Table and Wine Grapes Pilot: Grapevine Responses to Terroir

BigDataGrapes aims to help European companies in the vine, wine, and natural cosmetics sectors to become more competitive in international markets. More specifically, it aims at helping companies across the grapevine-powered value chain to use, exploit and benefit from big data tools, by supporting business decisions, while providing decision-making processes and support, resulting from the real-time and transversal analysis of relevant and heterogeneous data sources.

One of the scopes of the project is to carry out a number of different pilots which will assess and examine different use case scenarios. At this time of the project lifetime, these pilots are almost ready to be deployed as Software demonstrators and to be tested and evaluated by real users. As a next step, the pilots will be integrated with either of the two existing real-life Software Systems, ABACO’s Farmer (ex SITI4Farmer “S4F”) and Agroknow’s FOODAKAI.

In the “Table and Wine Grapes Pilot”, the AUA team in close collaboration with the project’s tech partners (Agroknow, CNR, Geocledian, KU Leuven and Ontotext) have been developing a dashboard on different Prediction and Optimization use case scenarios to help farmers and related stakeholders answer different business-related questions:

  • Can we predict grape yield while correlating it with grape quality?
  • Are different parts of our vineyard characterized by different harvest dates in terms of grape maturation?
  • Are different parts of our vineyard characterized by different grape quality?
  • Can we delineate different zones within our vineyard for better management?
An interesting thing to take into consideration is the fact that these questions and many more for that matter are all related with one tiny word, that encompasses the whole essence of viticulture, and that word is what the French viticulturists have named “terroir”.

But what is terroir? The first spontaneous answer is that it should logically have something to do with “la terre”, the French word for soil, land. But in terms of viticulture, terroir is a lot more than just soil. Terroir is the sum of all interactions of all the basic components of an ecosystem in a given area, namely climate, soil, grapevine cultivar, rootstock and of course, the vine grower himself/herself and the viticultural technique as shaped over the years in particular due to economic and social conditions. Since terroir is closely intertwined with the relationship that exists between the quality characters of the viticultural products and their geographical origin, as well as the individual factors that may affect them, in the broader sense terroir also includes the winemaking process.

After the emergence of Precision Agriculture and its applications, not only do we refer to terroir but also to digital terroir, which as its name suggests, refers to all the digital tools that help farmers have a better understanding of their field while significantly decreasing the inputs. Throughout the project’s lifetime and in the context of the “Table and Wine Grapes Pilot”, this is what we have been collecting: data related to weather, soil, vineyard, canopy-grape-berry characteristics, vegetation indices from proximal sensors and satellite images to name a few.

The overall aim of the “Table and Wine Grapes Pilot” is to correlate all these relevant, yet extremely heterogeneous data from the different data sources, derive meaningful knowledge through these correlations and create a predictive model that will combine parameters coming from the vineyard to parameters coming from the laboratory in an effort to answer the questions mentioned above. The outcome of this process will be delivered to the end-users, ranging from vine growers, winemakers, grapevine farmers associations and scientists, where, through a specialized dashboard they will be able to make informed decisions. The demonstrator is designed in such a way that will provide them with metrics which can be used towards a fully-fledged decision support system, through the use of technological components and clear visualizations for differential vineyard management.

As mentioned earlier, after integrating it in ABACO’s Farmer, an end user evaluation will take place with selected users. Make sure you stay connected with the social media channels of the project to participate in the forthcoming evaluation sessions!

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