Vineyard heat treatments improve fruit set and wine quality
Agrothermal Systems CEO Marty Fischer, today revealed results from preliminary 2015 trials in Bordeaux France and 2014 & 2015 trials made in Germany. “The results we have seen during a trip to France and Germany in July were very consistent with results from US trials in California and Oregon starting with 2012,” stated Fischer. “In France, we saw significant increases in berries per bunch and average bunch weight and in Germany we saw excellent fruit set and tasted three trial and control wines from 2014 trials.”
The work in Bordeaux was done at the well-known Chateau Reynon, part of the Denis Dubourdieu Domaines. “We decided to try this new technique to set more fruit on Merlot, a varietal that is always difficult to obtain adequate yields,” explained Fabrice Dubourdieu, who manages the various Dubourdieu Estates. “ We were quite pleased to see fruit set improvement with 20% more berries per bunch and 25% heavier bunches as a result of the heat treatments. This was especially impressive in a year when we had excellent weather for fruit set.” Fabrice Dubourdieu considers these results to be preliminary and plans to conduct greatly expanded trials of Agrothermal’s Thermaculture in 2016 in cooperation with the University of Bordeaux. “If we can duplicate these kinds of increases next season,” continued Fabrice Dubourdieu, “this technology would be a very profitable investment for our wine estates.”
In Germany, wines produced from the 2014 trial and control blocks at Oppenheim University were blind tasted by Matthias Porten among others including Marty Fischer. According to Porten, a well-known Enologist, “All three trial wines were preferred over matching controls. The advantages of trial block wines over control were significant as to wine color, aroma, flavor and complexity. I much preferred the wines treated with heat said Porten.” The test wines included Riesling, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Muller-Thurgau (a Riesling and Madeleine Royal Hybrid) originated in Switzerland but are widely grown in Germany.
This season in Germany trials were expanded to the Ludger Veit Winery in Osann-Monzel in the famous Mosel River Valley. According to Marty Fischer, “We saw excellent fruit set on 3 of 4 varietals led by Riesling with 48% more berries per bunch vs. control, St. Laurent with 27% more berries and Chardonnay with 13% more berries. Dornfelder did not react to the heat treatment.” The Ludger Veit Winery trials are more focused on wine quality that will be evaluated after harvest and winemaking is completed. According to Fischer, “We are very pleased to see results in Europe that confirm the kind of results experienced in the US since 2012. Clearly the Thermaculture technique is effective in various climates and on most if not all varietals.”
Agrothermal Systems has pioneered the use of Thermaculture® treatment services as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities.