[NAFEX] Thermal imaging to measure reflectivity in vineyards

mIEKAL aND qazingulaza at gmail.com
Sat Oct 31 12:35:55 EDT 2009

English wine gets help from space


The system can help to optimise harvests, and hopefully wine quality

A number of English vineyards have signed up to make use of a  
satellite imaging service to boost harvests.

The satellite measures a vineyard's reflectivity in a number of  
colours in the visible and infrared.

The Oenoview system, first launched in France last year, analyses the  
images to determine vine leaf density, soil water content and grape  
bunch sizes.
The English Wine Producers trade group said that wines made using the  
system could be available as early as 2011.

Oenoview was developed by the Institut Cooperatif du Vin in France  
along with Infoterra, a subsidiary of aerospace firm EADS Astrium.

The system relies on the fact that reflectivity at different  
wavelengths can give information both about the vines' foliage and the  
soil in which they are growing.

The quantity of foliage is linked to the quality of the grapes because  
it is an indirect measure of the amounts of sugars and tannins  
contained in them.
There is an ideal time to harvest each bunch, but not all bunches are  
ready at the same time.

The satellite data cuts the vineyards into two-metre-square "pixels",  
corresponding to about four vines each, and the software assigns each  
pixel a colour-coded "leaf area index".

"If there is an even distribution of blue or red images in a field,  
the leaf area index suggests that the grapes can be harvested  
altogether," said Oenoview programme manager Henri Douche.

"But if the map shows defined red and blue areas, it helps the owner  
to care for and harvest sections of the fields to produce top quality  
Julia Trustram Eve from English Wine Producers said: "Innovation is at  
the heart of the English wine industry and vineyard owners are keen to  
use technology that complements their wine-making skills.

"Developing a pilot programme to use space technology is a smart and  
exciting next step."

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