Over the last half-century, northern California wineries have
come to dominate the premium wine grape industry. During the next 50 years, the
character of the new vineyard client in northern California will change. Larger
valley floor properties are heavily planted. New vineyards are more frequently
installed on hillsides, some of which are rocky and remote. They commonly
range in size from 10 to 90 acres. Owners often reside elsewhere. Yet, these
smaller projects must also produce premium wine grapes that yield a high price
point per bottle.
In the autumn 2000, a small group of professionals primarily
involved in vineyard development began meeting to discuss land use, vineyard
development and emerging technology issues. As a result of this association, a
strategic alliance was formed. Currently, the VDTG is a group of independent
professionals and service providers who work cooperatively and collectively to
produce a complete, turnkey, vineyard land development product.
The VDTG provides complete vineyard development services and
ongoing technical information support for new and existing vineyard operations:
topographic mapping & land surveying
regulatory and permit assistance
land clearing and preparation
technology-enhanced vineyard design
vineyard installation and full project management
Clients are encouraged to work closely with an experienced
multidisciplinary team thereby achieving a personalized, high-quality vineyard
product. VDTG delivers a sophisticated, well-documented product designed to
attract the premier and most serious wine producers or brokers. If necessary, at
or just prior to completion, owners interview and select annual management firms
Planning & Design
and selecting the vineyard property is a complex undertaking. Surveyors,
engineers, geologists, soils scientists, viticulturists and installers all have
key roles in the process.
With increasing hillside land use and attendant regulatory
concerns, the permitting process for vineyard development has become rigorous
and time consuming. Permitting agencies now require proposals
which include land analyses, designs and measurements that are best provided by
Implementation & Installation
Successful vineyard construction requires integrating the
engineered plans with proper implementation. The steps include; earth moving,
soil preparation, well drilling, irrigation, trellis installation and planting.
Plant materials must be carefully selected to reflect
viticultural and winemaking concerns.
Other factors which drive the process are row orientation, topography and soil
A well-coordinated team of consultants and technicians is
essential to success.
Annual Management Cycle
viticulture combines experienced vineyard management AND applied technology.
Traditional field data collection techniques coupled with
real-time ground-based weather stations, electronic probes and aerial imagery
form the basic pool of data elements.
GIS software techniques assemble the data. Reports are
produced for monitoring the annual growing cycle and for evaluating subsequent
annual farming methods.
& Production Planning
analyses of vineyard and image data
provide opportunities for developing management tools and predictive models. GIS
software can provide the base summaries for such forecasting activities.
GIS technology can be used to model raw terrain, vineyards,
caves, subsurface infrastructure and construction sites for optimum design and