Results showed better yields, less pesticide use and better wine quality.

Up in Napa and Sonoma counties, Mark Seifert of Foley Family Wines saw what he considered “amazing results” from Thermaculture trials conducted at two operations, Sebastiani and Foley Johnson in Rutherford. Seifert, who manages 8 vineyards for Foley Family Wines stated “We couldn’t be happier with the results we saw. Not only did we get higher fruit set and yields on our Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but we cut our pest control costs significantly from what was normally used in our vineyards. Finding sustainable solutions like Thermaculture is very important to our mission at Foley.”

Al Wagner, Vice President of Vineyards at Foley Family Wines also shares Seifert’s enthusiasm for what they experienced and is excited about the potential of this new and sustainable technology. “We are off to a great beginning with our evaluation of this technology. Not only did we see yield and pest control benefits, but significant taste advantages were very evident when we blind tasted the wines made from heat-treated grapes compared to control wines from the same blocks. Not only was our viticulture staff impressed but our wine making team also experienced clear preferences for the wines that resulted from this heat treatment process.”

The Foley wines were further evaluated for sensory differences by Philip Goodband, Master of Wine who has evaluated sensory differences for over 30 different Thermaculture treated test and matching control block wines since 2013. These include wines from New Zealand, Oregon, Chile and multiple California vintners.

According to Goodband, “The Foley Family Wine trials produced the same directional differences between test and control wines as seems characteristic of the Thermaculture differences we have tasted since 2013, though the dimension of the differences seemed greater than most earlier trials. My notes from the blind tasting, to which I’ve later added the Thermaculture and control designations, were as follows;”

Thermaculture

Bright well defined fruit with a soft fleshy palate, full and long finish. High quality Chardonnay. (Clear Pref)

Control

More aromatic with greater apparent acidity, less body and shorter finish. Different enough it seems it could be from a different batch?

Thermaculture

Great colour vibrancy and definition, very floral aroma, intense floral and fruit on the palate with a lot of sweet fruit, maybe high alcohol could very well be some residual sweetness. (Clear Pref)

Control

Colour darker and less well defined. Nose whilst similar is more earthy and with less intensity. On taste, evidence of CO2 and duller, the tannins in particular seem more rustic and overall the length was shorter.

Thermaculture

Even more colour intensity, with a degree of increased richness on the nose, very powerful palate with good balance of key elements and greater length. (Clear Pref)

Control

Very intense colour, vibrant black and red fruits nose clearly very ripe with soft tannins and good length on the palate.

Looking ahead to the 2017 season, Al Wagner and his team have made the decision to purchase three machines from Agrothermal Systems and to expand their trials to three different geographies within the Foley Family Wine operations. “This will provide us with a learning opportunity to see if we can reproduce these kinds of results in different locations and attempt to solve problems specific to each location.”

According to Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems, “The Foley Family Wine trials in 2016 were the first time we have incorporated fruit set and wine quality protocols with a pesticide reduction protocol and the results are very encouraging. They show the full scope of benefits that growers can achieve with Thermaculture. We are very appreciative of Foley Family Wines willingness to help prove the scope of benefits Thermaculture offers and look forward to working with them to build their use of Thermaculture in the years ahead.”

Agrothermal Systems is based in Napa, California and is a DBA of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. Agrothermal Systems has pioneered the use of Thermaculture as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of the technology.

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