|Developing Sustainable Vineyard Water Management Strategies
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Project Mission Statement:
The purpose of this project is to develop sustainable water management strategies that maintain or improve vine yield and fruit quality using less, and lower quality, irrigation water.
This project proposes research needed to sustain one of the nation’s most valuable crops in a future with an uncertain water supply. Grapes are the highest value perennial specialty crop in the U.S., and the semi-arid regions of California, Oregon, and Washington account for greater than 90% of U.S. grape production. Water scarcity, impaired water quality, aberrant weather, and changing climate threaten grape production in this region. Western policymakers are coping with water scarcity at the same time that they are meeting federal obligations to maintain consistent water flows from depleted reservoirs for native fish. One proposed solution is to use lower quality water for irrigation, thereby reserving the highest quality for critical uses. The proposed research will provide strategies to reduce water demands while producing comparable yields and quality, and thus provide a solution to water scarcity.
This project was developed through extensive consultation between researchers and stakeholders to ensure that industry needs were being met. Involved stakeholders are J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, E. & J. Gallo Winery, the California Table Grape Commission, Sun-Maid Growers (raisins), National Grape Cooperative (Welch’s) and the National Grape and Wine Initiative. With six primary deliverables, this NGWI-supported project will provide recommendations for sustainable water management in wine, table, raisin and juice grape production using limited and impaired water supplies.
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