Vineyards challenge grape growers with variations in soil type, elevation, and variety. Grape growers respond by compensating for weak spots that hamper vine vigor and delay the ripening. To accomplish this, they often rely on practices like regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) and tools like automation.
RDI limits the timing and amount of water applied, thus managing berry size and fruit concentration to control the organoleptic precursors in the grapes. Automated irrigation systems help growers save on labor costs and water consumption. However, applying deficit irrigation below the block level hasn’t been possible in a systematic, affordable way.
However, the newly launched Verdi has invented a way to accomplish just that. With past experience researching precision agriculture with Google, Verdi’s co-founders have developed the first commercially-viable technology for variable rate irrigation and fertigation in specialty crops.
Verdi retrofits smart devices along irrigation lines to split vineyard blocks into smaller zones according to vigor maps produced from its software. These discrete zones give growers the flexibility to increase irrigation and fertigation in areas of low vigor while restricting them in areas of high vigor.
Arterra Wines, Canada’s largest wine company, implemented Verdi’s precision management system with dramatic results. It reduced water usage by 60% in some zones and resulted in all grapes across the vineyard ripening at the same time — allowing a single harvest pass. Grape quality also improved, allowing Arterra to upgrade one zone from $12 per bottle to a more premium price tier of $30 per bottle, thus increasing revenue by 8% per acre.
The research director at a top three global wine company assessed its experience with Verdi’s solution as “the industry leader in variable rate irrigation technology”. The affordable controllers easily attach to a vineyard’s existing drip lines, taking less than two minutes each to install, and existing irrigation infrastructure remains in the hands of the growers.
They can also use Verdi’s software on their mobile devices or PCs to monitor pressure and flow sensors, soil moisture and electric connectivity, weather station data, NDVI imagery from satellites and much more. A glance at their phones from anywhere shows water volume on individual irrigation lines and confirms that irrigation schedules are executing correctly.
“We founded our company with the goal of eliminating variability within vineyard blocks,” says Roman Kozak, co-founder and CTO of Verdi. “But as we spoke with growers, they identified soil moisture and weather data as critical data for determining when and how long to irrigate to mitigate vines’ water stress. We integrated them, and our solution has evolved into a general-purpose platform to help farmers adapt to climate change.”
If your vineyard block has a weak spot or a high one, Verdi’s patent-pending platform can break it into whatever shape and size you need to apply differential irrigation. Learn more about personalizing your vines’ healthcare, nutrition, soil health and heat protection at Verdi’s WIN Expo booth 200.
WIN Expo Exhibitors by Category:
North Coast Wine Industry Expo – WIN Expo – at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, CA on Thursday, November 30, 2023.