January 19th, 2015
Charlie Starr – Nutrient Management Profile

Nutrient Management planning Charlie Starr grew up around vineyards; today, together with his father and father-in-law, the family oversees around 100 acres of vines in Acampo, California. Since the 1960s, the families have been expanding vineyard acreage, with the oldest Zinfandel dating back to the 1960s and the youngest vines planted in 2005. The majority of their vines are Zinfandel, with about 10% Syrah. They currently sell their fruit to…

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Water Management — Part II

January 5th, 2015
Water Management — Part II

Introduction Thank you for reading Part II of this three-part series on water management.  In Part I we discussed the importance of having a written water management plan, the advantages of Regulated Deficit Irrigation (RDI), monitoring water quality and soil water-holding capacity, and vine water status as a measure of water stress.  In this second part in the series, we focus on irrigation (Sections 5.6 to 5.11 of the Lodi…

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In the Vineyard with Paul Verdegaal – Looking Back at 2014

December 22nd, 2014
In the Vineyard with Paul Verdegaal – Looking Back at 2014

The 2014 season was a challenging and difficult year that ended well. Growers and winemakers deserve a tip of the hat. There were however some scattered misfortunes. The harvest wrapped up in the second week of October for most, although a few blocks were harvested slightly thereafter. The first week of December 2013 was very cold. This, combined with a third year of drought caused winter injury and some dieback…

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Water Management — Part I

December 15th, 2014
Water Management — Part I

Introduction Describing the issue of water in California, Mark Twain once intoned, “whiskey’s fer drinkin’, water’s fer fightin’.” Winegrapes use less water than most crops, so we do a little less fighting than some, but we still need to manage our most precious resource to the best of our ability. Drip (or “low volume”) irrigation has revolutionized viticulture. Low volume irrigation systems allow small amounts of water to be applied slowly and frequently through emitters…

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Conservation Tillage of Cover Crops in Vineyard Soils to Improve Carbon Sequestration and Diminish Greenhouse Gas Emissions

December 8th, 2014
Conservation Tillage of Cover Crops in Vineyard Soils to Improve Carbon Sequestration and Diminish Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and other sectors of California’s economy has become one of the most important environmental concerns of state and federal regulatory organizations. This is the result of the June 2006 passage of the California Global Warming Solutions Act, Assembly Bill 32, which calls for reducing the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) production to 1993 levels by 2020; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent endangerment finding…

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Vineyard Management Practices and Carbon Footprints

December 1st, 2014
Vineyard Management Practices and  Carbon Footprints

The California grape and wine community, like many other agricultural and business sectors, is increasingly interested in better understanding its ‘carbon footprint’. A carbon footprint can be defined as a comprehensive measure of the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced and consumed, and is used to determine whether or not individual operations are contributing to the increase of GHGs in the atmosphere. Some vineyard operations, such as tractor driving, “produce” the GHG carbon dioxide (CO2). Indeed,…

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Cover Cropping Systems for Organically Farmed Vineyards

November 24th, 2014
Cover Cropping Systems for Organically Farmed Vineyards

Vineyard cover cropping practices have been refined in Mendocino and Lake counties over the past 15 years. When organic and sustainable winegrowing began in the late 1980s, many of the cover crop species were selected from agronomic crop farming systems. While these were well-suited for bringing “life” back into the soil, they weren’t ideal species for a vineyard. Many were simply too energy-intensive to farm; too vigorous, grew into the…

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Ciatti Global Wine Market Update – November 2014

November 17th, 2014
Ciatti Global Wine Market Update – November 2014

The harvests have all come to an end in the Northern Hemisphere, and it looks as though France has regained its position as the largest producer in the world. French growers looked to have rebounded from disappointing volume results in 2013 with a much better looking crop in 2014. While all regions did not participate in the gain, as Languedoc notably did not have large output, the French growers overall are feeling good about…

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Using Soil Moisture Sensors for Vineyard Irrigation Management: A Practical Guide for Installing and Interpreting Information from Soil Moisture Monitoring Technologies in Vineyards – Part III

November 10th, 2014
Using Soil Moisture Sensors for Vineyard Irrigation Management: A Practical Guide for Installing and Interpreting Information from Soil Moisture Monitoring Technologies in Vineyards – Part III

Thanks for reading this three-part series about using soil moisture sensors to inform irrigation management in vineyards. Part I focused on selecting locations to install soil moisture sensors. Part II took a look at depth of sensor placement and proximity to drip emitters and vines. Here, in Part III, we will cover common types of soil moisture sensors and tips for installation. Common Types of Soil Moisture  Sensors and Tips for…

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