A vineyard site evaluation support system

Date: 

2007 to 2011

Summary: 

The New York grape and wine industry is growing rapidly, and many new growers are looking for quality vineyard sites, especially for cold-tender premium grapes.
Due to the New York climate, soils and topography, that is a complex process. We have developed a website (https://www.nyvineyardsite.org) that provides educational information on site selection in an easy format as a way to evaluate climate, soils, and topography of sites of interest. It provides ways to look at regional patterns as well as generate reports of relevant data on specific sites.

Issue: 

The industry and Cornell Cooperative Extension have been asked many times about where new grape growers or expanding growers should plant vineyards. A great deal of relevant information is available but not readily obtained and integrated. Choosing the correct site is critical for perennial crops where errors or good decisions are compounded for decades.

Response: 

We collaborated with Art DeGaetano of the Northeast Climate Center on generation of a 28-year high-resolution database of temperatures for New York. That data and a great deal of Natural Resources Conservation Service soils data and New York state topography data were compiled by our collaborator, the Institute for Application of Geospatial Technologies in Auburn, N.Y. That group developed a website to allow users to find and generate relevant information about specific sites' suitability for growing grapes. The users have been new growers, existing growers evaluating their current vineyards and looking for new ones, Cooperative Extension specialists, and industry consultants.
Next, we are developing a site suitability component that will evaluate land for characteristics that are required for specific types of grapes (for example, hardy native grapes versus tender premium wine grapes) and identify sites in New York best suited for each grape type.

Impact: 

Although it is difficult to evaluate website usage, the site metrics have shown that almost 2,700 unique visitors viewed more than 26,000 pages in the first 18 months. We have received many positive comments from growers who have used the site, especially in regard to the tremendous saving of time in obtaining the information. One consultant said, "I can obtain in five minutes what used to take weeks to compile." The ultimate impact will be the long-term profitability gained by growers selecting appropriate sites. When a single acre of wine grapes costs almost $25,000 to plant and bring into production, the difference in profitability of a poor site and a good one is tremendous.

Submitted by: 

  • Lakso, Alan N

Researchers involved: 

  • Lakso, Alan N
  • Martinson, Timothy
  • DeGaetano, Arthur T

International focus: 

  • United States of America

United States focus: 

  • New York