The drought in the vineyards has become a recurring topic for several years.
Winegrowers have to adapt to difficult climatic conditions, extreme temperatures and a severe water deficit that is becoming increasingly precocious. These climatic events have serious consequences on yields and harvest quality. Many winegrowers today affirm the need to irrigate to ensure the sustainability of the vineyards.
This season, the ODG des Côtes de Provence has joined forces with the distributor Racine, the consultant Ag-Irrig and the company itk to understand the management of water stress in the appellation. Every year, the ODG has to submit an irrigation application to the INAO, the authorisation to irrigate being subject to a derogation between the 1st of May and the 15th of August.
The local weather data and field observations usually used to prepare the application for exemption can demonstrate water stress. The ODG Côtes de Provence wished to equip itself with an efficient and precise decision-making tool in order to refine the diagnosis of the situation of the vineyard and thus operate at the most relevant time.
Knowledge of the water status of the vine is essential for the management of the vineyard both quantitatively (yield) and qualitatively (organoleptic profile).
For the past five viticultural seasons, Itk has been offering the Vintel® solution, which makes it possible to monitor the water status of vineyard plots in real time. The tool simulates the basic foliar water potential and proposes irrigation recommendations according to the parameterized plot. The vine is simulated in its pedoclimatic conditions in order to be as close as possible to the constraints of the terrain.
Racine and its “Irrigation Management” department, with the technical support of Ag-Irrig, has been distributing the Vintel® solution to its customers for two seasons, particularly in the Côtes de Provence appellation.
It is by joining forces that this project to monitor reference plots of land was built on the appellation.
Ten plots were simulated in Vintel® this year in order to have the best representation of the Côtes de Provence terroirs. Coupled with field monitoring and foliar water potential measurements carried out by Racine and Marc Gelly d’Ag-Irrig, the water balances showed an accelerated fall in the basic foliar water potential (below -0.2 bar), as well as in the water reserve usable by the vine in the soils (below 30%) at the end of June.
Vintel® simulations were used to monitor the progress of water stress at the start of the 2019 season in the appellation. On 20 June 2019, the ODG Côtes de Provence sent a file to the INAO to request an irrigation exemption which was accepted on 24 June 2019..
The ODG recommends for the wine growers a controlled irrigation during the growth of the bay in order to reach the profile of rosé wine desired by the appellation of the Côtes de Provence.