Aims: This paper makes a brief overview of the tools and methods that have already been released or are currently under development to assess production variability in vineyards. It also reviews the main results published to date on the amount of variability observed in both yield (quantity) and grape quality at a within-field scale and some implications that the nature of the variation has for site-specific management.
Methods and results: This paper is a review that presents the main experimental results from a recent assessment of the within-field variability of the main parameters in grape production : yield, sugar content, pH, vigour and also vine water status and its link with harvest quality. Information on the spatial structure of production variation is of importance as it provides an idea of how site-specific management may be applied to a particular field. Finally, one of the key points in viticulture is the assessment of the vine water restriction and its variability, over both time and space.
Conclusion: The collection of high-resolution spatial information on crop production is now possible in viticulture. This information includes measurements of the local environment, including soil, canopy growth and the final quantity and quality of production. These new technologies and methodologies will allow growers and viticulturists to consider new management methods, more efficient experimental designs and provide a better understanding of the vine production system.
Significance and impact of study: Precision viticulture tools and methods offer great opportunities in perennial cultivations, like winegrapes. Nevertheless, there are also challenges facing the viticulture industry before widespread adoption of such technologies will occur.
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