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Sustainable Winegrowing with Vineyard Team

Get the latest science and research for the wine industry with Sustainable Winegrowing. Vineyard Team brings you the experts on resource issues and business trends related to sustainable agriculture to help you put sustainability into practice. Learn more at


234: Sustainable Tasting Room Tips | Marketing Tip Monday
Your tasting room may be the most customer-facing facet of your wine business. This makes it the perfect setting to display your dedication to sustainability. Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. On a recent Vineyard Team staff trip to Oso Libre, we immediately noticed how they showcased their passion for sustainability through out the property. By providing visual cues at your tasting room, you can let your guests know that the wine they sip is more than delicious – it’s environmentally and socially responsible. This Marketing Tip will inspire you to share your commitment in fun, decorative ways. I highly recommend going to the show notes and clicking on “Sustainable Tasting Room Tips” to see pictures of all the great signage we found at Oso Libre. Sign Sustainably Oso Libre highlights their sustainable certification right from the front gate with a custom sign. Their passion is seeded throughout every area of the property. From sustainable signs posted on the fence line to informational pieces at the tasting room bar, every wall has a message that connects guests with what sustainability means to Oso Libre. Consider where your guests meander to at your property and how you can place signage to tell them more about your brand. At Oso Libre, curious tasters are enticed by a plaque as they walk along the vineyard rows to the tasting room front door. This sign defines the seven values of sustainability; Social Responsibility, Water Management, Safe Pest Management, Energy Efficiency, Habitat, Business, and Always Evolving. By creating a piece of in-depth material, you welcome your customers to dig a little deeper and learn exactly how your brand embodies sustainability. Philanthropy is very important to Oso Libre’s owners Chris and Linda. A sign in the shade by the outdoor seating shares information about their Por Vida Foundation. Proceeds from various winery activities like events and bottle sales are donated to cancer research, veterans’ services, animal services, and family support programs. Consider how you give back to your community and tell your customers about it. They will love learning how you take care of our most valuable resource - our people. Tell Your Sustainable Story We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing yours today!       Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Sustainable Tasting Room Tips *** *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Apply for SIP Certified Wine Center of Effort's Sustainable Story feature in Grape and Wine Magazine Marketing Tips eNewsletter Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
02:55 6/24/24
233: The Gap Between Space and Farm: Ground Truthing Satellite Data Models
The goal of the NASA Acres Consortium is to bridge the gap between space and farms to create sustainable food systems now and in the future. Yu Jiang, Assistant Professor of Systems Engineering and Data Analytics, School of Integrative Plant Science Horticulture Section Cornell AgriTech explains how this group of researchers is using land-based robots to ground truth data from satellites and aerial imaging to create predictive models. The project aims to bring cost effective solutions for disease management, breeding, pruning, and more to farmers of all sizes.  Resources:         117: Grapevine Mildew Control with UV Light 129: The Efficient Vineyard Project 191: CropManage: Improving the Precision of Water and Fertilizer Inputs 199: NASA Satellites Detect Grapevine Diseases from Space Convolutional Neural Networks for Image-Based High-Throughput Plant Phenotyping: A Review Deep Semantic Segmentation for the Quantification of Grape Foliar Diseases in the Vineyard Deep Learning-based Autonomous Downy Mildew Detection and Severity Estimations in Vineyards NASA Acres - applying satellite data solutions to the most pressing challenges facing U.S. agriculture Yu Jiang Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today is Yu Jiang. He is an assistant professor of systems engineering and data analytics in the School of integrative plant science horticulture section at Cornell agritech. Thank you for being on the podcast   Yu Jiang  0:12  Thanks Craig for having me for these podcasts.   Craig Macmillan  0:15  I found out about you, because you're connected to the NASA acres Consortium, which is doing a bunch of really cool stuff for all kinds of crops around the world and winegrapes turning out to be part of it. What is what is NASA acres,   Yu Jiang  0:28  So I got to adopt the some of the official description about a NASA acre so our audience can better understand what's our mission and what's our approach. So NASA acres consortium is commissioned under NASA Applied Sciences program, and brings the value of Earth observation technology down to earth. NASA acres consortium established the march 2023 And then led by Dr. Alissa Witcraft from the University of Maryland. NASA acres is NASA's second consortium devoted to strengthening food security and agriculture, followed by the success of NASA harvest, a global focus a consortium but this time, NASA Acers specifically emphasizes on the US own agriculture land in NASA acres, we bridge the gap from space to farm and adaptation to impact to gather with US farmers, ranchers, and other agri food system decision makers who are charged with addressing the most pressing challenges to sustainable, productive, resilient agriculture now and in the future. to ensure our missions, NASA acres utilize a consortium structure to bring together a geographically, semantically and personally diverse group of agriculture actors, and partners from both public and private sectors collaborated within a model that matches ivory cultures own highly dynamic and diverse needs, and flexible partnerships and rapid actions on tools in NASA acres that will help ensure that a satellite based Earth Observations applications are user driven and free for all the preppers we envision .   Craig Macmillan  2:25  a huge mission. There's a bunch of different technologies that are involved here. And you're involved in a bunch of them. One that I'm particularly curious about was we had a guest on the podcast from Cornell Katie Gold, she was working with hyperspectral imaging and the detection of plant stress, but as a plant disease. And that's the that's the sky. Right? That's the information coming from satellites or whatever. You are the boots on the ground person. Is that right?   Yu Jiang  2:49  Yes, correct. I'm on the ground, I'm doing the groundwork.   Craig Macmillan  2:53  All right, we're literally grounding. So as far as that project goes, I understand that you're using robots and with sensors and artificial intelligence and whatnot to detect and predict disease spread. You tell me more about that.   Yu Jiang  3:09  For my account of a personal program, and the involvement of with NASA acres, you know, project, we bring in new, especially ground robots, we use various internet of of things, sensing network technologies, that we can offer the information as the ground truth matterments that many of these you know satellite or Earth observation data streams can use to try and various models for prediction, or estimation of various things of interest. And disease is definitely one of the biggest things for the ineyard management's currently adding in the future.   Craig Macmillan  3:50  Absolutely. If I understand what this work is on the ground as its ground truthing what the hyperspectral imaging is telling us is that right?   Yu Jiang  4:00  Roughly yes, if you can see there, all the current paradigm of doing remote sensing work. Most of the time, people are really focusing on the modeling, or how we can find the best and model to link or connect the hyperspectral signals collect data from, you know, satellite based or airborne based imagery systems, we use the ground truth data collected by a human on the ground. And these have been proven very successful in the past to produce various models that we are using right now including weather forecast, but with the very rapid and unprecedented climate challenges, and also the induced disease pressures. We are kind of lagging behind with the speed or pace we need to develop new models to tackle these problems. And that's a reason we want the robot to do so so that we can catch up with the disease. This can Have a fashion or progression speed, but also offer new tools for our viewers to use for their management decision making.   Craig Macmillan  5:08  So tell me about the robots, what are the robots doing?   Yu Jiang  5:12  So we developed a customized robot called the phytopathobot short for PPP. So basically phytopathology there's, my colleague, Katie Gold right is a scientist, that who really work on plant disease, and the bot is just the short name for the robots. And we put these two together, and basically just shows we integrated the kind of advantages offered robotic or automation systems with the new AI capability. So this robots can really bring the human experience and intelligence to all the fields that can do for example, if you see scouting recommendation, or some other, you know, checking functions that otherwise currently we have no human resources to do so for every single farm at the present time.   Craig Macmillan  6:06  Right? Is it fair to say that the training part would be described as artificial intelligence? Or should we call it neural network hearing? Or what would be the appropriate technical term for that part of it? Because I have a question about that.   Yu Jiang  6:17  Yeah, I think, broadly speaking, is a part of the artificial intelligence.   Craig Macmillan  6:23  Okay.   Yu Jiang  6:23  And that is more off the AI application for agriculture.   Craig Macmillan  6:28  What's happening is there's cameras then or there's some kind of a, either hyperspectral, or there's something that's getting information that's mounted on the robot, right?   Yu Jiang  6:40  Yes, correct. Our robot is currently equipped in ways both RGB multispectral thermal and the hyperspectral sensors, which many more on the road.   Craig Macmillan  6:52  And then you get readings. And then you know, human, I would assume says yes, this is disease, or yes, this is not. And then over many, many iterations, then the artificial intelligence learns what that is. And then it can be autonomous, you can send it out and it'll find it on its own, identify it on its own.   Yu Jiang  7:14  Yes, so I would see the autonomy is achieved at two levels. First is all the AI system for disease identification and quantification. We have a twin various models, with the expertise from our like, it's 30 plus year career technicians. And now we just a brand Hey, spray into the AI system that we can rely on to detect the disease in the field, specifically for a grape downey and powdery mildews at the moment. But at the same time, we also train the AI systems to guide the robots, autonomously navigating in the vineyard. is much more like the similar technology Tesla or other you know, EV car manufacturers are using for autonomous driving, but now just say, equipped those technologies with this ag robot that can do with autonomous navigation in vanguard in alternative in many of the different fields for agriculture purposes.   Craig Macmillan  8:14  the future of this technology, or the robots gonna continue to be a part of it, or are we going to be at a point where we're relying solely upon the aerial or orbit based imagery?   Yu Jiang  8:26  That's a great question. And I actually want to set up some of the context. information for our audience,   Craig Macmillan  8:33  please.   Yu Jiang  8:33  So yeah, the robots we kind of referred to here, actually those intelligent, you know, agent that can perform certain tasks in your backyard, or do the actual right to do all these operations, like a spring harvesting, you know, picking samples, all these, then when we consider how are we going to strategically and effectively deploy those robots? That's a big question is not a trivial because each robot at the current, you know, time would cost roughly 50,000 to $60,000. I think for many of the large farms, or wineries, the company will be able to afford that. For many of the small to medium sized farms, these can be a barrier for them to adopt the latest digital technology, which I hate, you know, that part as technologist. So one of the possibility is actually linked to the NASA acres project and the mission is a how we can use all sorts of information that can be affordably available to the growers to really use that for decision making. And a while of the concept we propose here is to make a closed loop joint training system that can connect the proximal sensing from the robots and other drone systems, we use the Earth observation data offered by federal agencies such as NASA, so that later all the growers can really enjoy, you know, using a very low cost or affordable platform offered from NASA or NASA acres consortia to make decisions on their individual farms. But largely training, the costs of a training such a model is taking over by large growers, largely, you know, stakeholders and some sort of a, you know, public and research institute that can balance the way or how the disadvantages you know, community can't adopt the latest technology.   Craig Macmillan  10:44  That is fascinating. You mentioned tasks, what kind of tasks are you talking about?   Yu Jiang  10:49  The current account of the PPP robots can do two tasks. First thing is for disease recognition, and the qualification, as I mentioned, for downey, and powerdy, and then now PPP can also generate a map right after the scanning off your vineyard, where those disease really severely infected your plants right now. And we working in progress try to use these PPP derive the map to correlate with the satellite maps or hyperspectral imaging so we can get so we can find which hyperspectral signals gone and correlated with diseases infection on the ground. And this is especially important for crops like grapes because of manual for the disease, or occurred from the bottom of the canopy, or the side of the canopy, where many off of the you know, satellite or Earth observation systems may not easily see at the beginning. But those signals will be embedded in the hyperspectral signatures.   Craig Macmillan  11:55  Got it. Okay. So I could get a map that would allow me to spray pesticide a fungicide very, very targeted way is kind of where we're going with this.   Yu Jiang  12:06  Yes, correct. I'm actually gonna just share some other ongoing effort here. Also, while also my colleague Dr. Devika Daughtrey from plants, Plant Pathology at Cornell agri tech, who identified the use of the UV, as treatment, powdery mildew or Downy Mildew for our grapes. And our account of ongoing efforts is to synchronize that map generated by PPP and the transfer to the UV robots. So now UV robots are gonna rely on that map to apply the UV treatment to balance the power usage and the hopefully to also maximize the contents of the disease spreading in the vineyard.   Craig Macmillan  12:52  That's really exciting. I understand the USDA also has some some role in this technology or related technologies.   Yu Jiang  12:59  Yeah, you ask the actually is a big partner of the whole team, especially for the grape genetics research unit, here in Geneva, New York. And we have a very multidisciplinary team, I will see I can see is from like a plant breeding to genetic to plant pathology now, including myself from engineering and robotics. And we also have about informatics, and we some colleagues from other universities on economy and marketing. So the whole team's efforts is back to a systems engineering approach, I would say. So when we look at the whole production, right, it's not just that, yeah, we have this robot that can do proceed and spray or deliver the UV treatment can solve all these questions. It's just hard to imagine that simple. So then we when we look at the whole agriculture production system, we started with the best plant material. And if we started with the building a candidate or a successful candidate data, usually just to make the rest of the whole production management much easier than ever before.   Craig Macmillan  14:14  Yeah, absolutely.   Yu Jiang  14:15  That's where, you know, all the scientists on the team really excited about how we can breed a new plant materials that have more like a natural resistance to plant the disease or maybe other stresses so that later on the in season management, it can be much more easily, you know, controlled or conducted by the growers. That Castile enable sustainable, you know, agriculture while maximizing the profitability for many of the growers in the future.   Craig Macmillan  14:45  I understand that one of the projects you've worked on had to do with phenotyping. So if I'm reading plants, there's a particular trait that I want and there's a particular expression of that trait that I want, whether it's disease tolerance or drought tolerance or salt tolerance. answer whatever it is, but that aspect of plant breeding is very difficult and takes a long time traditionally, and takes a high level of expertise. What is this idea of high throughput? phenotyping? What's that all about?   Yu Jiang  15:13  If you can have a think about the whole history of plant breeding, all the way you treat the back to mon Tao, we are human phenotyping is the best way, we just go to the field, plant and various plant materials, and just watch their performance in the field and find the best suitable for us. Right? So so then we recognize the traditional breeding, it becomes a numbers game, the more we test, the higher the possibility, we're going to find something, going t obe suitable for us, right? So we say it's a matter of who can email you this account of a traditional breeding way that requires the highest throughput phenotyping. Because the more you testing in the field, the higher the possibility we got to get something successful, and how to evaluate in the field is the biggest question right now. And that's where the high throughput plant phenotyping plays a vital role to address that bottleneck. So instead of for a breeder, to raw, only, you know, hundreds of 1000, you know, testing materials, the now can run, you know, 10,000, or even 100,000 in a year. That's how we hope to speed up the entire breeding cycles.   Craig Macmillan  16:25  So tell me the details of the tech of the details of the so I get some, I breed some plants, I've got some seeds, I'm gonna plant some seeds, right, I've got genetic recombination, now we gotta cross. How does this technology actually play a role? I put a bunch of plants in front of it, or how does it work?   