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Posts Tagged: winegrapes

Mechanical winegrape management produces superior grapes

UC Cooperative Extension specialist Kaan Kurtural is managing a vineyard at the 40-acre UC Oakville Field Station in Napa County with virtually no manual labor, reported Tim Hearden in Capital Press

“We set this up to be a no-touch vineyard,” Kurtural said. “All the cultural practices are done by machine.”

Kurtural's original intent was to help farmers deal with labor shortages, but the trial also produced superior winegrapes.

“When I took the job at the University of California, the labor situation started to get worse,” Kurtural said. “If we didn't have people to prune grapes, we weren't able to finish pruning. So we said, ‘We are a research station, let's develop a solution.'”

In the research vinyard:

  • A machine equipped with telemetry and GPS sensors prunes the vines
  • Soil and canopy data are collected manually
  • Spurs and suckers are thinned with a specially designed pruner
  • Clusters are thinned mechanically
  • The grapes are harvested mechanically

“We can do all the practices mechanically now,” he said. “There was no economic need to do this previously, but now there is.”

Kurtural attributes the winegrape quality improvements to the tall canopy, which protects grapes from sun damage. The system also uses less water.

For complete details, watch a 40-minute lecture by Kaan Kutural online

Interest in winegrape mechanization is skyrocketing because the practices produce grapes of superior quality.
 
Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 10:22 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

UC releases new cost study for growing winegrapes

UC Agricultural Issues Center has released a new study on the cost and returns of establishing a vineyard and producing winegrapes in the northern San Joaquin Valley.

The cultural practices described represent the establishment and production operations, as well as materials of a well-managed cabernet sauvignon vineyard in this region. The costs, materials, and practices shown in this study will not apply to all farms. Growers, UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisors, and other agricultural associates provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of the study.                   

The hypothetical 200-contiguous-acre farm is located in Crush District 11, which includes San Joaquin and Sacramento counties. The economic life of the grower-owned-and-operated cabernet sauvignon vineyard used in this cost analysis is 25 years. Vine management includes hand operations such as pruning, suckering, shoot removal and positioning. The grapevines are mechanically trimmed and harvested. This study does not include cluster thinning, but other winegrape varieties may require thinning due to compactness.

The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for establishment and production of the winegrapes, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. Ranging analysis tables show profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

The new study is titled “Sample Costs to Establish a Vineyard and Produce Winegrapes- Cabernet Sauvignon Variety, San Joaquin Valley North, San Joaquin and Sacramento Counties – 2016.”

Free copies of this study and sample cost-of-production studies for many other commodities are available. To download the cost studies, visit the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu.

The cost and returns program is funded by the UC Agricultural Issues Center, which is part of UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact Jeremy Murdock at the Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651 or jmmurdock@ucdavis.edu or UC Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County farm advisor Paul Verdegaal at psverdegaal@ucanr.edu.

 

 

Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 3:03 PM

UC releases new cost study for growing winegrapes in North Coast

Cost estimates for growing pinot noir and chardonnay grapes in the Russian River Valley are now available.

A new study on the cost and returns of producing winegrapes in the North Coast region's Russian River Valley, an American Viticulture Area in Sonoma County, has been released by the UC Agricultural Issues Center and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

The cultural practices described represent production operations and materials of a well-managed vineyard in this region. The costs, materials and practices shown in this study will not apply to all farms. The production focuses on two varieties, chardonnay and pinot noir. Growers, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of the study.

Grape production is strongly influenced by the vineyard's specific location within the valley and by weather that will significantly impact yield in some years
The hypothetical vineyard was established with the appropriate permits required by the County of Sonoma at the time it was developed and assumed to lie in the warmer edge of the Russian River Valley. The farm is owned and operated by the grower. The site has less than a 15 percent natural slope. In reality, production is strongly influenced by the vineyard's specific location within the valley and by weather that will significantly impact yield in some years. A vineyard management company is contracted to provide services such as specialized equipment and operators, and laborers for hand operations such as suckering, shoot thinning, tucking, harvesting and pruning.

