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UC Davis and Agrology Expand Partnership to Understand Higher-Level Thresholds for Smoke Risk in Vineyards

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Together the two entities embark on a new research project to measure smoke taint risk in real time and determine the levels of smoke concentration that put vineyards most at risk

Napa, CA, July 18, 2023 — Agrology and UC Davis today announced an extended partnership that includes a new research project that aims to understand smoke risk thresholds in vineyards. The UC Davis Viticulture and Enologist team of Dr. Anita Oberholster has begun to conduct research projects that use Agrology sensors to monitor and measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and volatile phenol concentrations. They aim to determine what happens in a vineyard when varying levels of smoke concentration occur. UC Davis recently simulated wildfire smoke in a vineyard and used Agrology’s Sentinel System to monitor VOCs and volatile phenols in real time. Agrology will host a free webinar on August 10th with Dr. Oberholster titled: “The Art and Science of Smoke Taint Analysis and Prediction.” 

“Our goal in this research is to determine thresholds for wine grapes and how vintages can be impacted by varying levels of wildfire smoke,” said Dr. Anita Oberholster, Vice-Chair & Professor of Cooperative Extension in Enology at UC Davis. “Through measurement and research we are now learning how various concentrations of smoke are actually impacting fruit on the vine.”

“We are honored to work with leading researchers like Dr. Anita Oberholster and her team,” said Adam Koeppel, Co-Founder and CEO of Agrology. “This project confirms that our sensors can keep growers updated on real-time smoke risk in the vineyard and can alert them of thresholds when wildfires threaten their vintage.”

The UC Davis team conducted a recent test by simulating wildfire smoke in a controlled environment. The team created a smoke tent where they pumped controlled levels of smoke into the tent. They placed Agrology sensors inside the tent at varying levels (simulating ground, middle, and top of the canopy) and they placed two sensors outside of the tent for control. While the Agrology sensors delivered real-time data, UC Davis also tested air quality by collecting and analyzing air samples. 

The two entities plan to continue to partner on this endeavor as UC Davis continues their smoke risk research. UC Davis is conducting another trial with barrier sprays and the results of smoke on fruit in the coming weeks. More research results will be shared in the future as additional testing is completed. 

More information on the Agrology Sentinel Climate Monitoring System can be found at agrology.ag/sentinel.

Register for a Free Smoke Taint Webinar

Agrology and Dr. Anita Oberholster will host a free webinar titled, “The Art and Science of Smoke Taint Analysis and Prediction,” on August 10, 2023. Anyone interested in registering can register here

The The Art and Science of Smoke Taint Analysis and Prediction webinar will cover:

  • The types of VOCs that create smoke taint and the science of smoke taint.
  • The various data points that can be used to track smoke and what happens in a vineyard when varying levels of smoke concentration occur.
  • Ways to measure VOCs: Preventative approaches to smoke taint risk mitigation and steps to take if you cannot mitigate the risk. 
  • How UC Davis uses sensors to monitor and measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and volatile phenol concentrations.
  • Interventions and actions based on data. 
  • What’s next for smoke taint research and the surprising findings from recent. 

About Agrology

Agrology is a leading climate tech start-up and Public Benefit Corporation with a mission to help farmers adapt to and beat climate change with real-time analysis and predictive insights. The Agrology platform consists of climate and carbon monitoring systems, both based on ground-truth data and machine learning. The Agrology Climate Monitoring System delivers predictive insights and warnings, up to four days in advance, for wildfire smoke taint risk, extreme weather, soil conditions, pest and disease emergence, and irrigation. Agrology’s Carbon Monitoring System tracks soil carbon sequestration in real time, quickly detecting carbon loss via carbon dioxide emission events. Agrology customers include Braga Fresh, The Duckhorn Portfolio, Emeritus Vineyards, Groth Vineyards and Winery, Jordan Vineyards and Winery, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Lawrence Vineyards, Napa Green, Pivot Bio, Renteria Vineyard Management, Sebastien Farms, Silver Oak Vineyards, Sonoma County Winegrowers, and numerous specialty farms. Agrology is the winner of two highly selective National Science Foundation SBIR Awards, a 2022 WINnovation Award, and is a recipient of a USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant. Agrology’s academic partners include UC Davis, CSU Monterey Bay, Huntington Farms, RCD of Monterey County, University of California Cooperative Extension, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Agrology has offices in Alexandria, Virginia, and Sonoma, California, and can be found online at Agrology.ag.

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