THE VINEYARD’S DIET
Does the vineyard have “nutritional disorders” such as anorexia or bulimia? No, but it does have something similar and an Australian app helps grape growers keep it healthy
I heard talk about the “humanized” approach for the first time in the Bordeaux University, about twenty years ago, when the lesson regarding the summer pruning of the vine referred to “the vine sexuality”. In fact it did regard the intervention of man on the equilibrium between the grape grower’s project, who wants to produce grapes for wine, and that of the vine, who wants to reproduce itself.
THE AUSTRALIAN APPROACH TO THE VINEYARDS NUTRITION THROUGH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
In this case the Wine Australia and the Charles Sturt University have gone even further and have forced the National Wine and Grape Industry Center (NWGIC) researchers to create an app for Smartphone to manage the vineyard’s nutritional disorders as if it were a human being. What is curious is that for both man and the vineyard the nutritional problems come from the wrong approach by “parents”. It seems a paradox but the Australian method to the managing of the vineyard helps us to rethink, in a more general way, all of our behaviours, in life like in the wine enterprises. Often grape growers in fact over feed their vines and they mistake the vigour for wellbeing of the plants, just like some mums fill their kids with love by piling their plate until they get obese.
NUTRITIONAL DISORDERS IN THE VINEYARD REDUCE THE QUALITY OF THE GRAPES
So, Suzy Rogiers, main researcher of the NSW DPI affirms that the nutrition of the vine can influence its growth, its yield, the composition of the grape berry and the quality of the wines.
In other words the quality of the wine comes from vineyards in perfect equilibrium and this wellbeing must be controlled and managed with intelligence. In fact more the vines are to produce high quality wines more their diet must be planned like that of an Olympic athlete.
The diagnosis of nutritional disorders is done upon the visual evidence of problem recorded by a simple Smartphone. The images, captured by the grape grower passing through the vineyard, are then elaborated using artificial intelligence. Obviously all of this requires a lot of work in storing data and images which then permit the electronic brain to recognize the symptoms and to propose cures. <<Up until now we have been able to catalogue symptoms such as shortage of magnesium, potassium, iron and azote and toxicity of the boron, in Chardonnay and in Shiraz>>.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE STUDIES THE VINEYARD’S DIET
As yet there is no visible recognition of nutritional problems for Sangiovese or Nebbiolo. But the path has been opened up and we can hope that soon the Australian app will also have a European declination and this will conduct us to a better management of the vineyards, especially in the vine training. It is evident that the analysis of the soil is not enough to understand the plant’s necessities, because its “deficiencies or nutritional disorders” can vary based also on rainfall, the soil structure, the taproot ability …. All is ready then for artificial intelligence in the vineyard.