The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for production of the winegrapes, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. Ranging analysis tables show profits over a range of prices and yields for each variety. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

The new study is titled “Sample Costs to Produce Winegrapes, Chardonnay and Pinot noir, North Coast Region Russian River Valley, Sonoma County – 2016.”

Free copies of this study and other sample cost of production studies for many commodities are available. To download the cost studies, visit the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu.

The cost and returns program is funded by the UC Agricultural Issues Center, which is part of UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact the Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651, Donald Stewart at destewart@ucdavis.edu or Rhonda Smith, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sonoma County, at (707) 565-2621 or rhsmith@ucanr.edu.

 

Posted on Friday, November 18, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Dry-land farming of winegrapes has a place in Napa and Sonoma

Grapes farmed in Northern California's famed "Wine Country" can be successfully produced with no irrigation water applied at all, reported Ellen Knickmeyer of the Associated Press.

She spoke to farmer Frank Leeds, who produces grapes in Napa Valley without adding water, not because of the drought, but because he believes the practice produces the best wine. Another option some farmers are using is deficit irrigation, which provides irrigation water at carefully timed intervals.

The farmers believe dryland farming and deficit irrigation force the vines to develop deeper roots that give wine distinctive "terroir" notes, flavor character it derives from the environment. But they must be cautious to avoid the dreaded "r" word - raisin, said a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) expert.

"I do know that (various) wineries have a preference, but the overarching preference is that the fruit is sound and it arrives at the winery not shriveled up as a raisin," said UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor Rhonda Smith.

Northern California wines can be produced with or without irrigation water. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Posted on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 3:27 PM
Tags: Rhonda Smith (2), winegrapes (12)

Extension conference to help practitioners reach winegrape farmers

Heard it through the grapevine? Extension training ensures information accuracy.
A support network for California winegrape growers will gather in Lodi March 24-26 at the National Viticulture and Enology Extension Leadership Conference. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources plays a vital role in developing and extending research-based information to the California winegrape industry. UC ANR advisors and specialists work directly with farmers and with industry professionals who also help ensure that the latest knowledge on grapevine pest control, nutrition, pruning, irrigation and other practices make their way into the hands of the people growing grapes in the field.

The conference begins on March 24 with presentations on new research. On March 25, participants take a tour of Lodi-area vineyards and wineries. The “Innovations in Extension Symposium” will be March 26. (Full agenda.)

“At the symposium, we'll be focusing on extension strategy,” said Matthew Hoffman of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, the sponsoring organization.

The events involve nearly a dozen UC ANR academics, including three Cooperative Extension viticulture advisors who were hired during the past year: Lindsay Jordan of Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties, George Zhuang of Fresno County and Ashraf El-Kereamy of Kern County.

During the session on innovations in extension, UC ANR's Franz Niederholzer, an orchard systems advisor in Sutter and Yuba counties, will discuss an extension project underway in collaboration with scientists in Washington and Oregon. The project, funded by the USDA, will offer training in spray application technology to the farming community.

“Spray application technology is very important to integrated pest management and to farming in general,” Niederholzer said. “Mischief can happen if you don't spray properly. Growers have so many things to consider, we want to revisit the fundamentals of spraying with them.”

UC ANR specialist Mark Lubell will discuss the use of social networks in agricultural extension. Social networks and social media can help improve access to information, transmit knowledge efficiently and deliver information when and where it is needed. Lubell will share tools that can be used to conduct networked outreach and build extension efforts.

Other UC ANR presenters are Chris Greer, vice provost of Cooperative Extension, Matthew Fidelibus, viticulture specialist based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Ryan Murphy of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, and Neil McRoberts, plant pathology professor at UC Davis.

For more information about National Viticulture and Enology Extension Leadership Conference, contact Matthew Hoffman at (209) 367-4727, matthew@lodiwine.com.

An initiative to enhance competitive and sustainable food systems is part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Strategic Vision 2025.

Posted on Monday, March 23, 2015 at 11:18 AM
Tags: winegrapes (12)

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