Sustainable Vineyard Water Management, 2010-2015

Lead Authors: Drs. Jim Ayars and Andrew McElrone, ARS

Grant Amount - ARS Grant for $2,563,000 in 2010

In this project, “Developing Sustainable Vineyard Water Management Strategies for Limited and Impaired Water Supplies,” industry input is helping assure that the results of this work will provide meaningful data to assist growers in producing optimum yields of quality fruit, using less water, or water which is potentially more saline. NGRA is providing $12,500 cash per year for several years of this project; contributions of land, equipment, lab evaluation and management will exceed $2 million over the life of the project. Dr. Don Suarez of the US Salinity Lab is examining soil salinity as part of this project, and presented his latest findings at an NGRA annual meeting in January 2012, and again at ASEV in 2014.  Dr. Ayars reported on the project at the California Table Grape Commission’s research seminar in February 2012. In addition, Ayars provided a “train the trainer” presentation on the project at the National Viticulture and Enology Extension Leadership Conference in March of 2015 in Lodi.  At the NGRA Annual Meeting January 28, 2014, Dr. Andrew McElrone reviewed some of the findings to date, including that some rootstocks repair embolisms rapidly, while others are simply less prone to formation of these harmful structures. Additionally, Dr. McElrone discussed the evolution of “surface renewal” technology from a complicated array of tools which needed a scientist to interpret the results to a single unit capable of sending automated evapotranspiration reports to users.  One “surface renewal” station can cover up to five acres of vineyard, and could assist irrigation managers to identify signs of stress and help determine when to water. Funding will be running out on this project after this year – but much work remains to be done, as much of the Western United States continues to struggle with reduced or impaired water supplies.  Efforts are underway to craft a new project, which will continue to test the limits of deficit irrigation strategies, and will work to integrate data available from both proximal and remote sensing technology.  Once draft final reports were completed, the Industry Advisory Committee met on October 21, 2015, in Modesto, Ca., to review the manuscripts.

Theme Committee Assignment
Production Efficiency
Grant Type
SCRI Grant
Grant Amount / Funding Year
$2,563,000 in 2010
Lead Author
Drs. Jim Ayars and Andrew McElrone
Lead Institution
Grant Period
5 years
$'s Per Year