PRECISION FARMING & TOOLS
Mark is aware of every aspect of his vineyards and has optimized each vineyard’s farming and harvesting with precise technology. He believes less intervention is best in winemaking, which he accomplishes by adding a few controls into the uncontrollable aspect of farming. Precise agriculture helps target areas of vineyards for specific treatments by doing less and creating more yield.
NDVI Mapping: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a heat-sensitive map to determine areas of the vineyard of vigor rates, nutrient density, and more. This tool helps us indicate many things for precise farming and sustainability:
- Canopy management & cover crop tilling. There is a balance with growing vines. In nature, vines will either work hard on growing a lot of leaves or put more energy into growing fruit. We like to manage the canopy so that it is balanced and not using energy unnecessarily. The NDVI map helps us see which vines might be overproducing leaves rather than using energy to produce fruit and vice versa based on their vigor.
- Dual irrigation. The NDVI also shows soil moisture levels on the canopy at harvest time, which prompted Mark to develop a proprietary dual irrigation system in 1991 to target these low-moisture areas. This allows the team to only water the areas with less water-holding capacity and find weak or baby vines that need hydration.
- Harvest planning and decisions. We try to pick through a vineyard with many passes. Not all the grapes ripen all at the same time. The NDVI map allows us to see which parts of the vineyard will ripen up quickly or slowly.