Irrigation of grape vine vines is crucial to stabilise production in qualitative and quantitative terms, and to satisfy market demand. It must be considered as a technique of improvement or qualitative maintenance, as well as using the minimum amount of water for optimal efficiency.
In the physiology of the grapevine, the amount of available water affects photosynthesis and growth, as well as the development of grape berries. While climate and humidity play important roles, a typical grape vine needs 25-35 inches (635-890 millimetres) of water for its survival.
A vine that does not receive the necessary amount of water will have its growth altered in a number of ways; some effects of water stress (particularly, smaller berry size and somewhat higher sugar content) are considered desirable by wine grape growers; however, the limit between a little water stress and an irrevesible plant death is very close.
During the past decades, significant changes took place in the world wine market, especially to do with its production. Wine production reaches higher levels of quality and production consistency and the effects of global warming on terroir become increasingly severe. Most viniculturists are re-examining traditional growing methods.
In order to secure long-term investment in terroir branding, to ensure stable and steady vintage quality, and ultimately compete in the mid-to-high-level global wine market – more and more “Old World” growers are turning to modern irrigation methods.
The need for modern irrigation methods in traditional “Old World” growing areas is driven by both climatic and market imperatives. Progressive viniculturists are turning to advanced irrigation to assist them in continuing to consistently produce fine wine.
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