Yu Jiang  16:46  Yep, so So in my understanding, there are actually two different paths ways to use that. One is along the traditional ways, as we just described, basically, we just find the best performancer from the field, right, and the system would just behave like a human in the field, we just find the tallest one, then we just a mirror the height of the plants in the field using the AI system with the robot, or if we want find more disease resistance is more like a what the PPB is helping right now, go to the field check a differente. And though gene all types off with a group of eyes, and then we find the least the infection as the candidate for the next one, right, this is a more like a traditional way. But now the second pathway is even more exciting is through the genetic studies. So once we kind of forget these phenotypes, especially there are differences, we have many different ways now can sequence them to understand their DNA markers and sequences, so that we will be able to work with the bell informaticians, to find which genes are associated with the phenotypic trees have a desire. Okay, so certain genes in my show, okay, the high disease resistance always associated with certain region in your DNA, and that's very likely being the gene or the region really control the resistance right to that particular disease. And if we ran multiple of these experiment, we get more and more as a candidate of Regents, and lead her on instead of keep running the field of trials, which still consume a lot of resources and the timing, because you need to wait until the plants are mature, and, you know, go through the entire season, we can now rely on those genetic, you know, information to identify the next around of a candidate, if the content of those gene regions is very likely, they're gonna have some, you know, resistance to certain disease. And that's another whole pathway, in my opinion, to facilitate the cultivar development in the future.   Craig Macmillan  18:58  And what is the role of AI in that?   Yu Jiang  19:00  So AI, please several rules there. So first, is to help the phenotyping itself, right. So basically, in the past, we sent a large group of it, you know, people go to the field and check the planet, hide diseases, infection, fruit size, you name it. And now we can just use, you know, robots to take images or even our cell phone to take an image. And then the AI will just mimic a human behavior to identify Oh, where the plant is, how tall the plant is, what's the number of leaves within that image or a number of a fruit fruit the size, a little versus, you know, trees and AI definitely now, at least, that being comparable with human performance for many of these tasks. And the other way is actually, to use AI as another tool to make a better prediction of relationship between the phenotypic trees and their genetic variants, right as we discuss for the second impassively is basically made to find that the association between genetic and phenotypic variants, and the AI also now plays a vital role to help us to find those relationships. It goes beyond traditional statistics human developed, and the find many interesting and hidden relationships that are currently statistic based approach cannot find.   Craig Macmillan  20:24  Wow, that's amazing. There's a couple of other things that that I that I was researching you that I noticed that were very, very, like practical right now, today, please, can I have some kind of technologies. One is improving the efficiency of pruning grapevines? And then I think I read this right, using facial recognition, AI technology to recognize powdery mildew infections. I would love to know about those two things, because those are two things that I would if I had it, I would use it today.   Yu Jiang  20:51  For sure. Let's start with the disease part. Yeah, cuz that's just allow what we just discussed why we developed that tool is basically a request actually, from my colleagues from the breeding and genetics slide. Okay. So in the past, my colleague, Dr. Lance Candle-Davison, at the USDA ARS develop a protocol that can use a one centimeter leaf disk as an assay to evaluate the disease progression, on the group leaf tissues, and then later on that can help him as a pathogen geneticists, to find the genes related to the disease resistance to powdery and downy mildews. But the challenge is, in the past, we have to train a bunch of, you know, technicians and the postdocs, even some of the other grad and graduate students at Cornell, to sit in front of a optical microscope and put the sample on our eight turn to like a tax 100x. And then manually identify how the pathogen really grew in the past a couple of days during the experiment, right, and then counted the number of a hyphal, which is a particular organ of the pathogen being grown, right. And then at the end of the day, they turn all these numbers back, and they will be able to run some quantitative genetic analysis, try to find the relationship. And I tried to once to be honest.   Craig Macmillan  22:27  Okay, yeah, I spent a lot of I spent a lot hours with a dissecting scope. So I hear you Isn't that fun?   Yu Jiang  22:34  Well, I want to see, for the first a couple of new samples. Yeah, it's it's a new experience for anyone, right? And if it's like, oh, yeah, I get that. After trial, you know, 10 samples. I'm done today. I don't want to see the front end of the microscope that day. And don't ask me to do this again. Right. It's quite tedious. And as a person, you'll feel fatigued very quickly. Yep. Very quickly, because you need to, to be super concentrated on what are you observing right now? And then also make the columns in your brain? I don't know how I did that. But I did. But after 10 samples, no, no more?   Craig Macmillan  23:16  Yeah. Yeah.   Yu Jiang  23:17  So that's the motivation for us to consider how the AI system can really help us, right? Because basically, what do we want the AI to do is giving you know, an image? Can you tell me? Which part content of the hypho And then tell me how I mean, how many of these hyphos are within that image? That's all right. So it's very much like the facial recognition technology we're using every single day. So our smartphone or maybe other security checking, you know, systems, right? And that just to give us motivation, hey, why not? Let me just build the robot and some of the AI tools that we can automate this whole process. So later on, instead of asking our students to do that very tedious work of observing the dissecting microscope, we will be able to allow them to do more intelligent work, how to find or improve the approval from the genetics, the perspective or the breeding perspective, rather than letting them doing this repeated and boring work. And that's the whole motivation here. And that's a reason why we can't have a proposed out method and that really got some success and to speed up that process. And now, just want to share with you in the past the year 2023 Last group, by using this technology was able to find a 60 more quantitative trait, a low sigh, which you can see there are data that gene regions related to certain, you know, phenotypic traits. And here in this study, that's more for the powdery mildew resistance. just named as single year, his team found 60 More as compare with, we fund probably 40 In the past four decades.   Craig Macmillan  25:08  Wow, wow, that's fantastic. There's so much here. There's so much stuff going on in it, as I have guests on that are working in these areas. It's just is it every day, I'm just learning so much new stuff, but I can't let you go without talking about pruning. I just, I just have to know about that I've I pruned a lot of grape vines personally, and I've trained people and you know, and there's, there's this, well, I'll just break it down for you. Pruning grape vines is an art form. And I don't care what kind of Trellis I don't care what kind of grape, whatever it is. And even if you're mechanized, that you gotta tune this thing up, and you got to collect data, and you got to figure out how this is gonna work. And when you have vines that are being pruned, you're trained, every single time somebody that I've been working with, usually above me was like, do these people really know what they're doing? Because they can't screw it up. Right? So now, is this going to help me? I mean, this is do you have technology? That's gonna help me you? I mean, I need this help.   Yu Jiang  26:02  Yes. Also, simple answer is A Yes, yes. And yes. So we are developing actually, the technology for the broader pruning a system for both apples and grapes as perennial crops, because they do need this type of technology to help based on my personal experience in the past three years, with both the pruning for apples and pruning for grapes, I share your burden Craig, it's not only you, but as an observer, and both the person who did the pruning, okay, using the knives, I have a strong feeling, I don't know what I'm doing.   Craig Macmillan  26:44  Right?   Yu Jiang  26:44  Right, I have a lot of criteria being you know, taught, say you need to find a branch that thick or that long, then you need to cut to certain lengths or just a cut them entirely, so that you can have new shoots coming with more healthy groups and the more productive grooves in the year. But to be honest, and once you get into the field, maybe perhaps the first several you keep that in mind. And then otherwise, oh, yeah, I just feel like these two needs to be cut. Don't ask me why I just feel that way. Right. And this is a kind of shows the non uniformity among the workforce. If I'm a beginner, I have less experience, I gotta be low in my working efficiency, I am going to create more problems, and rather than more success pruning, for the management, and obviously, the more counter for trend and people needs to be you know, pay them more because they have those experiences. So that all comes through the labor shortage issue, then it's just really hard to find those skilled people. So in my group, we kind of develop we are developing new 3d imaging technologies. Oh, wow. Yeah, that can get the very high fidelity of the 3d models of your grape vines and the apple trees in the field. And then once we get to some models, we can extract the skeleton is much more like how human described that, oh, yeah, that's my skin, and then I have to shoes and how they grow. And then we just be able to do that in a granular detail with all the needed information, like what's the diameter, or what's the length for each of these branch. And then due to all we can, based on our predefined the pruning criteria, to decide where are the cutting points, so that either a person or maybe a machine, or maybe a robot in the future, can go to the field directly cut based on the information we already get. Yeah, and the good thing is now with this whole kind of a new approach, instead of based on our existing you know, criteria, we can also form all different sets of criteria to really prune it in whatever way we want because that's a digital system. It won't hurt anything rather than using some of the power from you right? And then we can count off a get a difference you though proven the vineyard to take a look which we better serve our purpose. And we are also working with some offer collaborators try to incorporate to the growth models for grape vine. Try to see with different pruning strategy how the group vine or apple trees gonna grow during the growing season. And how I mean for me differently you know, branch structures and maybe different fruits load and the distribution with a hope you know, if we know this information beforehand, we can let the universe to determine what might be the best strategy we want to do as the you Though time progress to the green season, so do you have much more information in advance? Rather than Oh, yeah, I got it just to do the pruning. But that's the best I can do.   Craig Macmillan  27:15  Right? Right, right. So it sounds like that could be kind of an iterative process, you have a robot go through, and you get your 3d model, and you bring it back. And then you develop an algorithm essentially, that says, Keep this, don't keep this keep this, don't keep this, cut it here, cut it there, then you could execute that. Exactly, basically, to the vine.   Yu Jiang  30:29  Yes. Correct.   Craig Macmillan  30:30  And then you could have it grow. And then you can come back the following year, and say, Okay, well, what happened? And you could refine that model over time.   Yu Jiang  30:39  Yes, correct. That that's exactly the concept called a digital twin. Wow. Yeah, we see is a product actually from NASA, used to use that for you know, making the Mars rovers or the moon rovers, because they need to simulate so many different things before they put the actual manufacturing, right. But now we want to adopt these concepts for agriculture, before we do any of the decision making on pruning or harvesting. We want to see how they progress in the digital world, because it just takes us so minimal cost, and then we can have better understanding which way might be the best, we want to move forward.   Craig Macmillan  31:20  Wow, that's really exciting stuff. This technology is probably still in its infancy, I would guess.   Yu Jiang  31:27  Yes. Correct. I mean, although now we have more and more 3d imaging technologies and even more like a loose AI driven approaches. But it still is early stage, we are having some challenges from the field. So that's a reason we are, working hard to make progress. And I hope to share more things, you know, in the coming years with the audience here and hopefully demonstrated to the grape industry someday.   Craig Macmillan  31:53  Yeah, absolutely. Keep going. We're out of time. But I want to what is it one thing you would recommend to grape growers around this kind of topic, these topics, I guess I should say,   Yu Jiang  32:05  Can I share two actually?   Craig Macmillan  32:07  Please yeah, to is great.   Yu Jiang  32:09  Why I really want to share with with all the growers as we are at the point where many of these digital technologies are being more and more available and affordable. So please keep your eyes and the for example, at Cornell, my extension program focuses on the digital agriculture trials for adoption short for data aims to fill in the gap between you know, the growers and the startup companies who deliver those new da tools for production management, and also tried to offer more knowledge base to our growers, they can learn and better use these tools by themselves. So this is very important, as many of these tools go and just a calming and you don't want to miss the opportunity offer using the best of the tool to shop yourself and make better management. The second thing I also really want to share with our audience here is pleased to share all these exciting lands from digital agriculture to our case, to younger generations who are working in your, you know, vineyard or winery. I'm a strong believer the best investment is always you know, for the future generations. If they got excited if the et buy in all these ideas and put more efforts to start, you know, learn and develop new technologies back to agriculture and the food sectors. I believe we're gonna have a sustainable and resilient agriculture in the future for sure.   Craig Macmillan  33:39  That is fantastic. Where can people find out more about you.   Yu Jiang  33:42  you can check on my labs website is a se a i r dot c a l s dot I will provide you the link so that you can share with the audience.   Craig Macmillan  33:58  Fantastic. So our guest today with Yun Jiang. He's a system professor of systems engineering and data analytics in the School of integrative plant science the whole crypto section of Cornell agritech thank you so much for being on the podcast. This was really fun.   Yu Jiang  34:13  Thanks so much Craig for having me today and as my priority to share our ongoing efforts and research with the broader audience here for grapes. Thanks, everyone.   Transcribed by Nearly perfect transcription by
38:03 6/20/24
232: Data-Driven Irrigation | Bien Nacido Vineyard's Sustainable Story | Marketing Tip Monday
“Food disconnect” is a term used to describe the average consumer’s lack of knowledge about where their food comes from and how it’s made. When it comes to wine, most consumers only see the finished product in the grocery store or tasting room! Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. While everyday agricultural practices may feel ordinary to you, these topics are fascinating to the average consumer, who likely has little to no insight into the block to bottle process behind their glass of wine. Describing specific practices and why they are important helps customers understand the time and care that went into producing their wine. Sharing your unique story welcomes them to take part in the good feelings that come from supporting a business that is doing better for the people and the planet. People care about social and environmental issues, and want to support brands that share their values and do something about it. This week’s Marketing Tip tells the inspiring Sustainable Story of how Bien Nacido Vineyards’ irrigation team demonstrates diligent Water Management through the use of technology and a growth mindset. Data-Driven Irrigation Water is a valuable resource for all forms of life. But it is limited and must be used responsibly. Bien Nacido Vineyards’ team of experienced irrigators, led by Miguel Asuncion, take several steps to ensure efficient water use. To avoid system malfunction and uneven hydration, vineyard stewards must constantly maintain their systems. Bien Nacido’s team performs multiple line flushes each year to keep them clear of dirt and debris, and routinely tests distribution uniformity to ensure consistent hydration across their diverse terrains and elevations. Vines aren’t heavy water users, and Mother Nature provides a portion of what they do need. Bien Nacido’s irrigators track rainfall, weather data, and soil moisture levels, and estimate evapotranspiration. With this data, they tailor their irrigation schedule based on the land’s needs. When their data shows their vines need water, the team of irrigators waits until the sun is down. They irrigate during dark hours because without the sun’s heat, the vines and soil can more efficiently absorb and utilize what is applied. But they believe opportunities for enhancement never end. Bien Nacido partners with experts to help identify even more areas for improvement. They have created a plan to advance their soil and sap flow monitoring technologies, and seek further optimization opportunities with regular analyses of their irrigation system’s design, filtration, and pressure regulation. Tell Your Sustainable Story We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing yours today!       Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Apply for SIP Certified Wine Center of Effort's Sustainable Story feature in Grape and Wine Magazine Marketing Tips eNewsletter Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
