Thursday, August 2, 2012

What is that apparatus in your vineyard?

All was quiet on the eastern front when I arrived at the winery early this morning.  It was around 6am (my circadian rhythm was disrupted by last night's full full moon), and the tranquil foggy vineyard was calling me.  There's something so comforting about the white blanket that covers up everything around us, even our magnificent view.  I started snapping pictures.  I didn't venture too far from our tasting room because I wasn't wearing proper shoes; heels actually (Yes, I'm in denial that I work at a vineyard...)  After snapping a photo of our amazing "view," I noticed a curious briefcase at the head of one of the rows of Cabernet Sauvignon.  

viader"Ah," I remembered, "It probably has to do with the water-monitor thingumabobs that Alan ordered."

Back in February under the direction of my mother Delia and my brother Alan Viader, we commissioned Fruition Sciences ( - a cutting edge viticultural support company that uses innovative technology to study the vital signs of our vines.  We are learning what makes VIADER vineyards such a unique growing environment for premium quality wine grapes, and the results are fascinating. 

In the picture you can see the monitoring apparatus is powered by the sun, and reviews two vines at once.  Those vines are shown here completely wrapped in a foil-like material.  Sensors are placed throughout inside, and a computer captures data of how much water is getting to the vine and where it is achieving the best saturation.  We conduct this survey while our irrigation system is running to get the most accurate data.  For us science geeks, it's exciting!

It has been a great learning experience for Alan, and we realized just how efficient vines truly are as an agricultural product (compared to other products like artichokes, etc.), given their extensive root structure and water retention abilities.  I'm sure my brother can explain it in a lot more detail, but he's not here today!  It was his day to survey our friends' different vineyard properties where we have future grape-sourcing contracts.  

And more importantly, it's his younger son's first birthday!  Off to celebrate!   Cheers!

Note: Fruition Sciences has its headquarters in Montpellier, France, and an office in Oakland, California.  

Happy Thursday,

Janet Viader of VIADER Napa Valley

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