Chapter 11

Grapevine Water Management

(book excerpts)

Grapevine water management is a key issue for vineyards. Poor water management can result in water stress or over vigorous conditions resulting unbalanced vine growth, reduced yields and inferior fruit quality. How much water is required to grow quality wine grapes is dependent upon evaporative demand at the location of the vineyard, stage of vine development, and percent ground cover by the vine’s canopy, and amount of rainfall occurring during the growing season. One of the most effective tools in managing the water needs of a vineyard is irrigation, which is used to supplement natural precipitation so that vines achieve adequate vegetative growth and berry development. The manner in which water is applied to the vineyard encompasses everything from the decision of when to apply the water, how much water to apply, and the best method in which to apply water. Vineyards can be irrigated with overhead sprinklers, drip emitters, micro-sprinklers, or furrow irrigation; each has its particular advantages and disadvantages.

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