03:14 6/10/24
231: Stacking Regenerative Practices to Create a Healthy Vineyard
Lange Twins has implemented individual regenerative practices but now they are asking, what would happen if they stacked them? Kendra Altnow, Sustainability Manager at Lange Twins Family Winery & Vineyards and a 5th generation Lange shares Project Terra. The goals are to increase biodiversity, build and enrich the soil and improve watershed through shifting farming practices, restoration and conservation. They are accomplishing this through grazing livestock, establishing permeant ground cover, reducing tillage, improving native habitat, and reducing reliance on herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Resources:         REGISTER | June 12, 2024 : Regenerative Agriculture in a Production Vineyard 2.0 Tailgate 121: Regenerative Agriculture (Rebroadcast) BIFS Field Day Cover Cropping and Livestock Grazing for Regenerative Agriculture Blue Point Conservation Science California Department of Farming and Agriculture Center for Land Based Learning Community Alliance with Family Farmers Hedgerow Farms Kendra Altnow Kendra Altnow – Instagram Lange Twins Vineyards Hosts Cover Crop and Livestock Grazing Field Day Lange Twins Lange Twins Winery and Vineyard – Instagram Natural Resource Conservation Service Paicines Ranch Xerces Society Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today is Kendra Altnow she is sustainability manager at Lange Twins family winery and vineyards and she's a fifth generation. Lange. Welcome to the program.   Kendra Altnow  0:09  Thanks for having me. Glad to be here.   Craig Macmillan  0:11  We want to have you on because you folks there at length twins have been doing some really innovative things around regenerative agriculture. And through a project you're calling project Tara, what is project Tara? What's that all about?   Kendra Altnow  0:25  Well, we kind of have two different definitions, I would say a project Terra one is the concise purpose of project Terra is to increase biodiversity building, enrich the soil and improve our watershed through shifting our farming principles and practices, restoration and conservation, all while building the next generation of land stewards. That's what I like to say is the on paper definition of project Terra. But project Terra means something a little bit different to me, it's our vision coming to life. Like many of us, the health of the planet is a top of mind. And a few years ago, I really wanted to see what we could do as a family to contribute to being part of the very complex solution equally as important passing our land to the next generation healthier than it was passed to us. So I really just started reading and I learned that there are lots of changes that we can make. But we have a unique access to something that a lot of other people don't have. And that's our land. And really, I see that our land gives us the greatest opportunity for change. So we started just digging into what those practices look like. And regenerative farming really was something interesting and something very obtainable for us to do.   Craig Macmillan  1:41  What are some of those practices? Because from what I understand from doing research with what you're up to you, you did certain things 10 years ago, and then you brought in some other elements, and then you tried some other elements. Now you're kind of trying to bring them all together, if I understand correctly, what are some of those elements?   Kendra Altnow  1:55  Yeah, that's exactly what it is. I like to say when people come out and come to the farm for tour, that we've been practicing everything in different vineyards, but not necessarily taking those practicing and what regenerative agriculture calls stacking them. So the components of those are reduction of off farm inputs, livestock integration, maintaining permanent ground cover, conservation or reduction in tillage, creation of habitat, which is one of my favorites, and reducing our reliance on herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. So those were all practices that we have been doing. But we said, hey, can we take those and put them together in one pilot vineyard. And that's really the core of what Project Terra is. And for us, it's not just about doing it on that pilot vineyard, but is building the framework to be able to scale it to the other vineyards within our families holdings.   Craig Macmillan  2:56  You mentioned you were excited about this particular area. And I think it's an interesting one, too. And that's habitat.   Kendra Altnow  3:00  Yes, that's my wheelhouse. I love it.   Craig Macmillan  3:02  Yeah. So tell me about that. How does that play into this project?   Kendra Altnow  3:05  Gosh, it's a huge portion. Biodiversity is really a big element of what we need to do here as farmers in general. When my grandfather was farming, he did edge to edge farming. And that really is you didn't see anything green in those vineyards whatsoever. When my dad and uncle came back in 1974, the ranch that they grew up on really looked different the wildlife that they had enjoyed seen. It wasn't there anymore. But the reason why it wasn't there was because the habitat was gone. Without that biodiversity, there was a shift in the ecosystem. And so with that, is this new recognition that we're approaching ag at that system's level, where we're seeing the farm, not just between the rows or from edge to edge, but everything inclusive.   Craig Macmillan  3:52   So how do you do that? If you like, did you take landlords in production? And then set it aside for habitat? Or did you identify areas that could be habitat and then restored them in some fashion? How did you how did you approach that?   Kendra Altnow  4:05  Yeah, and that's, you know, something we've been doing for a long time is habitat restoration, primarily riparian restoration, our family is here on the Mokelumne river. So that's our watershed, and we have unfarmable areas. But we also have areas that were planted that we have taken out of production just because the quality coming off the vineyard wasn't meeting the standards of the winery. So we we kind of have a multiple approach. Over the years, it was just what we could get done. Recently, we worked with point blue conservation science and we have a conservation plan. And that conservation plan takes a look at all of our land that we farm as a whole and has helped us identify areas where we can make improvements that's not only within the vineyards itself by creating maybe filter strips or wildlife corridors, but also where We have maybe a vernal pool area, and what we can do there. So really enhance what is already happening. So it's a little bit of everything I guess is we've, we've had help. But we also just noticed, oh, that area over there isn't great. Let's put a pollinator habitat in.   Craig Macmillan  5:16  And you've been doing as long as you believe that there is some improvements and some stability from increasing the biodiversity on the land.   Kendra Altnow  5:24  Let me take a step back. Biodiversity has definitely increased here on our farm, just the other day, we saw two Bob Cats hanging out on the bridge by our house, that is nothing I saw in my childhood. So I can definitely tell you that there has been a shift because there are animals and birds that we haven't seen that are coming back to our area, those animals and birds are what we see. And so can you imagine what we can't see? So what we're making the impact on? Who knows, right? I don't I'm not out there every day with a microscope looking. But by these bigger animals being here, I have to say that the other ones are here, too.   Craig Macmillan  6:04  And do you think that leads to a more stable? agro ecosystem?   Kendra Altnow  6:08  Absolutely. 100%   Craig Macmillan  6:10  100%, you had mentioned also things around fungicide, insecticide herbicide reduction. How does that play into what kind of practices and how does that play into the stability of the project overall?   Kendra Altnow  6:20  we just finished reading a book. And there's a lot to be said about soil health, right. And that's a big topic, especially in ag these days, I think that we're a lot better than we have been. That's what sustainability is all about, right? Is continuous improvement, really digging into the health of the soil makes us recognize that maybe there's more we can do. From my perspective, having biodiversity above ground and below ground is only going to help us not just in our vineyard and the production of the wine grapes, but also as a whole for everything around it. I'm not sure if that answered your question. Sometimes my brain goes off in tangents.   Craig Macmillan  6:57  No, I think I think it's the right idea, I think what you're getting at is by looking at things as being integrated, looking at from a system standpoint, where everything affects everything else changes that make over here, make changes over here. And those can be beneficial changes, they don't have to be negative changes, necessarily.   Kendra Altnow  7:12  And I think also, it's such a long term result, right. So it takes a very long time, for us to see the true benefits of what we're doing today. I always say, Gosh, I wish we would have started this, you know, 10 years ago, because then I would feel better about what we're doing. Now you have to have patience. And I think that's been the biggest learning for us or for myself in particular, is that you're not going to change your soil structure or your soil health or anything that has to do with the environment, it takes time. And it takes that dedication. And it's not always the easiest path forward either. So you really have to sit back and realize following that vineyard, for a certain period of time might seem against what we would typically do. But in the long run, it's going to benefit what we're doing, if you understand what I'm saying,   Craig Macmillan  8:09  Yeah, I do I do I change this to soil health improvements. And so structured water holding capacity and things like that. Those do take a long, long, long, long time. But you have to do it if you're gonna get there, you know, and I think what a lot of folks are finding out from the interviews that I'm doing, you know, you may go like, Oh, my God, you know, it's gonna take 10 years, well, 10 years can fly by in terms of like a region, you know, just do it stick to it part of that cover cropping. So you folks have been doing cover cropping for a long time. And I'm guessing that the decisions that you've made in terms of what to plant, where to plant it, maybe even how to plant it, how to terminate it, and probably evolved over time. Can you tell me a little bit about your cover cropping, philosophy management, how that's changed over time?   Kendra Altnow  8:51  So my very simple philosophy is the soil is better served covered period, I believe that not only in our own homes, at home, in our backyards, and our front yards, but also within the vineyard. So that's an aside from how we make our decisions on what cover crops we plant. When it comes to cover crops. I'm sure you know this, they're super complex, there's so many different species out there. And they all are very specific on what you're trying to do for typically the health of your of your land or your soil. So what we always look at first, is the vigor of the vine because we want to ensure that we're not taking away from the growth of the vine and then regional erosion. So those would be like the two starting points for us. And then from there, we combined with the soil type, if we're going to be grazing or not grazing and then the ecological benefits so it's kind of a stacking just in decision making. And then the way we choose what vineyards it goes into, we we across the board, try to get it out. Timing is a big thing for us in all of our Lange Twins family vineyards, except in the vineyards that the mower can't fit down the rows. So it's a very operational decision on that, that side.   Craig Macmillan  10:10  What are some of the variables that you've been trying to manipulate? And what were some of the plant choices that you made to achieve those goals?   Kendra Altnow  10:19  Erosion control is probably our biggest number one cover crop choice that we do or a multiplex this species type, that's something that I would have to ask Chris and Charlie, or even Maria, on our team, they handled the decisions of that. But I'm involved in more of why. So I'm sitting here looking out my window at one of our vineyards, and we have a runoff issue. And so we made, you know, a very spot decision to plant a an erosion control mix, just because it's not planted right now. And we saw two years ago, or, actually, it wasn't two years ago was last winter, it was just gosh, the amount of soil going into the soil was absurd. So what can we do about it? So a lot of it is knowing your land as well, and making the decisions that way?   Craig Macmillan  11:07  So you're using different things in different places. So for some areas, it's all about erosion. Other places, it's about probably water management,   Kendra Altnow  11:14  Or, you know, your nitrogen fixing is a big decision making as well, depending on the vineyards.   Craig Macmillan  11:22  Oh,that reminds me, so I hadn't thought of before, have you been doing any, like pre post testing or control treatment kind of testing, as you do these things   Kendra Altnow  11:30  For cover crops?   Craig Macmillan  11:32  For cover crops or anything else.   Kendra Altnow  11:34  We do a lot. I mean, we do a lot of soil testing, is what we've started doing. And we do that not only just from a short term reason of seeing what's happening right now. But in these areas where we are doing no sustainable ag versus regenerative AG, we have started long term analysis so we can see what really is going to be happening in the vineyard long term with the decisions that we're making today. And does it make sense. So does it make sense for us to do it? Well, maybe it's not making a huge impact on that level, but it will be financially. So there are a lot of tracking that we are doing, because we need to make sure that it makes sense from a sustainability point of view.   Craig Macmillan  12:21  What do you been finding out?   Kendra Altnow  12:22  That's a great question. I It depends. I mean, it really depends on where, and it also depends on what and that's what's so tricky about farming. There isn't a playbook. Right. So what is working on one vineyard isn't necessarily working on another, for example, we have a vermicompost trial going on right now. And it's interesting, we've set it up. And we've done all of the analysis. And what we found is that different phases of the growth of the vineyard, the vermicompost, made a difference. But at the end of the growing season, everything caught up. So it's going to be interesting to see this year, what happens because is there going to be a true difference year after year. And then we'll add in do we add vermicompost again, so what we're trialing right now, which is really fun, is taking our pumice from the winery and feeding it to red worms to see if we can then reapply it out in the vineyards. What we don't know about that is if what is in the vermicompost by the worms, eating our promise is something that is going to benefit the vineyard. So benefit is in the sense of we're closing the loop on our promise, but it may not actually have any value to the soil in the vines themselves over a traditional form of compost feeding. Worms are really fun.   Craig Macmillan  13:45  I'm just gonna ask about that. So you're making worm compost on site?   Kendra Altnow  13:48  No, we're not. So there's a neighbor of ours, my cousin in law found I went out to visit him and I asked him if he would be interested in trial doing a trial with us. And he said, Sure, so we're taking pumice over to him from the winery during crush, and then he is running the trial for us. If it is something that becomes viable for us to do then we would transition it and start it on our own.   Craig Macmillan  14:15  Which reminds me of something else. You are working with a number of collaborators, you're not doing this in a vacuum and we'll transition into grazing was part of that but like what are some of the collaborators here you have your your neighbor, you're obviously working with probably other agencies or other other companies or their specialists who was part of the team here outside of Lange Twins.   Kendra Altnow  14:36  Oh, so many when I started in this role, going back a little bit is I you know, I didn't go to school for farming or winemaking and or sustainability for that matter. And so I took a lot of learning, calling and asking questions. Honestly, some of the organizations I reached out to first I was Point blue conservation science I hopped on, you know, the internet and I started just Googling people and seeing who would be interested in coming out and giving me a hand, they have been awesome because they really have introduced me not only to a whole host of other individuals within the that side of the world. So I would say the habitat side of the world, they did our holistic conservation plan for us. That really is what I would say is my strategic plan on that side of my role. From there, I work with the Center for land based learning their  SLEWS program, in particular, the kids from that program come out, and they actually implement some of our projects for us. And that's great, because that really is helping that next generation of land stewards in my mind, hopefully, some of them will come back and want to do this and do it in a fashion that is smart for both themselves and for the environment. NRCS Of course, Xerces, East Bay Mud, calf Valley grazing, hedgerow farms, Megan Phillips, Kelly Melville, you name it, I have like talked to all of them. And really, they have all been instrumental in us putting this together and moving it forward.   Craig Macmillan  16:22  I think it's an excellent transition into grazing.   Kendra Altnow  16:26  Yes, that's fine. I love graze   Craig Macmillan  16:28  you love it. Okay, cool. Well, here we go. If I understood correctly, from some things that I read, you folks are looking at moving into year round grazing. Can you tell me a little bit about the evolution, how it started, how you kind of got into it and how you got to where you're at now and kind of where you see yourself going in the future? Because it sounds like you actually are moving you're not done yet is what it kind of sounds like to me if I understood.   Kendra Altnow  16:51  We're just getting started. Grazing came to us through Charlie's sStar, there were sheep grazing and alfalfa field next to his home vineyard. And he offered the grazer to come into his vineyard for feed. And he said, guys, they did a great job. What do you think? And so we trialed it on 100 acres, and it was great. They came in, they did their job, it was the winter pass, and good to go. We loved what they did. We learned a little bit. And then the following year, it was ramped up big time. So we had a contract raiser come in. And we had probably 2000 to 3000 sheep everywhere, literally everywhere. And that winter was really raining. So it was difficult to get them into the vineyard. Some of them were flooded out. And it was just a challenge all around. And then when the rubber hit the road in the springtime, they got a better contract and left. So we didn't necessarily truth be told, have the best experience the second year. And it was logistically the main reason why. So the third year, we wanted to approach it a little differently. And I was at a young farmers and ranchers dinner and was approached and said, Hey, I had know someone that would love to do vineyard grazing. So great. So we sat down and talked. And what we realized is that what was going to work best for us is for them to be a true extension of our team. So not someone that's just going to come in and then move on to someone else, but someone that is going to be dedicated to working with us, because that is what we found was most important is that we're working together. So I see Valley grazing and Ross Mulrooney as not a separate from length twins, but he is part of length twins in the sense of being our sheep herder, right. So he's the guy, the boots on the ground, moving the sheep, the health of the sheep. And we're just helping direct them in that. And that honestly, if I could give anyone advice, and I know this can't happen for everyone based on size, or lots of other complexities, that has been a saving grace for us, because it's just, he, he knows what we're working towards. And we know what his needs are as well.   Craig Macmillan  19:14  You're working collaboratively. He has needs the sheep have needs you have needs can we find a way to have those things meet that makes a better outcome leads to a better outcome. Without question, yes, it sounds like you started with kind of the traditional, hey, let's get some animals, let's turn them loose. They're gonna go run around and do their thing. Oh, they're done. Now they leave. My experience with grazing is that it can get much more complex than that, and can lead to some even better outcomes when the management becomes a little bit more intensive, which it sounds like you're kind of moving towards is that right?   Kendra Altnow  19:52  Right. I mean for us, our goal is to have four passes a year with the sheep so it's It's a tool for sure. That's how we see this. It's a practice that we're going to implement within the vineyard. That's no different than mowing or herbicide spray, for example. So for us, the number one reason why we started it, there's lots of factors but was for that biodiversity in the soil and the soil microbiome, we know that animals do make a difference. So that was a really big factor. The second factor is back to the herbicides, if we can cut down on that, that's also going to help that soil microbiome third is the fossil fuels. Right. So by employing the sheep in the vineyards and integrating them in, we are cutting on fossil fuel use by all of the tractor passes that we're not doing anymore, etc. Sure, at first, it was like, Yay, winter weed control. This is awesome. But then you start scratching your head and peeling back the layers, you recognize that there's lots of other benefits of having animal integration. I mean, I sometimes they were just going back before my grandfather, right? They had animal integration, they actually had dual crops within their vineyards. And so it's like, we're going back to what we knew our ancestors. And we're applying it today, but in a modern way, with changes, of course, because we're not homesteaders.   Craig Macmillan  21:27  So we're talking, you said four passes. So what, what's the timing? What's the timing of the other grazing passes.   Kendra Altnow  21:34  So the first grazing pass for us starts post harvest. So three weeks after the vineyard has been harvested, we can move in the sheep. And really, this is to clean up weeds, vegetative debris, and the leaves. The second pass is the cover crop and weed management on our rotation. Typically, what ends up happening is why when they're done with the first pass, they're going to go start kind of all over again, right. And so now they're going to the cover crop and weed management. And that is what really this time of the year is. So they're out there mowing the cover crop, or they're really happy sheep, because they have tons of feed and getting the berms, we always focus on the berms. That's really important for us, especially if we're if we're not using any herbicides, it's really important for us to pay attention to the berms. The third pass is cover crop and weed management again, and this is kind of when we have the blind canopy management happening suckering chute hygiene and leaf removal. So it's in that spring where springtime, where there they can get in, they're not going to do a lot of damage, and they're still going to do good. And then the last pass is summer, so forth passes time or weed control. We are using these only and our trellis systems that are high wire. And so the Sheep can't really do that damage, because they can't reach up into the canopy and make a huge impact.   Craig Macmillan  22:57  And that was something that I mean, you you folks may have some experience with this. Maybe too early still, you know, the trend has been towards shorter and shorter, lower, lower trellising for a long time. And it's always been Oh, wine quality is better when the trellis is lower. And then we have these systems here where you will Yeah, but if I train a little bit higher, a little these other benefits that I can get is your winemaking staff getting feedback at this point. Are you seeing anything in terms of the cultural differences between the more traditional trellis and a higher wire trellis.   Kendra Altnow  23:26  I can give you a very specific example. We have single vineyard wines. And on our single vineyard wines, they keep all the lots separate. And we have an older cab vineyard. And then we have a high wire cab vineyard that is a little bit younger. The older one is California sprawl, it was planted in Gosh 1980s. It's our winemakers favorite vineyard. And along comes our River Ranch vineyard. And it's high wire and it is mechanically pruned and it is grazed and very different than what they 38 is. And I'll tell you what, they love that River Ranch cap and made it as a single vineyard wine. And so that to me goes to show that it can work both ways.   Craig Macmillan  24:09  It can work both ways. This is so fascinating. We could just go on forever. But is there one thing regarding kind of your experiences with all of this, all of this integrative stuff, is there one thing that you tell our listeners that you would recommend to them? As far as this goes this area?   Kendra Altnow  24:25  Oh man, I have so many recommendations. That could be like a whole thing on its own.   Craig Macmillan  24:32  You're gonna write a book?   Kendra Altnow  24:34  Probably. So my one recommendation is every little bit helps. And I truly believe that and that is something that you can do not only within your vineyard or your business, but you can do that at home. So my passion came from my family, because we have been farming sustainably in a really big way. However, my practices at home for example, I really got ignited because I saw a picture of all the plastic in the ocean and I had a heart attack. And I knew at that point, I couldn't use plastic bags anymore, for example. And that's a true story. I think that even though everyone around me might not have changed that practice, I know that that little bit does help. Right. So I think that is really important. I think the other important thing, when you're talking about farming, is the mindset shift. Farmers have been farming and doing things the same way for years and years and years. And it really takes forward thinking or openness to be able to change the way you're doing something. Because it's harder, it's harder, not only to train your team, that it's going to be done differently. But now you're using another tool, or introducing something different that hasn't been done before. So there's a learning curve. And when you have 100 million things going on, that one new thing feels like 100 billion pounds. And I think that it's really important that you have a cheerleader, which that's what I am, is the cheerleader to say, Hey, I think that this is really interesting. Do you think that we can implement not all of it at once, but do you think we can handle parts of it. And even that one small step is going to get us to where we want to go. And I would come in very different from, say, Erin and Phillip, my brother and cousin, they've been entrenched in farming for years, I kind of have this outsider's perspective where I don't necessarily know all of the logistical nightmare that might happen. Or I don't know all of the little idiosyncrasies that happen. All I see is this awesome opportunity. And then they bring me back to reality. And then we meet in the middle, and then we implement something. But I think if it was someone that didn't have that, like, I think we could do this, it wouldn't come to the forefront, because we're just so tasked on what we're already doing, and making sure that we're getting it done, that doesn't really give us time to do anything different. And I think that to me, has been the biggest learning. And maybe that the tidbit that I could give others is that be be that cheerleader or somehow find yourself to be that cheerleader for yourself, because it really will make a difference.   Craig Macmillan  27:41  I think that's great. I mean, every every little bit counts and being a cheerleader. Yeah. Sharing your excitement and your successes. I think it's huge.   Kendra Altnow  27:50  Yeah, I mean, it's, it's funny, Craig, between you and I, or if you want to put this out there I you know, I don't have a science background. I don't have a farming background. I don't have anything like that type of background. My background is sociology. And for for me, I just know that we can do better. And we have an opportunity to make positive change. And so I come in with they always call me rainbows and sunshine. Because that's that's like, really, for me, that's what it's about right is, is how can we make a difference, and I dried down I5. And I'm like holy smokes, we are the size of a gnat when it comes to farming in this world. And how to like I sit there and think, wow, I am I'm working hard to make change on my tiny little farm. Just think if we could get this farmer who has 30,000 acres to also make that change. And I think that's where it's at is it's got to start. I see. I mean, we're not small in the sense of tiny, tiny. We're midsize but gosh, there's some big farmers out there. And so sometimes it's like, Am I really making a difference? Like this is on 450 acres right now we could expand it. We're planning on scaling it up. Yeah. Okay, let's forget about those 30,000 acre farmers and that we're only a tiny bit to this very complex issue or complexity that's happening out there. Sure. Yes, let's do this. Because ultimately, it's going to be better for the next generation because they're going to be out there hopefully farming too.   Craig Macmillan  29:25  Yeah. And technology and innovation has its ways of being transmitted. Yes. And being adopted. More broadly. It takes time. And it also takes different systems. It takes different systems and that's one of the things that's intriguing is we've seen things that like you said that we tried things in the past and then we moved away for various reasons. And then you say hey, wait, there's benefits. Let's go back and try this again. Or people say Well, that isn't gonna work on my system because my system is so different. Within time goes by and there's proof of concept and then it well maybe this would work and we see changes all the time being out there as a leader Kendra, I think is part of the part of the solution and you're doing that.   Kendra Altnow  29:59  And I think honestly like what we can do for our farm, and this is what makes regenerative and we could go into that as a whole nother one podcast. But I look at sustainability and regenerative, which is so great about sustainability in my mind is it's not one size fits all, you're making the decisions for your farm based on what you can do in the best possible way. So someone might still fully believe in full tilling and that's all good and great. I'm not judging you, but they might be excellent in water conservation. And we have a lot of room to grow in that right so I like that's what I think is so awesome about farming is that there is no one single way of doing things and there is no right or wrong, but I always believe that there is room for improvement.   Craig Macmillan  30:52  Exactly. Where can people find out more about you?   Kendra Altnow  30:56  Well, will have information about the family winery and the vineyards and laying twins on Instagram has tidbits about sustainability and if you really want to see all of my lovely day to day posts you can follow me at Kendra underscore Jean nine you get a little bit of sustainability and a lot of benefit family animals.   Craig Macmillan  31:22  That's fantastic. So our guest today has been Kendra Altnow she is sustainability manager at length twins family winery and vineyards and she's a fifth generation Lang. Thanks for being on the podcast has been a really fun conversation. Thanks Kendra.   Kendra Altnow  31:35  Gosh, I hope so you're welcome.   Nearly perfect transcription by
34:56 6/6/24
230: Sustainable and Organic… What’s the Difference? | Marketing Tip Monday
Have you ever been asked “What’s the difference between organic and sustainable?” Have you seen farming operations that have both certifications? Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. In this Marketing Tip, you’ll learn how Certified Organic and sustainable compare, and get some ideas for engaging in a conversation about what your certification means. Sustainable and Organic Overlap There is a lot of overlap between the programs. Both programs are committed to environmental preservation and regeneration through practices that address: Biodiversity and Habitat Soil Health and Conservation Integrated Pest Management Water Quality Why Get Both? A lot of SIP Certified farmers are also Certified Organic. Even if they’re not certified by both, many of their farming practices overlap the programs. Since many organic practices are sustainable and vice-versa, an operation can attain both certifications without many complications. When a winegrower gets both Certified Organic and SIP Certified sustainable they demonstrate their commitment to environmental preservation and beyond. It also appeals to eco-conscious consumers who consider both certifications when making purchasing decisions. How to Explain Sustainability The 3 P’s of Sustainability What makes sustainability unique is that in addition to addressing farming practices, it also looks at the social and economic aspects of the operation. A good way to remember this is the 3 P’s of Sustainability: People, Planet, and Prosperity. You can tie several practices that your business engages in every day back to the 3 P’s: People: Community and neighbor communication plans; Health and retirement benefits for employees; Competitive wages; Engaging in charitable gift giving and services. Planet: *Integrated Pest Management strategies like cultural, biological, and mechanical control; *Planting cover crops to protect water quality, control erosion, and provide habitat for beneficial insects; Using alternative sources of energy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Prosperity: Creating and sticking to a budget; Analyzing trends in sales, purchasing, and resource usage; Staying up to date with the latest information and technology; Being aware of upcoming regulations. * Overlap with Organic. Tell a Story Stories make facts more memorable. You can tell your customers that your brand practices social responsibility, but without sharing a specific example of what that looks like, you haven’t really told them much! Next time someone asks you, “What’s the difference between organic and sustainable?” try to share a specific sustainable example from the People or Prosperity categories: The Journey to Net-Zero 3 P's Category: Prosperity When the team at Center of Effort looked at their energy use, they discovered many areas where they could adjust to be more efficient. Over time, these changes have compounded to have tremendous energy savings: ·         Run their cooling system during off-peak hours. ·         Replace a 15-year-old chiller with a newer, more efficient one that allows for selective tank cooling. ·         Install a remote-operated quick-draw door in the production room to address insulation losses. Since making all of these changes, their winery and hospitality areas are now 100% powered by the sun. In fact, they now run net-negative and send generated power back to the grid! Did you see Center of Effort's Sustainable Story feature in Grape and Wine Magazine? Tell Your Sustainable Story We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing yours today!       Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Apply for SIP Certified Wine Center of Effort's Sustainable Story feature in Grape and Wine Magazine Marketing Tips eNewsletter Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
03:51 5/27/24
229: Weed Control in Vineyards
