Grapevine & Wine 02/08/2010

The digital vineyard runs after sustainability

These are the ongoing researches: improving our knowledge of the plant metabolism and finding out its different response mechanisms

In the future wine producers could use GPS positioning systems to get real-time information about their vineyards in order to make the best of them while respecting the environment. Anyhow, even nowadays is possible to exploit information technologies to support vine farming. As a matter of fact, thanks to technologies that will be spread on a large scale very soon, it is now possible to foresee the perfect moment for the grape harvesting, to estimate the plant health and the “color intensity” of the grapes. In this way it is possible to avoid invasive methods and long waits for the laboratory results.

These subjects were the topic of the third national congress on Viticulture hold the last July at the Agricultural Institute in San Michele all’Adige. Four days of work, 180 participants, 67 speakers from Universities and Research centers, over 450 authors presenting a total of 173 works, as posters of oral sessions.

The aim of this meeting of the Italian research is to keep the stakeholders updated on the most recent results, on the ongoing and on the future programs in the viticulture world to compare results and ideas, to show the progresses and to help the new generations to grow. In this context the vine was celebrated also an environmental resource, thanks to its ability to absorb CO2, like a forest.

The researchers highlighted two main targets for the future: to improve our knowledge of the plant metabolism and to study its response mechanisms to the different farming techniques and to the different environmental conditions.

According to the researchers Duilio Porro and Marco Stefanini, “the conference showed some hot topics, such as the limitation of the grapes compactness, the reduction of the stump rendering, the maturation slow down thanks to technologic or phenolic approaches given the practice of pruning the leaves before blossoming. Other hot topics were the possibility to manage the complexity of the vine growing through telemetric techniques, mainly based on climate modeling and multi-spectral methods and the optimization of the water resources and of the soil fertility in order to reduce the environmental impact of the vineyard”. During the conference some methods for the automatic characterization of the grape color or of the grape aroma already from an early sprout thanks to molecular biology techniques were also presented. Finally, some works also coped with the problem of the sustainable distribution of plant drugs, the CO2 production and the genetic improvements in order to obtain cultivars resistant to different fungal infections.

The conference was also the occasion for the Agricultural Institute to present its innovative ongoing projects, the most taking place in Trentino, such as: HarvAssist, the web page of the Cavit convention that foresee the best moment for harvesting; the project for the cultivar ameliorations and for the phenolic and genetic characterization of the varieties of the germoplasm collection of the vine that counts 2000 vineyards from all over the world; the analysis of the productive and sanitary aspects of the Teroldego grapes; the results of the cloning selection which toke place in Trentino; the analysis of the mineral content as a tool for the traceability of the grapes and finally the studies regarding the mineral absorption of leaves and roots.

di Graziano Alderighi