Vineyard heating innovation improves crop results and sustainability
Dateline: July 24, 2015 Walnut Creek, CA USA – Today AgroThermal Systems announced its introduction to New Zealand wineries and wine grape growers. This innovative crop management process utilizes heat treatments directly to crops from a tractor pulled machine. Benefits include improved fruit set, greater harvest yields, sustainable pest control and improved wine quality. The company will be exhibiting at the Romeo Bragato 2015 Conference in Napier, New Zealand on August 26-28.
“It seems almost ironic to be introducing this technique to New Zealand,” stated Marty Fischer, Founder and CEO of AgroThermal Systems, “since Mike Lane of Hastings pioneered the early pest control work on this technique from 2005-2010 and managed a very successful wine quality trial held at Mission Estates Winery in 2013.” According to Mike Lane, “ I was able to reduce my pest control costs by 2/3rds and controlled all pest issues except for powdery mildew, a fungus that required about 50% of the usual sulfur treatments when combine with Thermaculture. Thermaculture increased berries per bunch by 13% and average bunch weights by 19% on my Pinot Noir, as well. So, not only did I save money on costs but increased production per hectare as well.”
Lane pulled out his grape vines in 2010 due to winery contract issues but was involved in managing a 2013 trial at Mission Estates. Wine was produced from the trial and control blocks at Mission Estates and chemistries were evaluated by the Eastern Institute of Technology. The table below shows that Thermaculture significantly increased many of the phenols and flavonoids that determine wine quality characteristics.
In addition to the improvements in wine flavor characteristics, harvest data gathered by Fruition Horticulture, an independent New Zealand based agriculture research firm showed that average bunch weight was the same for trial and control bunches, but that the treated bunches had an increase of 18.5% more berries due to greater fruits set.
“From 2012-2015,” continued Fischer, “Thermaculture has produced greater fruit set averaging 24% more berries per bunch on over 35 trials conducted in the US, New Zealand and more recently in Germany and France. In 2014 harvest yields on 12 US trial blocks showed a 31% increase in harvest yields per vine.”
The wines produced from Thermaculture grapes are consistently preferred over wines made from non-treated control bocks in blind taste tests. In 2015 a Thermaculture Pinot Noir produced by Adelsheim Vineyard of Newberg Oregon was selected by Wine Business Monthly as a featured wine that was poured at their inaugural Wine Quality and Innovations show held in the Napa Valley. According to David Paige, Head Winemaker at Adelsheim, “The 2014 heat-treated Pinot Noir we are pouring at the IQ show expresses the same characteristic differences versus the control wine that we have consistently seen since 2012. The heat-treated wine is more youthful, the tannins are richer and more vibrant, and the wine has a fresher fruit flavor yet still true to the terroir that makes our wines unique.”
According to Fischer, “While we are most experienced with wine grapes, Thermaculture will provide benefits to other crops including orchards, berries, kiwifruit and other important New Zealand crops. Our technology has come a very long way in recent years through careful research and trials helping us to understand how best to treat crops and achieve specific results as desired by the grower. Whether it is increased yields, pest control, wine quality or just saving crops from rain damage that is being sought, we can help New Zealand growers.”
AgroThermal Systems (www.agrothermalsystems.com) is based in Walnut Creek California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. AgroThermal has pioneered the use of Thermaculture as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on Thermal Plant Treatment for agricultural crops.