Trying to manage the weeds in your vineyard? John Roncoroni, Weed Science Farm Advisor Emeritus with the University of California Cooperative Extension, Agriculture and Natural Resources covers control practices including biological, mechanical, cultural, chemical, and perhaps in the future, electrocution. Although weeds rarely compete with vines, they can host insect and vertebrate pests and get in the way of pruning crews, increasing labor costs. Listen in for John’s number one tip to better manage weeds in your vineyard. Resources:         128: A New Focus on Weed Management (Rebroadcast) 26th IPM Seminar #1: Sustainable Weed Management for Vineyards and Vineyard Ponds Herbicide-resistant weeds challenge some signature cropping systems (Journal article) John Roncoroni MAINTAINING LONG-TERM MANAGEMENT: Herbicide-resistant weeds challenge some signature cropping systems Post-harvest Weed Control with Napa RCD and John Roncoroni (video) Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand – Western SARE (online courses) University of California Integrated Pest Management Integrated Weed Management Vineyard Floor Management: Steel in the Field (video) Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today is John Roncoroni. He is Weed Science Farm advisor emeritus with UC Cooperative Extension, UC Agriculture Natural Resources, and we're going to talk about cultural control of weeds in vineyards today. Thanks for being on the podcast, John.   John Roncoroni  0:13  Now you bet, Creg, thank you for having me.   Craig Macmillan  0:16  We met with we'll start with kind of a basic foundation, what would you say is the definition of cultural weed control? Maybe How does it differ from other forms of weed management?   John Roncoroni  0:25  cultural weed control as part of an integrated pest management program, you know, we have basically cultural mechanical, sometimes they're put together sometimes they're split, we have biological, which is much more important, I think, in insects than it is in weeds. Now, we talk about biological control of weeds just a little bit to show how it fits in with all this too, is that you know, when you see that rust growing on a malba, or cheese weed plant in California, people say, Well, maybe that can control and you can see sometimes it really weakens the weeds. But the one reason that doesn't work here very well as it does in other places is the same reason why we can grow such great grapes and make great wines in California is because it doesn't rain in the summertime, if it rained in the summertime, like it does. In many other areas, that moisture level would stay up and we probably have a better chance of controlling Malba. We do use biological control of weeds in more landscape like range land type at large areas, but really on any kind of agricultural situation where we're looking at control in one spot, it really doesn't work that well. Even with star thistle we be talking about people wanting to put our application of of weevils for start thistle. Well, they're out there, and they're on a larger scale. So that's biological, much more important in entomology than in Weed Science, a chemical control, obviously, the use of chemicals, either conventional or organic chemicals or control. And then we have mechemical or cultural you know, cultural weed control to me is using the utilizing the plants that are there or sheep in areas of the San Joaquin Valley that used to use ducks or geese to pull out Johnson grass rhizomes, yeah, we're utilizing sheep quite a bit more. Now. Of course, mechanical we're looking at when you look at something like a mower, right, a mower is mechanical and cultural because when you mow, you're leaving some plants. So you're mechanically mowing them down. But culturally, you're leaving plant where something like French flower, maybe a blade or or you know, one of the the weed knives are all the different moving wheels, maybe more considered mechanical.   Craig Macmillan  2:30  Let's talk about mechanical a little bit. There was a book I don't know if it's still in print. And it was a SARE book. And it was called steel in the field. And the author's thesis or premise or idea was if you drive around farm country, no matter what the crop is, there's always a graveyard of old implements, just parked just parked there, you know exactly what I'm talking about.   John Roncoroni  2:51  Oh, god. Yeah.   Craig Macmillan  2:54  And his his point was, all of those things were technologies that someone had come up with. And then the individual farmer, probably then made modifications to those for their site for their crop for their soil, then the herbicide era came on. And that wisdom was lost, basically. And the argument was, hey, maybe we can bring that that idea back. And I mean, this goes back to like the 80s, early 90s. It's happening, it's happened. What are some of your favorite technologies in terms of cultivation, mechanical weed control, and some of the limitations, some of the plants that works well with other situations where it doesn't? What's your experience been?   John Roncoroni  3:39  I love talking about that, Creg, is it you know, talking about using mechanical control, and then and then going into chemicals, and now going back, it's almost like I talked to people about chemical control itself. When I started, Roundup wasn't glyphosate was a new thing. And we used it very judiciously. And I tell people, it's almost like, I learned to drive with a stick shift. I had to learn all these other things. Well, after that people learned to drive automatics. Right, because they knew one way to do it. Well, now that we're back to using stick shift, it's a whole lot easier for me, because I remember now people have to read or write. It's, it's the same thing with the mechanical. And when I started a Davis, you know, in the early 80s, we probably first came to work in vineyards in Napa, close to Davis, about 85, 86. And at that point, there was a lot less drip irrigation, a lot more dry farming, and a lot more French plowed. One of the reasons was we didn't have drip irrigation. I mean, we all want deep roots, but you're going to have more shallow roots with drip irrigation. And that was one of the reasons we moved to chemicals away from this big pasture. We always had a blade, right something like to drop a name a Clemens blade, which we all know what that is. It just cuts. You know, one of the problems with that is if the soil is too moist, then it's going to cut and go right back. And there's been a lot of innovation. My colleague Marcela Moretti, a But Oregon State's done a lot of testing with different kinds of machines. You know, one of the things about mechanical or even like mowers is that so few growers have mowers?   Craig Macmillan  5:11  When you say mower? You mean an in row mower?   John Roncoroni  5:13  Yeah, I mean inrow mower. All right. And I'm sorry, I when I talk about weeds in vineyards, because I tell people I've made my whole career out of about three   Craig Macmillan  5:21  Three to six inches.   John Roncoroni  5:24  I have about a foot and a half. Right? Sometimes I'm up to four feet, right. So that's where my whole career is right there. And that we talk about when we talked about what we're doing in the middle is with cover cropping. That's a whole other podcast and probably, I mean, I've done cover crop work over the years with some large IPM grants. I did quite Elmore and some other things. Zalem and Jim McDonald Yeah, no, I'm talking about just under vine we're thinking. Yeah.   Craig Macmillan  5:53  All right we're under vine.   John Roncoroni  5:54  Talk about being a very specific expert - four feet. At the most.   Craig Macmillan  6:01  I got it. I get it.   John Roncoroni  6:02  You know, very few growers are using mowers we have the big bladed mowers and also we'll have a straight trimmer. I was trying to do some string trimmer work, but just using a little weed eater. My old friend, Mike Anderson, who was the superintendent or basically ran the oppo research station said that I could use a string trimmer in one of their vineyards over his dead body. And I was like, you don't want any girdling in those vines. So I know, there's been a lot of apprehension. There are some other kinds of mowers very, very, very few growers have mowers, from what I've just done some surveys, I've done one because you have to go back over and over and over, right? And then everything has been weighed against, well, we can just spray mowers or one, you know, there's several different and I can't remember all the trade names. But you know, there's some of the basic technology. Yes, there's some that do some stirring of the soils, you know, with blades that are perpendicular to the soil, right. So they're, they're stirring it, there's what we used to call and when I worked in bean weed control, Lilla stuns, which are wheels that turn sort of at a 45 degree angle to stir the soil. There's, you know, power driven machines, there's just ones that ride along and there's blades, there's, you know, there are so many, and it really depends on the kind of soil you have, you know, our rocky is sometimes the place where we put grapes are not a place where you could put tomatoes, right in times, shallow soil, hillsides, kind of cultivation, can you can you do cultivation? Can you do light cultivation without getting you know, soil movement? Can you even do it? Is it allowed by, you know, some rules about land use in those areas. So, there's a lot of things that go into mechanical and again, from my perspective, the weeds you have.   Craig Macmillan  7:54  I like this point here, because I think put to put things into kind of a general sense to guide things. We have blades that basically cut just below the surface. So that's cutting off the top of the plant from the bottom of it for certain kinds of plants that will kill it or control it. Then we have things like a French plow, which is a burying it's a true plow. Yeah, it's flipping soil, picking it up and flip flopping it over. Then we have the sturer. So you mentioned that little stun the central lines and other example, sun flowers. That's what they do. Yeah. Yeah. Things like that. My missing one.   John Roncoroni  8:26  mowers.   Craig Macmillan  8:27  mowers, okay. Yeah.   John Roncoroni  8:29  So that, you know, then there are a lot of variations on those combinations. It just amazing for me, and I follow a few of the manufacturers and get to see like on Twitter X, whatever, to see the videos that they're posting on LinkedIn. You know, it's just amazing to me what they're doing and the innovation that's going into those. One of the things that my again my colleague Marcel HomeReady, up at Dr. Moretti up at Oregon State talks about making sure your tractor is big enough for some of these, you know, hydraulic using, right, but one of the things we always used to talk about was, you know, the use of gas well, I know there's a lot more use and we're moving more into electric tractors, and those sorts of things. But when it comes to mechanical, really doing a good job of mechanical weed control with those some of those, you're going to have to have electric or gas you're going to have to have a big tractor. They're not going to be like a you know, a little ATV with a nifty 50 sprayer spraying herbicides right you're gonna need some hefty equipment in a lot of them not always.   Craig Macmillan  9:33  Let's start with weed knife. That's a very popular technology you see it oh yeah all over the place. What are the kinds of weeds that that's good for controlling and under what conditions it doesn't work well and under what kind of conditions does it not work well?   John Roncoroni  9:47  And I don't know the areas and passive as well as I know Napa I was brought a while but I would tell the growers you know, using a weed knife in Carneros you have about four days from when the soil goes from being too wet to being too dry. I have heavy clay soils, it holds moisture and it just. Yeah, exactly. And I'm sure there are areas like that, you know, and it can't, you can successfully cultivate down there, but it's tough, you need the timing, it's so important. If you're going to wet that soil just goes right back with that blade, right you cut through and the roots are able to tell back in, you know, if it's too dry, it's really going to be a rough ride. Because you're not going to go too deep, it's going to work well on some smaller annual weeds, which, you know, a lot of our weeds are, you know, some of the grasses with their net have a root ball sometimes are harder than just a small annual broadleaf plant, you know, you're going to have some problems, especially with something like malware, cheese weed that that grow very large. And depending on when you doing it something like cheese weed is and rye grass and Fillory, while I mentioned them are the first weeds to germinate in the fall. So by the time you get in a little bit later, they may be too big to really do a very good job on.   Craig Macmillan  10:59  Are their soils where we die for it's particularly well?   John Roncoroni  11:03  I would say you know, in less than heavy clay soil and not complete sand, a sandy loam soil, I think that holds some moisture, you know, it was able to get in anything, I think it's not a complete stand or a real heavy clay, they do a nice job, but the weeds can't be too big. And again, it's that timing and you know, with vineyards, it seems to think everything happens at once right time when you may be in having to do some sort of insect spray or mold spray, the same time you should be out there cultivating so just and it takes a while to do a good cultivation job.   Craig Macmillan  11:35  The speed that you're rolling is really important. You want to be slower ride faster.   John Roncoroni  11:40  Well, and Dr. Moretti has done this work there is an optimum speed. If you go too slow, then you really don't do a good job of cutting. If you go too fast, you miss some. And maybe this is where some of the electric AI technology can help. You don't want to cut the vines. Right, so you have this pull away, that keeps the weeds, the weeds will go right next to the vines, which you know can be a problem. We'll be talking about other situations with little vertebrate pets.   Craig Macmillan  12:06  I'm kind of getting astray here a little bit, but I No, no, but I think this is an important question. So choosing what I do and how I do it, we go back to the other technologies, Why care about weeds? Right? Why care about you know, I had I had a vineyard once that had been an oak field. And it was direct planted own rooted sprinkler system that was planted in 1976 I got the vineyard 1993 out of heavy clay soil, and I would irrigate with sprinklers twice a summer, and that oak grass would grow up into the fruit zone up into the canopy. But it would dry out. And it completely choked out everything else I had, I had no other real issues. And we would mow the middles. And I remember people going oh my god, you got all this issue, you need decent herbicide, you think grass out of the middle because the grass is gonna. And like these vines were super vigorous. They were tons of crop. I mean, I had to crop thinner. And so I started asking myself, well, how much competition? Is this really doing? Are there particular weeds that we should see? And you're like, wow, that's gonna be a competitor for water, nutrients and others where we go, No, I don't really want it there. But I'm probably not going to dig my vines.   John Roncoroni  13:13  So Craig, this is the eternal question when it comes to this. And it really depends on where you grow your grapes, right? If your goal is to get 25 tons of grapes, if you're somewhere near Bakersfield won't offend anybody, but they're looking more for tonnage. Right. And I've gotten a lot of flack for using our premium grape situations, we're not always looking for maximum tonnage. Right. And I don't know that the problem with weeds and if you hear me speak about weeds, I rarely have ever talked about direct competition between weeds and grape vines. Now, there are some exceptions, you know, when we were looking at that balance between irrigation and getting the deficit, irrigation, right, getting those maximum flavors into those grapes. So we may be right and a little low with our water in August or September, near the end. And we see that especially, I don't know so much about about I know, part of the areas where we are with the vineyard team there that they gave, we can get these howling north winds, right? Right. And you can in a very short time, you can turn some very great, expensive grapes into really great expensive raisins, right, getting that water in at that time of year. So having any kind of like flu Velen, which is really just covers the whole area of Napa and Sonoma. I know it's moving around some other areas. But you know, people say well, how much water does it use? And my old friend Rhonda Smith used always asked me well, how much water is it used? I go, we don't have crop coefficients for all the crops. It's hard to know which you know which weeds grow, how much water they use. And then the other thing too, is that if we're looking for consistency in a vineyard, and only half the vineyard is covered with that weeds where we're gonna put two too much water in one area and not enough in the other. Isn't that different? So it's competition for that sort of thing. And of course, young vines, right when we have young vines with big weeds and that that oak grass that you had, if you had young vines, you probably wouldn't have to be worried about being a grape grower very long, right?   Craig Macmillan  15:17  You have seen that young, really healthy barley cover crop?   John Roncoroni  15:21  Oh, yeah, it's it's tough for first three years. But like talking about establishments, it's really important, no matter what you do to keep the grapes sort of weed, not weed free, but really keeping the competition down. And then late in the summertime, but the rest of the time. It's other things that I've talked about these, it's one of those things where you ask people, you know, raise their hand if they have this problem. It's 50%. Yes. 50%. No. And that's voles. And I tell people, I thought that when I was in Napa, I think 30% of the growers do weed control strictly for vole protection. Because those nasty little marmots can they can girdle a grape. And I know one vineyard and Carneros they couldn't get in and do some work. Someone told me that one year they lost one in five vines. Wow. And they're not coming back. Right? That's, that's bad. Yeah. So you know, it can be a problem. We found this when we were working with mow and blow technology years ago, looking at cutting cover crop and throwing it on the vine. The Weed control was fantastic. But in my whole time, working in vines from 1985. And, you know, until today, I've never been in a vineyard, except in this trial, where I saw voles running between the rose in the middle of the day. Right, they were just happy there was so many they kind of had to get out just to get a breath of fresh air, they use those tunnels, you know, just runway so that they were protected from that, you know, the birds of prey, which you know, can help. And I people always ask about that. But again, we have that pest and prey cycle that the voles may come in and do a lot of damage, before they get a chance to be taken. And then it depends on what your neighbors doing and how effected the birds are. This is a question that I our new vertebrate pest person, Brianna Martineco in Napa who she took my office, not my place, right. So we we about a weed scientist. And one of the questions I've asked is, you know, how much of an area around the vines? Do we have to keep clean, so that the birds have a chance and the voles stay scared? You know, that's kind of question, you know, especially as an emeritus, you can ask these questions. And, you know, let the new people answer them. You know, the other thing and I've talked about this is in a rare occasion, you know, one of the things that we do you see people, anytime I'm out in the field later in the season, I talked to a grape grower, while we're out there, they're pulling those leaves off so they can get more air movement. Well, if you get some tall weeds like that, you know, the oak grass that was growing, you know, are you going to have restricted air movement? Are you going to have higher moisture content? Is that going to increase your pathogen pressure it can, doesn't always happen. The other thing too is having, you know, high grass can cause in frost prone areas, you know, if you're not getting that radiation from clean soil, and that's in the middle, not so much under the vines, you know, we can have that and sometimes on young vines near the vine itself, getting that reradiation, but again, you know, as I like to tell people, you're not going to have all these situations, and it's not going to be every year, you know, some years you're doing things you may not need to have weed control that year, but you don't know until after that year, you know, and now and I'm not I'm not a pathologist, I'm not an enthramologist, I'm not a viticulturalist I'm a weed scientist. But you know, there's been some indications that some weeds that are growing and some of the we plant and some of that we don't are having a, you know, an increase in pathogen plant pathogens that are moved by certain insects. tikka pirate likes legumes Well, you know, especially in some of our low nitrogen situations, plants that produce their own nitrogen, like Bird Clover really tend to like that situation because they have a, they have a built in advantage by making their own nitrogen. So we can in some vineyards, we can see a high population of bird clover, which may or may not cause an increase in tikka, which could cause an increase in red blotch. So, you know, when you think of weeds just specifically for competition, like when I talked to master gardeners, I say, you know, if you're growing carrot, you know why you do weed control because you want a carrot. But when it comes to a mature, you know, a 10 year old vineyard, really hard to see that weeds are going to compete on an everyday basis like they would with an annual crop, but there are other reasons why we do it. Ease of harvest, and I talked about, you know, in talking with some pruning crews, right, you know, if you have weeds growing in when you're pruning, and I tell people, if you have an area that takes an hour for let's clean, takes a pruning crew an hour to prune, if there's a bunch of weeds that they have to move around and get around, and it takes them an hour and a half. So your labor costs have gone up 50% Yeah, these are the kinds of things that as a weed scientist, I think about I tell people I really want to know two things. And when we're when we're taping this, it's the right time of year. I only know weeds in college. Basketball. So these are the only things I really know. So, you know, and I've had other I've had, you know, some people sit down and say I should have known that you have to worry about, you know, disease pressure, and getting labor contractors. And I just think about weeds.   