Viticulture

 

The Reserach area Viticulture supports and promotes wine-growing in South Tyrol through applied research activity. One focus of the department is to maintain and improve grape and wine quality. Another main objective is the considerate use of soil and water alongside a general respect for the environment as a whole and the development of straightforward, time- and cost-effective methods of wine cultivation.

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Varieties, clones and rootstocks

 

Introducing changes to cultivation methods or the cultivated variety range means that the vineyards must be renewed periodically. Economic success therefore largely depends on the use of healthy plants that are well suited for the location and the production targets of the vineyard.

We carry out systematic cultivation experiments with the aim of defining indicators that help to choose and optimise the selection of varieties, clones and rootstocks, and we perform selections to continuously expand our range of clones:

  • analysis of new varieties not yet approved in the area
  • studies to determine the wine quality and suitability for cultivation of new hybrids with increased resistance to vine diseases
  • assessment of new rootstocks in terms of their suitability for cultivation and their special characteristics such as resistance to drought
  • selection of suitable clones of local varieties
  • tests on foreign clones of varieties cultivated in South Tyrol
  • preservation and stocking of propagation material for approved Laimburg clones
  • care-taking and expansion of the Centre's collection of old varieties and, if not yet established, determination of their suitability for cultivation

Department head


Pre-harvest quality in viticulture

The aim of pre-harvest research is to identify which substances determine the quality of South Tyrolean grape varieties and how they can be modified with agricultural measures.

As a result, a principal focus is the strategic use of cultivation methods aimed at managing the most important quality parameters. The objective is to define to what extent substances can be controlled with the help of cultivation strategies and taking into account environmental as well as soil conditions.

Reliable and simple methods with a clear, informative value are essential to determine the quality of grapes both in the vineyard and upon delivery for further processing – a crucial requirement in assessing every vintage and optimising the wine. Specialist services include:

  • identifying the quality-determining compounds in the most important grape varieties
  • evaluation and development of agronomic measures to manage quality-defining parameters
  • evaluation and development of new methodologies to assess pre-harvest grape quality

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Cultivation and care

It requires a great deal of expertise to optimise your cultivation approach according to variety, site and desired wine type – especially when it comes to balancing ecologically sound farming practices with the requirements of quality wine-making.

Climate change is increasingly showing its effects and adds to the challenges viticulture faces as it requires wine growers to adapt their production measures. Our expertise includes:

  • physiological disorders of vines such as early bunch stem necrosis, berry shrivel and cracking
  • soil management and fertilisation
  • relevance of the intensity and length of the vegetative growth phase for grape and wine quality
  • measures to improve grape health and quality

Department head


Technology and management practices

South Tyrol has an estimated 5,100 hectares of vineyards located mainly on hillsides or in hilly areas anywhere between 200 and 1000 meters above sea level. Some 5,000 wine-growers cultivate these vineyards, resulting in an average of about one hectare per farm. Because of the small size of many farms and the extreme terrain, the majority of grapes are grown in a costly and labour-intensive way: Depending on the training system used and the level of mechanisation, wine-growers in South Tyrol spend between 400 and 700 working hours annually on every hectare of land.

In the last few years, the mechanisation of vineyard work has increased particularly on larger farms and thanks to a system of sharing machinery between farms.  Especially on small-scale farms, however, there is still a significant need to streamline cultivation procedures.

The Centre's research is geared towards finding solutions that help optimise the work flow, simple technical improvements and mechanisation options. These solutions must be ecologically sound and safe for workers while keeping in consideration the effects on grape quality.

The Technology and Management Practices department focuses on:

  • mechanisation systems
  • streamlining work flows
  • alternatives to herbicides
  • yield assessment methodology
  • testing of various tools

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