Oregon viticulture veteran and experienced Thermaculture developer to offer application services to regional wine grape growers.
Today Chad Vargas, President of NewGen Vineyard Services in Newberg, Oregon and Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems of Napa, CA jointly announced their strategic partnership to expand Thermaculture® treatment services in the Northern Willamette Valley region. Vargas, in his capacity as Viticulturist and Vineyard Manager for Adelsheim Vineyard began using Agrothermal technologies in 2012 and was one of the initial development partners for this innovation. While Vargas will continue to consult for Adelsheim, effective January of 2017 he has formed NewGen Vineyard Services to bring the benefits of Thermaculture and other proven new technologies to area growers seeking innovative and sustainable viticultural practices.
According to Fischer “We are delighted to see Chad take the lead in Oregon since very few people know our technology better. Chad saw the potential benefits of heat treatments in 2012 and was the first to prove its effect on wine quality improvement. Since the 2012 vintage of Pinot Noir, Agrothermal has enjoyed serving Adelsheim heat treated and control block wines to demonstrate the differences Thermaculture can make in wine flavor and aroma. Chad also pioneered the use of heat to dry off vines after rains and to improve BRIX levels with heat.”
Vargas is a well know Viticulturist and involved with many industry groups. He is on the Board of Directors Chairs the groups technical committee for Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE), a third party certifying group of vineyard and winery sustainability. Vargas was honored in 2015 as the Oregon Wine Industry’s Annual Outstanding Industry Service Award. He worked with Adelsheim since 2006 after starting his career with Kendell Jackson. Chad holds BS and MS degrees in Crop Science and Plant Pathology.
According to Vargas, “This just seems like a natural step for me to take at this point in my career. Bringing my Vineyard Management experience to other Oregon wine grape growers and introducing them to new technologies like Thermaculture is very exciting and challenging.” In talking about the benefits of Thermaculture, Vargas went on to say “My experience with Thermaculture has resulted in better fruit set that increases yields. Importantly research has shown that heat treatments create abiotic stress and this leads to increased phenol and antioxidants in the wine to enhance flavor and provide greater human health benefits. This is really exciting and will benefit growers in Oregon’s unpredictable climate.”
Vargas will also be working closely with Agrothermal Systems to pioneer the use of heat treatment for other Oregon crops for which past trials have shown grower benefits from the use of Thermaculture. These include cane berries, cherries and various trellised orchard crops.
Fischer stated, “Chad can be a big help to us beyond wine grapes. We hope to interface him with our various operations and science development efforts in both hemispheres”. In addition to the US, Agrothermal has equipment in the EU, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa and expects to expand to other parts of the world in 2017 and beyond.
Agrothermal Systems has pioneered the use of Thermaculture® treatment services as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs, manage crop damage from inclement weather events and improve crop qualities.