Assessing opportunities for selective winery vintage with a market-driven composite index
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An opportunity index (OISV) is proposed for selective vine harvest management to ensure vineyard sustainability making use of precision farming technologies. Vigour maps derived from remote sensors are the basis of the method. In terms of validation, the index was applied in 36 vineyard fields of different varieties in Raimat (Lleida, northeast Spain). The OISV is based on three components: (i) the spatial variability in vine vigour (to ensure variability in the quality of grapes), (ii) the spatial structure or pattern of vigour (to facilitate harvesting operations), and (iii) the availability of a minimum productive quality area within the plot (to ensure that benefits derived from the differentiation of the final product will compensate for the expenses of differential management). The results suggest that only few plots were suitable for selective vintage, although an acceptable agreement was obtained when comparing the plots harvested selectively by the winery and those classified as favourable by the OISV. The method is reliable and also allows varying the parameter specifications according to the logistics of each winery and/or actual market conditions. However, currently, the OISV can only be applied at plot level and future versions should address application at the whole vineyard scale.