Craig Macmillan  20:16  And let's go back to another technology that we touched on snow plows, French plow, that's a very old technology. And, you know, we just mentioned that what a plow does is it turns the soil over, so it buries the weed plants, especially when you get into the right time, what conditions are appropriate for using a French plow? What conditions maybe it's not gonna work so great.   John Roncoroni  20:41  French plow, I mean, you know, the USDA says that, you know, doing something like that the soil is never good, and you're going to mess up the microbes, especially if you're working on that lower area. But as far as just from a weed perspective, if you're dry farming, a French blot works fantastic, right? You're not looking for, in fact, you're trying to discourage as many roots at the top as you can. So doing using a French plow when you're dry farming, it's fantastic. We don't have you know, a lot of dry farms where we are looking at trying to have more consistent harvest and looking at consistent income, where you know, dry farming were at, at the will of the of the weather, that's another talk for another day with people who are doing marketing and know viticulture are better than I do. But see, I've seen more French plows as people have gone back to mechanical in the last few years, and I have in the past think there's a lot more viable options, when you're actually looking at doing some drip irrigation, then they're just by number a lot more viable options. Just by new having new machines coming out then the French plow but I was a dry farmer, my weed control would be French plow under the vines and disk in the middle because everything's you know, maybe having a little cover crop to get more penetration. But, you know, the farther north I lived, the more water penetration I would have. So I'd get more rain.   Craig Macmillan  22:00  So let's talk about drip irrigated vineyards. And you mentioned there's a suite of technologies, some are new, some are old, what are some of those technologies that have worked well in a drip irrigated vineyard?   John Roncoroni  22:12  When I got to Napa in 2007, sustainable at that point meant post emergent only and for those kind of funny now is roundup on the right no preemergent no cultivation and we were drip irrigating, we were keeping those roots at the top so we can drip irrigate. So that's where a lot of that came from. Now, you know, using something like a blade using a little Dustin with those moving things, anything that's sort of like you don't want routine, right? Again, I don't I'm not a vitaculturalist. But roots at the very top are not great, right, you're not probably irrigating correctly, if you're getting a lot of roots at the top, but you don't want to get too deep, where you're getting some of those main roots with cultivation. You know, that's one of the reasons that we do have drip irrigation. At that level. You know, I've talked to people who weren't using cultivation and ask them why their drip irrigation lines weren't closer to the soil so they're gonna have less evaporation. One of the things that we get into with grape growing or anything is that you do things because you've always done them that way, we are cultivating that we do need to keep that drip irrigation at at a higher at a high level. But I think any of those anything that's not just completely disrupting the soil. One of the things that I would like to see with with mechanical like a blade is using some electric eye, AI technologies to get closer to the vines. But right now we have to really, you know, it's all mechanical, right? If we can have these machines down in Salinas, that are taking weeds out from in between lettuce, we don't have to be nearly that technological, to get weeds right around the vine without hurting them. And we have a little bit more leeway with the vine than we do with lettuce. Even though you lose a lettuce plant here or there. You're okay. You don't want to lose too many vines. You know, I think that that's where one of the reasons that we could use more technology. One of the things again, my doctor Moretti up at Oregon State and also lenses masky. Back in Cornell, who they were both at Davis at the same time, Lynn as a postdoc, and, and Marcelo as a as a graduate student, they're working with electrocution of weeds, I think it's what they call it. And it's not just burning them off, like you would use electric light with a flamer. It actually sends electricity down into the roots. So it's, he's working on it mostly in blueberries. But the technology I just I saw his presentation at the Western society Weed Science meeting just a couple of weeks ago in Denver. It's an interesting technology. If you're like having a transformer on the back of your tractor. It's pretty cool.   Craig Macmillan  24:35  There's a there's a lot of potential here in the future for improving what we're doing now.   John Roncoroni  24:40  Oh, yeah. And I don't know how like electric is going to fit into this. But and this is the problem. We ran into herbicides. Anytime you use one technology over and over and over and over and over, you're going to choose for weeds. If you constantly mow under the vines or anywhere, right without some soil disturbance or application of herbicide, something Like Melva, low growing weeds, they'll adapt, right nature will find a way. So the biggest thing we have to do is whatever we do just don't do it all the time. That it's the right message. One of the things that I think we want to talk about was under vine cover crop. It is something for me, I've been trying to push under vine cover cropping for so long. And the problem is, is that because the seeds are expensive, I tell people that one of the one of the plants that I pushed, just because I liked the way it worked, and what I've seen is Zorro fescue. That's a brand name, it's it's rat tail fescue, you see it growing as a weed a lot of places, one of the things I like about it is that about the time we start irrigating, it's dead, it's the nest, and you can discover you can turn it over, because once it's gone to seed, you can mow it all those things. It's a it's a self receding cover crop problem is that because the seeds are fairly expensive, we planted at about eight to 10 pounds per acre and sometimes mixed with Blendo broam, which grows a little higher and stays a little greener longer than I like, because it can be some competition for water. But that's oftentimes keeps it down. But the problem is, is that first of all, how do we get it on the vines, I find people putting it out by hand, because we haven't adapted for the cedar under the vine. Second of all, it starts to reseed itself at a fairly high rate, sometimes 50 or 100 pounds the next year and the third year. So I tell people, if you can't give me three years to make it look good, then let's not start because oftentimes, you know, we started and it looks like it's not doing a very good job the first year, and it doesn't look very good. And some people who don't ask people who make decisions about vineyards who maybe work other places, then the vineyard don't like the way it looks. Right? Right, and we move to something else and they end up spraying it out or cultivating it out.   Craig Macmillan  26:55  Then this is an example of modifying the environment to address this problem and modifications to the environment take time.   Speaker 1  27:03   And this is what intrigues me about regenerative agriculture. I know this is a whole nother subject for someone who probably but as a we, as a plant biologist, and ecologist, you know, actually choosing plants that we want to be there without causing problems. Again, the voles, the legumes with maybe some other virus problems can be, but I think choosing these plants is going to be so important. But you know, it's interesting, I had someone call me and they wanted to start using regenerative agriculture. And I told them, you know, your first three years are going to be really hard I go, you have to choose the right plants, you're going to probably maybe even have some reduced yields. And they said, Well, why John, because my friend has been doing it 25 years, and he's doing great, because his soil knows what to do. So anytime we make that transition and transitioning to this under vine cover cropping. And there has been places in the past where we've tried to use a listen. But listen, because of insects and some other things. The problem with alyssum is after about three or four years, it gets to be about four feet thick. It's one of these things, it's good for a while, but after it kind of takes over, it can cause some holding in moisture and doing some other things. I mean, some people again, depending on how fertile your soil is, you know, some places it may not be a problem, but we have to look at it on a vineyard by vineyard scale. And that's been the thing about herbicides is you don't have to think about the basically the vineyard by vineyard,   Craig Macmillan  28:24  We're basically at a time but don't ask your boys. Is there one particular thing that you would say to grape growers on this topic of let's just say mechanical?   John Roncoroni  28:34  On the whole subject of weeds, Craig, I just want to say that they need to know their weeds better. Right? I know it sounds like I always have a chip on my shoulder. And now that we have to right thing about glyphosate is they really didn't have to think about didn't have to think about their weeds. So there's there's two things I want to know we're almost out of time, but we are out of time. But there's two things I want to say about this real quickly. And I know it's mechanical, but those people who are still using chemicals, they could do a better job. Right new nozzle shielding timing, think more about put as much time and effort into thinking about the weeds as you do about insects and pathogens. Know your plants. Don't just say I'm going to do this. It doesn't matter what the weeds are, know your weeds, know their biology. Know the timing, no matter what kind of control you're doing. And then once you do, get the best tool, like if you are still spraying in certain situations in certain vineyards, use new drip reducing nozzles, use shielded sprayers when you do mechanical, you know, don't just get that old thing that like you said, that's been sitting out in the back, right? Look at the kind of machine that you want to use what we do have, I think when it comes to weed control, the whole industry could do a much better job. Okay, one of the things that I put a slide up one time and I said look, I understand pathogens first and then insects, and then weeds and someone got up and corrected me and they said John, that's wrong. I said Oh really? They go? Yeah, it's pathogens, insects, fertilizers and weeds. Right so weeds and when it comes to weeds being third weeds are not just third weeds or a distant third. They only think for me about all the cons Diversity that's happened is that people have to think about weeds again, they have to go back to knowing what we knew before that before they all started using chemicals.   Craig Macmillan  30:07  So that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. Our guest today has been John Ron crony. He is Weed Science firm advisor emeritus with UC Cooperative Extension, UC Agriculture Natural Resources. I followed you from afar for a long time. And I'm very excited to get you on the podcast. This has been a great conversation. Yeah, there's so much more to talk about, and I'm sure that we will, we will reconvene at some point.   Nearly perfect transcription by
33:48 5/16/24
228: Viticulture with a Vision: Oso Libre's Dedication to Social Responsibility | Marketing Tip Monday
Businesses are vital contributors to the communities they serve. Beyond stimulating the economy and creating jobs, many business owners go the extra mile by creating a meaningful philanthropy program. Their efforts profoundly impact facets of the community that need support the most. Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. Meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies give businesses the opportunity to connect with community members, improve company culture, and cultivate consumer trust, all while doing good for causes they believe in. This week’s Marketing Tip tells the Sustainable Story of how Oso Libre demonstrates tremendous Social Responsibility through the Por Vida Foundation. Supporting 4 Worthy Causes Oso Libre’s founders, Chris and Linda, started the Por Vida Foundation in 2011 to support causes that are near and dear to their hearts. By using funding streams from multiple winery activities, they support: Veteran service groups Women’s cancer research Animal support groups Children and family support groups This means that Oso Libre’s guests and customers are giving back to these deserving causes, too! The proceeds from many weekend tasting fees and private events at Oso Libre are turned into charitable donations through the Por Vida Foundation. In the tasting room, the Votive Candle Offering welcomes visitors to light a candle and use the offering box to support these causes. Proceeds from sales of their Solera wine bottles are also donated. This is a special blend that the winery makes every year. It is treated like a growler at a brewery: Members can bring their empty bottle back to the winery to have it filled with the latest vintage. Their foundation is a tool to help them give back and inspire their supporters to join in the good feeling of philanthropy. Tell Your Sustainable Story We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing yours today!       Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Apply for SIP Certified Wine Marketing Tips eNewsletter Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
02:26 5/13/24
227: Andy Walkers’ Pierces Disease-Resistant Grapes are a Success at Ojai Vineyard
