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The VitiCE project uses weather, climate and viticulture science to help UK vineyards. It’s a project run by Svinergy, a partnership between Weatherquest Ltd., the United Kingdom Vineyards Association (UKVA), the National Institute of Agricultural Botany – East Malling Research (NIAB EMR), and Exeter University. Svinergy was established in 2016 to work with wine producers and grape growers in delivering weather and climate related service provision to facilitate a more sustainable UK viticulture sector.
The VitiCE project, the only one of its kind in the UK, offers UK grape growers a unique opportunity to monitor, manage, and record growing-season weather impacts on UK grape yields, via an app which is free to use in the 2017 growing season.
Relatively low and variable grape yields in the UK can in-part be directly attributed to unfavourable weather and climatic conditions. However, related factors such as disease pressures, slow or poor management responses to weather conditions, or lack of knowledge regarding appropriate varietal-climate suitability in the UK, also negatively impact the sustainability of production.
We are aiming to increase the amount of high quality wine produced in the UK by monitoring and raising awareness of growing-season weather, phenology, and grape yields. The project target is to foster knowledge exchange, increase yields and grow a body of information which is useful to everyone working in the sector.
Through funding by Weatherquest (£270k) and an EIP-Agri grant of just over £50k, the project is developing an innovative app for UK vineyards to enable three key activities.
Delivery of viticulture specific weather forecasting services for UK vineyards that will include: current weather conditions, 5-10 day weather forecasts, extreme weather alerts, and spray and harvest warnings.
Presentation of national, regional and vineyard area weather data to track how the season is progressing against: a 10-year average and the previous year; compared with other app users / vineyards; relative to the rest of the UK.
Uploading and recording key phenology, disease, harvest, and yield variables by users for up to three vineyard sites per user.