Irrigation of grapevines trained onto high potential canopy systems in the Coastal region

New Winetech funded project 2018 - The aim of this study is to compare the water use, yield and quality of drip irrigated vertical shoot positioned and bush grapevines to that of grapevines trained onto high potential yield trellis/canopy systems in the Coastal region.

In recent years, prices that producers earn per ton of grapes have not increased enough in relation to increasing production costs. Producers are subsequently increasing yields per hectare while trying to minimize costs in order to stay economically viable. Most often, this is achieved by increasing irrigation volumes or applications or by using high production canopy/trellis systems and/or mechanical pruning. Challenges with these approaches however is that injudicious application of irrigation can waste water and have negative effects on wine quality. There is also a general perception that high yielding grapevines produce lesser quality wines.

The effect of different canopy management practices in combination with different irrigation strategies have been investigated in a previous Winetech study. This project will focus on higher yielding trellis systems in combination with different irrigation strategies. The economic input requirements for grape production of different canopy management/trellis systems and irrigation strategy combinations will also be compared.

Results from this field experiment have the potential to create knowledge on how to improve the yields of grapevines without necessarily compensating wine quality, particularly in the Coastal region of the Western Cape.

Researcher: Vink Lategan
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