In the 1880s, Pierce’s disease caused a devastating, total collapse of the Southern California grapevine industry. Today, growers have hope for the future thanks to new varieties. Adam Tolmach, owner of Ojai Vineyard, planted four of these new varieties as a field trial on a plot of land where Pierce's disease wiped out his grapes in 1995.  Pierce’s disease is a bacterium spread by insects, typically a sharpshooter. One bite and the vine dies within two to three years. To develop resistant varieties, Andy Walker of the University of California at Davis crossed the European grape Vitis vinifera with Vitis arizonica. 20 years later, commercial growers have access to three red and two white varieties. Listen in to learn how Tolmach’s experiment is a success both in the vineyard and with customers. Plus get tasting notes for the new varieties. Resources:         REGISTER: The Ins & Outs of Developing a New Vineyard Site 89: New Pierce’s Disease Vaccine (podcast) 137: The Pierce's Disease and Glassy-winged Sharpshooter Board 2021 Pierce’s Disease Research Symposium session recordings Anita Oberholster, UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Webpage Office Hours with Dave and Anita, Episode 11: Pierce’s Disease Resistant Winegrape Varieties Ojai Vineyard Pierce’s Disease resistant winegrape varieties overview UC breeds wine vines resistant to Pierce’s disease UC Davis releases 5 grape varieties resistant to Pierce’s disease Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today is Adam Tolmach owner and winemaker of Ojai vineyard. Thanks for being on the podcast, Adam.   Adam Tolmach  0:06  It's my pleasure, Creg. Great to be here.   Craig Macmillan  0:09  I want to give a little background. Before we get into our main topic. We're gonna be talking about Pierce disease resistant grape vines today, but I think your location has a lot to do with how this came about. I don't think it's an overstatement to say that you are a pioneer and innovator and quite frankly, legend in the history of the Central Coast. And one of the pioneering things that you did was you planted a vineyard in Ojai, California, why Ojai? And what is the what's the environment, like, you know, hi.   Adam Tolmach  0:33  Ojai because in 1933, my grandfather bought a piece of property in Ojai while I grew up in Oxnard, we, you know, on weekends, we'd come up here and chase lizards and snakes and stuff like that. And so I'm pretty familiar with the area and then I lived in Ohio for a few years after I finished studying at UC Davis getting a basically a viticulture degree. I came down here and and ran a truck farming operation, we grew vegetables and sold sold them in a roadside stand. And after doing that for two years, I made $4,500 After two years of worth worth of work. So I had said well maybe I should try to get a job in my my field. So my second job in the field was was working at at Zaca Mesa, 79 and 80. And then so as far as the place to plant grapes, you know, that's the reason we're in Ojai because we the family owns property.   Craig Macmillan  1:30  What is the environment like in Ojai? Because I think it's a little bit different than many grape growing regions.   Adam Tolmach  1:34  Yeah, you know, it's actually not that different than I would say the east side of the Santa Ynez Valley like the happy Canyon area or you know, or Paso Robles. Really as far as climatic goes. thing that's a little bit different about Ojai is the wintertime lows aren't as low as they are up in the Santa Ynez Valley or up in Paso. And that's that's a big deal, especially when it comes to Pierce's disease.   Craig Macmillan  2:01  That's where we're gonna go next. When you planted, were there things that you were expecting? And then were there things that came out that were unexpected? And then thinking maybe Pierce's disease is one of those?   Adam Tolmach  2:11  Well, yeah, certainly was, you know, as I've started, you know, pretty ignorant. As young people tend to be, I knew that there was a history of winemaking and grape growing in Ojai, which pretty much died off with prohibition. Actually, after Prohibition, there was a good sized Zinfandel vineyard that ended up being buried in the bottom of Lake Casitas. That sort of what I knew a little bit about grapes. And I didn't really realize it. Pierce's disease also worked into all that that, you know, you plant a vineyard around here, and it's pretty difficult to keep them alive  for the long term.   Craig Macmillan  2:48  Just cover the bases. What is Pearson's disease?   Adam Tolmach  2:51  It was originally discovered in Anaheim, California, you know, back in the I believe it's 1880s or so there were 10s of 1000s of acres of grapes in that area 10 or 20 or 30 years out. In fact, it was a much bigger growing area than, than say Napa, up north was for for grapes. And those vines all died. And at the time, it was called Anaheim's disease. Yeah. And so later on, Mr. Pierce, I think, discovered a little bit about the disease. And what we know today is that it's a bacterium that is spread by an insect, typically from a sharpshooter. But there are other insects that also spread this disease. In our case, we're not too far from a river habitat, a riparian habitat, these bugs like lush, green growing areas, and they live in the river bottom, all they have to do is get blown by the wind up to our place. If the insect is carrying this bacterium, it just takes one bite. And then within two or three years, the vine dies because basically the bacteria clog up the water conductive tissues.   Craig Macmillan  3:59  Exactly. When you were first addressing this problem. What kinds of management things did you do to try to manage this?   Adam Tolmach  4:06  Well, we didn't back then. And as we are now we're reasonably committed organic growers. So you know, we don't use herbicides, we don't use insecticides. And you know, I learned as the vineyard died, basically what was going on? So we didn't really do anything, preventative wise. And so the vineyard just slowly declined, right, which is pretty sad thing to see that really considering that I planted you know, every one of the vines in the beginning back in 1981.   Craig Macmillan  4:37  Yeah, yeah, exactly.   Adam Tolmach  4:39  And then so we went on, after that, and for years, you know, so the vineyard grew from planted in 81. And then in 1995, after the harvest, we pulled the vineyard because it's so much of it was gone from the disease and then and then there are many years where we you know, didn't grow any grapes on our property. We purchase grapes from mostly, you know, I'm from the Ohio area a little bit, but also mostly from the Northern Santa Barbara County. That area from Santa Maria to Lompoc is really where ideal grapes grow. But I'd always have a hankering to have, you know, to continue to have a vineyard here because we do have the winery right on site here. Close friends and family knew Andy Walker, who was the one who was developing these grapes that were at UC Davis that were resistant to Pierce's disease. You know, I kept kind of pushing the friends to see you if I could get some of these cuttings or plants. And then finally, really just a year or two before they were actually officially released to the public for sale. I was able to get enough to plant a very small vineyard here which is just 1.2 acres, and it's planted to four different varietals. All four of them were developed by by Dr. Walker that He basically took Vitus vinifera the European grape variety and crossed it with Vitis Arizonica in Arizona is a native of the southwest and there are some plant breeding advantages to using Arizonica, it carries the resistance, they can somehow see that really well in my days of knowing how all this stuff works is a little bit past but but there were there are certain advantages that Arizonica provided a one of which was it's a pretty neutral tasting grape. And then also the the second thing was, they were able to pick out right away if they did a cross whether they can tell whether it had the resistance or not. So they did worked on that he's worked on it for about 25 years. And in the end, he had these varietals that were that are 97% vinifera. And only 3% of the American stock, which is pretty important for the flavor profile. They taste very much like the different wines, not like you know, the native wines.   Craig Macmillan  6:53  And then you've expanded that vineyard, I'm assuming you had your trial vineyard and expanded it.   Adam Tolmach  6:57  No, no, no, it's all it's all we have is this 1.2 acres. Yeah. And so you know, we mostly make conventional grapes. So you know, we make Pinot Noir Syrah Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc and a few other things. And we get some of those grapes from the Ojai area and in spots where they're when they're where there's less Pierce's Disease pressures. And then also up in Northern Santa Barbara County, as I said before, and so yeah, we're just we're still working with, with what we have, we found that the vines are very productive. And we are currently making really just the right amount that we need to provide our direct customers with the wines. It's been a fabulous experiment and great fun, because basically knew, but nobody knew how to grow these grapes. And each grape variety grows a little differently. And so then that was that was a real challenge there. Because I had grown grapes in the same spot before I knew some of the problems and challenges and they had a real strong sense of how I wanted to grow them a second time around. And so that was super helpful. But it's still they still were unknowns for for us, you know, the bigger the crop level, all that stuff, the taste. And then so that was great fun. And then in winemaking wise, Andy Walker had done a number of public tastings of these experimental varieties, I think I went to four of them, where they're mostly were three gallon lots that were fermented by the university. And so it's a little hard to tell from that, but they just seem like there was some potential there. Interestingly, Camus vineyard early on, got some of the vines have this one variety paseante noir. And so they made a really almost commercial size lot of that one, and I was able to taste that before I planted it. And while their winemaking style is a little different than mine, there was it was clear that there was like lovely potential in those grapes. So that was encouraging. But still, we knew nothing, we had no idea. It's still a work in progress it. You know, after five years of producing wine, there's a lot more to learn about how to best make these works. But so anyway, we planted four varietals one is passeante noir, which I think is sort of the best of the ones that I've I've tried. We also had a red, that is really it was never released to the public. So it's a you know, it's our own little thing. We have a small amount of that we call it Walker red. And then we have two whites caminante blanc and ambulo blanc and they're both to go back. Well to go on, I guess is the ambulo blanc and the caminante blanc are distinctively different. They're a bit on the Sofia and blanc side of life, I suppose. But not exactly. And then going back to the passeante noir that's I feel like it sort of tastes like a cross between between syray and maybe cab franc And then possibly some mouved you know, it's a little hard to, to read exactly what's there, but they're unique and different. And you know, in a world from 30 years ago, people wouldn't have known what to do with them. But these days, there's a lot of interest in unique grape varieties, you know, all over Europe, people are, are reviving ancient varietals that nobody's ever heard of, and they all have unique flavors and unique characters. Here are some newly bred ones that that are available now.   Craig Macmillan  10:27  What is the response from consumers have been like?   Adam Tolmach  10:29  Well, that's, that's been super encouraging. Because so you know, we're selling almost exclusively directly to our, our consumers, we have a tasting room, and we have, we do mailorder as well. And but I mean, it's been very positive, we've been able to sell out the wines, people seem to really enjoy them. So it that's been a thrill to, you know, have that consumer acceptance, I think it would be much more difficult if it was, you know, in a grocery store, for instance, but because nobody would know what the name meant. When we're able to hand sell it, it has not been difficult to sell. So that's, that's been super fun. Now, Dr. Walker, also, he had the idea that these varieties, you could grow them and use them as blending material, you know, like if you're making Cabernet Sauvignon in the Napa Valley. It's well known that in the Napa Valley near the Napa River, there's huge Pierce's disease problems. And so is one of his ideas is well you could you know, plant strips of of these varietals be able to have at use the ground productively and then blend them with Cabernet Sauvignon as long as you're over 75% You could call it Cabernet. But what's amazing to me is that the this Passeante Noir is really it's it's it works pretty well as a standalone varietal.   Craig Macmillan  11:41  Were you tempted to to blend we attempted to use these as blenders? Or were you committed to single varietal all along?   Adam Tolmach  11:48  I was much more interested in what they had to say. Yeah, so there wasn't very much interest in my part of of using them to stretch of wine or whatever to you know, to add to something else. It was an option I you know, if they weren't as good as they are, I would definitely could put them into you know, inexpensive bland we make it Ojai read or Ojai white. And so that was definitely an option. But I'm kind of thrilled that they you know, they're interesting enough, they can stand alone.   Craig Macmillan  12:13  Do you think that you'll expand your planting?   Adam Tolmach  12:15  Possibly right now, No, I've got too many things going on. And in this little vineyard year, being small as I do, I do all the pruning, and do some of the work out there. And so it's kind of a family affair. I'm not sure if I want to overwhelm my family with more. For our needs, we don't need too much more. As as things stand. We're we're pretty small size operation. And this is pretty much, well takes care of it. Interestingly, in the same vein, I own a small vineyard, up in the Lompoc area in Santa Rita Hills called Vaciega that's planted to Pinot Noir. And there's one area of the vineyard is kind of up on a little bit of up on a, a mesa or something in between, you know, above quite a bit above the river. The Santa Ynez river. But there's one small section of the property. That's right, basically, in the river bottom, it had been planted to Chardonnay and died of pierces within eight years of its planting. So it was pretty, pretty devastated. And so we actually planted the passeante noir down there and got our first crop this year into that world last year in 2013. And we're pretty excited by that. So really different climate to grow in. So you know, cool climate versus pretty warm climate. It seems pretty, pretty fascinating right now, I'm pretty excited by that. So we do you know, we do have more just not here in Ojai.   Craig Macmillan  13:43  Would you commit like, what are you going to cultural notes on each variety? And then also what are your like winemaking notes on each variety because this podcast is growers and winemakers and we can get a little bit more technical if you like.   Adam Tolmach  13:54  Oh, sure. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So Andy Walker released five different varietals, three red, and two whites. I have the two whites and I have only one of the Reds that are commercially released. And that one is paseante noir and paseante Noir is a very vigorous grower. We're on pretty rich soil, I mean, richer than you need for grapes, mostly eluvial stuff. You go down three and a half, four feet, and it's, you know, it's river rocks, and then there are shaley areas, but it's rather richer than you need. We haven't planted on one 114 rootstock which is quite deinvigorating. But in our site, it's still exhibits lots of vigor. And so the paseoante noir grows like crazy. We have planted pretty close together. So our rows are five and a half feet apart, rather than, you know, six or eight or 10. And I did that specifically, for climatic reasons, you know, you get these rows a little bit closer together. You get a fairly tall vertical trellis. And what you end up with is, is a little more shading. And we have this really narrow canopy, the grapes all get some direct sun, but just not for very long, a little bit in the morning a little bit in the afternoon, the rest of the time, they're shaded, also the ground is shaded a lot, because they are so close together. And I think that keeps the temperature down. And I think that's really better for quality. And that's, you know, my personal view on it. And, and that's worked really well we've never, we've never had a situation yet where, you know, it's gotten so hot that the grapes have rasined up, you know, just like overnight, it's not just not happened. So yeah, so here we have the paseante noir it's you know, it's a real vigorous grower, I have a quote on pruned it's incredibly productive. We've been dropping, you know, 50% or more of the grapes as a as a green drop every year and I think I need to double down and drop even more as it turns out, they really want to produce in part of its, you know, part of it is our rich soil, but I think they're also bred to be quite productive. So that's, that's really nice. You know, better than too little, which is, you know, kind of Pinot Noir is problem, generally speaking, the walker red is this one that nobody really knows about, but it's, it's a little more like if the paseante is is a cross between, in my mind a cross between Syrah and cab franc and the walker read is a little more Zin and Grenache kind of character grows a little more upright and with less vigor, a lot more like how Grenache grows. And then the two whites the caminante blanc produces these little tiny clusters that somehow end up always produced, you know, the yields are still high, even with the small berries, small clusters, they give a little bit of a blush to them almost, they're not completely green when they're fully ripe. And they have a really distinctive spicy character, they're quite interesting. And that one is the weakest growing, there's no bigger problem there, it grows along fine with it, it fills up the canopy, but just barely every year, because of the size of the clusters, you just don't expect there to be much crop, but it always turns out to be very generous. And then the other varietals is called ambulo blanc. And it's a little, maybe has a bit of Sauvignon Blanc, spiciness to it. But it also is it's got a much more sort of Chardonnay ish, like, produces large clusters. And it also grows vigorously. So it requires a lot of the trellising is really, really important. And so we spend a lot of time in the ambulo blanc and paseante noir, you know, weaving weaving the canes up, right.   Craig Macmillan  14:06  Based on your experience, would you say, Hey, this is a great idea. If you live in a Pierce's disease area, you should definitely try this out.   Adam Tolmach  17:55  Oh, yeah, definitely. Yeah. Because I mean, if the if Pierce's Disease is pretty strong, you're you know, you're left with, you know, having to use a lot of insecticides, and they're very bee unfriendly insecticides. And so, you know, we're able to grow here completely organically. That's worked out really well. So that's, that's, there's a great advantage there. I noticed in your questions at the you had to get sent me a list of questions. And one of them is like, what else should they be working on at the university? And definitely, my opinion is, you know, the biggest disease problem of grapevines in California is called powdery mildew. Everybody knows about it, why there aren't more powdery mildew resistant vines out out here yet is, is is interesting, you and every other trade, people that are kind of, you know, they, they praise, the new things that are coming along, the progress has been made in the wine business, everybody wants to just the old thing, just the way it's always been, that's a little bit of a stumbling block in a world where the climate is changing. So that's what that's why I really recommend that's what should be worked on is is resistance to powdery mildew, because it's not going to get better with climate warming. And also, it's it's the reason that we drive through our vineyards, you know, five or 10 times in a season just for powdery mildew control, it would be an incredibly great environmental thing if we could grow great tasting grapes and make great wine out of powdery mildew resistant varietals.   Craig Macmillan  19:27  And I think people are starting to move that direction.   Adam Tolmach  19:30  Oh, yeah.   Craig Macmillan  19:31  But you're right, bring it on. You know, let's, let's try where can people find out more about you?   Adam Tolmach  19:36  You can go to our website, you know, And there's, there's lots there's tons of information about about us and me and what we're doing and we have, there's a whole article on on the site about the Pierce's resistant vines that we're growing.   Craig Macmillan  19:52  Very cool. Well, um, so our guest today has been Adam Tolmach owner, winemaker. Oh, hi, vineyard. Thanks so much for being on the podcast. This is great. Right   Adam Tolmach  20:00  Yeah my pleasure I've been listening to your show now for quite some time I really enjoy it   Craig Macmillan  20:04  oh good fantastic thank you and for all of our listeners out there thank you for listening to sustainable winegrowing with vineyard team   Nearly perfect transcription by
