At Deep Sky Vineyard, we’re committed to growing the best grapes possible so we can bring you, our customers, a great wine tasting experience. In 2015, we launched an initiative aimed at better understanding how great grapes can be grown in Arizona’s desert climate. It all started with a simple premise:
We have 15,000 vines, and they’re all talking to us, so we need to learn to listenTo accomplish this, we teamed with n.iolabs in 2016 to develop an Ag Platform that can provide real time information about vineyard conditions. In essence, we can see below ground to assess the water available to the vines, the rate at which they’re up-taking available water, the depths at which they’re taking water, and the water stress they’re under throughout the growing season. The information from the n.iolabs Ag Platform has been a game changer for Deep Sky for the following reasons:
- We have a complete blue print of each irrigation zones water dynamics. This allows us to irrigate to within 1% of our target moisture levels at the depths where the vines are drinking.
- We know each irrigation zones water percolation profile which enables us to do much more efficient nutrient applications.
- We can precisely increase or decrease water stress throughout the growing season to better develop our canopy and increase fruit quality.
So what does this give us in terms of insights into farming? Turns out, the answer is everything.
- We now know each zones unique characteristics and no longer follow a one size fits all watering strategy.
- We don’t water by time but by Gallons per Vine We were able to set smaller berries across all varietals which we expect will result in bigger, bolder flavors to the wine.
- We eliminated all shrivel and bunch rot in our Grenache in 2018. In prior years we dropped approximately 30% of our fruit due to shrivel and bunch rot.
- We have a complete history of every zones irrigation’s in terms of impact, depths reached, and effectiveness.
- We decreased our water use by approximately 1.6 million gallons in 2018, resulting in an annual water use of 80% of an Acre Foot of water.
- Best of all we have complete records of everything we did and when we did it during the entire 2018 growing season. This gives us the ability to adjust our farming in 2019 with precision to continuously improve the quality of our grapes.