- Fruits: grapes
- Crop Production: Winter Tolerance
Our proposal is to use a targeted, dual-component thermal system to protect against extreme cold
temperatures and reduce bud mortality in grapevines. The first component is an electrical heat wire
which is installed along the fruit wire of the vine. The second component is tube insulation that will
enclose both the fruit canes and the heating wire. A temperature monitor will activate the heating
wire during extreme cold events. The combination of the wire and the insulation should provide
much-needed protection from the extreme cold temperatures that can damage or kill a vine.
Because the heat wire remains in place year-round, the only labor that the grower will have to
undertake after initial setup is the annual installation and removal of the insulation. This is a
significant labor and cost savings as compared to other cold protection alternatives of burying vines
under the soil, wind fans, or burning debris on cold nights.
We envision that in addition to grapevines, this solution may also work for other trellised fruit that
has cold-sensitive buds (e.g. apples, nectarines, and peaches). We plan to demonstrate our
application to other grape growers in the Finger Lakes, and potentially at regional viticulture
conferences. We also intend to make a YouTube video to easily allow other growers outside our
region to understand the technology, and how it could be used on their farms.
We're excited to pioneer this system that we believe will be much more sustainable, effective, and
efficient than the current alternatives.
Project objectives from proposal:
Our proposal is to install electrical heat wire and insulation along the fruit zone of the vine to create
a targeted zone of heat. The temperature inside the insulation will be monitored with a digital
thermostat, and the system will be activated and provide heat when the temperature drops below a
threshold. The insulation will be used to contain the warmth within the fruit-zone. Additionally, in
the spring, when the insulation is removed for the growing season, the heat wire alone may be
sufficient enough to provide protection from an early frost. While our pilot is targeted to grape vines, we envision that this system could also be used for other trellised fruit, including apples, pears, and stone fruit.
Our objective is to use the system described above to automatically warm the fruiting zone when
temperatures are below a threshold to ensure that the primary buds survive and provide a full yield
of fruit, as compared to a control.