In San Joaquin Valley, California, researchers are investigating the benefits of using machines to manage growth and production of wine grape vines.
Kaan Kurtural, a University of California Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist, reports mechanized practices account for about 45 percent of the pre-pruning and 17 percent of the precision pruning done in valley vineyards, while 45 percent of the leaf removal work and 7 percent of shoot thinning is done mechanically.
The study identifies ways to reduce costs in wine grape production in a region that sees relatively small profit margins. The research trial, which ran from 2013 through 2015, was conducted in an 80-acre section of a commercial Zinfandel vineyard in Kern County.
Read more about California wine and water.
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