23:58 5/2/24
226: #1 Marketing Tip of 2023: The Training Your Tasting Room Staff Needs | Marketing Tip Monday
Employees who are regularly trained and educated report higher levels of motivation, performance, company loyalty, and more. Yet, almost 52% of employees in the food and beverage industry only receive training when they join their organization. Of those that do receive regular training, only 4.5% receive training about their company’s mission and values (TalentLMS, 2019). Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. In this Throwback Thursday Marketing Tip, we’re revisiting the most downloaded Marketing Tip Monday episode of 2023: #178: The Training Your Tasting Room Staff Needs. Why Education Matters If you aren't regularly providing training and education for your staff, especially on your company's mission and values, you're missing out on opportunities to create a stronger, more dedicated team! One way tasting room managers can educate their staff on the company's mission and values is to have continual conversations about what your brand is up to behind the scenes, i.e., your sustainability efforts. Tips from an Insider The hospitality team at Center of Effort can tell you all about the brand’s commitment to sustainability. In recurring staff meetings, the team talk about what’s going on in the winery and in the vineyard, plus what the brand is doing to improve their sustainability. John Gayley, Hospitality Team Member at Center of Effort says there are three big benefits to these conversations about sustainability: Staff know their input matters. The business improves its sustainability. Guests get a richer, more meaningful tasting experience. “Education really enforces the importance of each of our roles in helping Center of Effort stay up on its sustainability efforts,” John shares. “Hospitality staff reinforce the brand. We can highlight our commitment to sustainability more if we understand what we are doing both fundamentally, and the new and exciting things we’re doing to improve. These conversations keep everyone engaged and ready to come up with new ideas.” John often takes guests on vineyard tours. He says that people are “fascinated by what goes on in the vineyard, and by the thought that goes into the sustainable approach.” Visitors love learning about cover crops, irrigation, owl boxes, and more. “When guests talk with a well-informed team member, this helps all of us in our mission of sustainability.” We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing yours today!       Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Apply for SIP Certified Wine Marketing Tips eNewsletter Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
02:56 4/22/24
225: California’s Ban on Autonomous Tractors
An antiquated California law makes the use of autonomous equipment in the vineyard challenging. Michael Miiller, Director of Government Relations at the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) explains that workplace safety standards developed in the 1970s based on 1940s equipment state that self-driven tractors must have an operator onboard. To update this law, CAWG is working closely with manufacturers and countries that allow autonomous equipment to aggregate data on safety. Automation has many potential benefits to farm workers include developing transferable skills, upward mobility, precision agriculture, and increased safety. Learn about how the law works today and about funding opportunities to train staff. Resources:         117: Grapevine Mildew Control with UV Light 120: Autonomous Drone Vineyard Spraying 219: Intelligent Sprayers to Improve Fungicide Applications and Save Money California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) Legislative Action Center California’s ongoing ban of autonomous tractors a major setback Department of Industrial Relations Regulation Title 8 Section 3441 Operation of Agricultural Equipment Electric, self-driving capable tractors roll into California North Coast vineyards. North Bay Business Journal. (Partial pay wall) Frequently Asked Questions Self-Propelled Agricultural Equipment (CAWG Member Login required) Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today is Michael Miiller. He is Director of Government Relations at the California association of wine grape growers. And thanks for being on the program.   Michael Miiller  0:09  Thank you for having me.   Craig Macmillan  0:11  The talk today is where we're at with autonomous tractors as they give a presentation, and you brought up some of the issues we were facing. And I know you've worked on this a lot as well, if you can tell us as of where we are here, end of February 2024. Are we going to get our detractors or not?   Michael Miiller  0:30  That's a really good question. And you can approach them in a whole bunch of different ways. One is we already have them, the technologies there. Now they're being used in many vineyards, across companies around the world. They're also being used in orchards and fields and other commodities. And the reasons for that are in that it's not just economics, it's also about availability of workforce. It's about precision, agriculture, precision, viticulture, making sure that we are good stewards of the land. And it's also about looking to the future, making sure that we have a sustainable industry to grow by grower sustainable vineyard is a huge investment in So on one hand, yes, we already have that. On the other hand, there are continued complications of California law with it. The law states that if you are using self driven tractors, and that's the language in the California workplace safety standards, self driven tractors, then that means that you're supposed to have a driver on board that equipment. So if you have an autonomous tractor that is self driven, meaning that it's programmed to operate without a driver on board, but through electronic means through technology, then you're supposed to have a driver on that board, no matter what. And that law obviously very antiquated. It was, you know, created in the 1970s is one of the very first workplace safety standards in California, is based on 1940s technology. And it's basically targeting for a guided tractors and seeding you mechanisms, as well as irrigation, those kinds of things. And that really targeting the tractors or technology we have today just wasn't even a fathem of possibility back in the 40s 50 60 70. So this is all new logic doesn't address that issue. So in that sense, we're not there yet. But we're getting there.   Craig Macmillan  2:24  Reading up on this topic. But first of all, I can see why it came about. Because I remember growing vegetable fields where people were laying irrigation pipe, and there was nobody in the trenches. And I thought, wow, and then also I thought that was really dangerous is someone who then has to jump up into the tractor to train the roads. So they're putting the wheels and things I can understand that. And yeah, nobody had any idea we'd be here today. So where's the resistance coming from this point from this code from Cal OSHA that coming from the legislature was we're, what's the book that we're reading from?   Michael Miiller  2:57  So it's a couple of things. One hand, while there is resistance for some talk about where where we have embraced, right, where we have people welcoming, you have to remember that the California is the place where agriculture and technology intersect, right? We're largest agricultural state in the nation with a home of great innovation technology. So for these things to come together in California, um, it isn't by happenstance, you know, it's because the technology is here that needs parties here. And people generally understand that this technology, you know, while it seems new, or there's something that is up and coming and in development, it is here already, and it is here to stay. So people do genuinely know that, you know, looking at regulators looking at politicians, they generally get that there is a need to get this right. Okay. So that's the good part of it. The resistance comes in a couple places. One, you have labor unions, who basically fundamentally think that they're gonna lose jobs, technology, right? That for every track that has being driven and remotely, yeah, that's one less tractor driver. And they see that as a job loss in this example. We don't see it that way. We fundamentally believe that in California, there are two tractor jobs for every one tractor driver, you know, we just don't have enough workers to do the job. So in that reality, we're not losing jobs. We're just not. That's just not the reality. And the other part of it, too, we also know that if you take the average person who was working on a tractor and say, Hey, would you rather ride that tractor all day long? Or would you rather operate that tractor remotely from a laptop computer with a skill that is transferable to other industries? I would say more than 99% of those drivers say, yeah, you take me off the tractor. If I can do it remotely? Absolutely. Why would I want to be on the tractor? We don't really see it as a job loss issue. We also see more as a job safety issue. And we know that with technology, the firm is much much safer. It just is because of how the machine is designed to be used. If you're spraying pesticide with it with a machine It is going to be more precise, where it is applied. And it's going to be lesser in amounts and how much is applied. So we think that that is increased worker safety, as well as the basic fact that there's nobody on that tractor, it's less likely that someone's going to get hurt by that tractor. So we really fundamentally believe that is actually as a increase worker safety, increased environmental safety, as well as no job loss. But that is really views are coming from they're fundamentally concerned about job loss, I would never speak for them, you should talk with them yourself. But that's what they testify to in public hearings, then you look at the other issue, the big the bigger public perspective, and the bigger political conversations that happen around it. And we talked about anything that is automated, as far as you know, equipment, vehicles driving around, the first place people go to as those taxis in San Francisco, and they look at it from that perspective, okay. You've got busy roads, you've got hills, you've got curves, you've got pedestrians, you have all of those factors. And then they look at the videos that are, you know, online and computer, you know, YouTube, whatever. And they see those occurrences which, frankly, are very infrequent and not the common occurrence, but they're an infrequent occurrence. But they see those infrequent occurrences and they see them as commonplace, even though they're not. And then they see them, as is something that, you know, applies to all autonomous equipment, all self driven equipment. And in reality, if you're looking at, you know, the tractor moving two and a half miles per hour through a vineyard, when nobody's there, you have a very different situation than, you know, 1000 pound, you know, semi truck going down the interstate for a taxi in downtown San Francisco, was a very different situations. And so we think that we really just look at ag equipment autonomously in a vineyard, because we represent winegraoe growers, that it should be a whole separate conversation from all of the other, you know, autonomous equipment conversations,   Craig Macmillan  7:03  There are autonomous tractors in other states, right, and other countries. So is it possible to bring in these races from these other places, and make an argument that would be persuasive?   Michael Miiller  7:17  That is exactly what we're doing. We believe, whenever you're writing, a workplace safety regulation, this should be based on data should be based on evidence should be based on facts. It shouldn't be based on hyperbolic concerns and discussions, right? Although there's always you know, the the element of people to be safe and where there are concerns. And those concerns or concerns are expressed broadly. Some people I think, take anecdotes and view them as facts or evidence, when in reality, an anecdote is not, you know, conclusive evidence. So we're looking at that evidence from not only other states, but other countries as well. You look over Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand, I mean, this equipment is in use, and they have data of the manufacturers have. And they put that together, some of the labor unions have resisted that data, they think that if the worker isn't represented by a union, then the worker is afraid to file a complaint or speak up and therefore the data isn't reliable. And in California, you've got less than point 5% of our ag forces represented by a union. Most workers in California don't want to be in a union, they don't see any gain to their advantage in that. In that reality, then it's incumbent on us to come up with all that right data and all that right evidence. And that's what we're doing. We're working closely with those other countries, manufacturers, those countries and others. I recently met with the company from New Zealand, and they were had a very interesting presentation about how they have a robot that goes through the vineyard. And it scans in real time looking for viruses and diseases. If you think of for red blotch, for example, right, the robot will go through it a cup, and then the grower and your manager will get on their computer screen, an image of that vineyard with specific locations of where there's a problem and where it needs to be treated. So that grower can then take a robotic tractor, go into that vineyard the next day, and sprayed just those locations where there are problems. And they're doing that in New Zealand and heavy hills, all kinds of terrain, and they're doing it successfully in a very safe way. And that's evidence that we that we you know, gathering and putting together and we think that that's ultimately gonna be very helpful to us.   Craig Macmillan  9:37  You brought up an interesting point that is certainly talked about autonomous tractors and tractor are mentioned or equipments mentioned in either zero. This is Cal OSHA regulation?   Michael Miiller  9:47  Correct.   Craig Macmillan  9:48  Does this apply to things like automated robots?   Michael Miiller  9:51  Probably because remember, when you're talking about self driven agricultural equipment equipment.   Craig Macmillan  9:56  Yeah, then can be very broad. Interesting, interviewed a number of different posts for the podcast that are working on automated robots to do all kinds of stuff. And this exact problem had really occurred to me.   Michael Miiller  10:10  If you think about it from the perspective of some of the sprayers that are out there now, there's a sprayer that has like three different models. And there is no, you know, driver's seat, there's no steering wheel, there's no accelerator, brake, clutch, gear shift none of that. It's all operated remotely. So even if you wanted to put somebody on top of that sprayer and have it running through the vineyard, there's no place a person to be. It's just not physically possible. Right?   Craig Macmillan  10:39  Where are we have what's coming up next? We're in February 2024. And you had mentioned public hearings and testimony speaking in the Senate, what's the next phase on this topic?   Michael Miiller  10:49  So we're working closely with the manufacturers, we believe that the best way forward is mobile a couple of things. If your viewers are members of the California Association of wine grape growers, we put out a FAQ fact sheet that we think will help growers to use equipment under California law legally in California, in California, the key is that we using that equipment, it shouldn't be anybody else in the vendor, right? If the tractors going through doing his work, just make sure that there's nobody there. Because if you do that, then it is not really a workplace. Remember, the regulation is a workplace safety standard that applies to a workplace. So if there's nobody there is not a workplace, that law doesn't apply to that. And again, I'm not your lawyer. So I encourage you to read our FAQ sheet, but that also talk with your legal counsel and your HR professionals. Make sure that works for your specific situation. Very broadly speaking, if there's nobody in the in the vineyard, then it's not really work because it should be elaborative. But that means you should also keep the records of that, how do you how do you document that there's nobody there and keep your payroll records, make sure it's all detailed, keep time logs about when the machines that use or where it's in use, you make sure you've got all that documented for a minimum of six months. So that if there's ever a citation issue, if somebody files a complaint, you can then say, Okay, here's what you know, here's what we did, here's how we did it. And there's nobody there. Therefore, it's not a workplace, and therefore, there's no basis for the citation. So that's in the short term, because, again, I have visited a number of venues where the equipment is in use. And that is fundamentally how it's often used right now, with nobody around the equipment they the operative late at night, they operate on doing equipment that doesn't really require anybody to be in the vineyard. So it fits what's in practice today is to really look at that separate from a workplace safety standard, because it's not really a workplace. So that's the short term. And the long term, we really got to fix this regulation, we just have to the regulation is goes back to the disco age, for God's sake, right, music has changed. So it's technology. So and so was fashion, right? So yeah, I don't have any bell bottoms anymore. So so we need to think about, you know, how that regulation, you know, should read and how it should apply to just autonomous equipment and what that would look like. And part of that is going to have to come from the manufacturer, industry from the from that sector, because they're the engineers, they're the experts, they know how to do that, right? The agricultural end of it, we can bring all kinds of evidence to bear about why it's needed, and why it's appropriate, why it needs to be updated, the details of the equipment itself, what if defined with equipment is in a way this engineer and how its technology is used, then you have to look at how to operate that equipment safely and what that looks like and how that, you know, operates. And then you go look at where is equipment intended to be used and for what purpose. So you've got to put all that together in a regulation that your reflects the science, not only of today, but also where things are going. So because we have to keep going back and just as regulation of science, develops, technology grows over time, is gonna be a long, long continual investment process of the regulation. And we think it should be written in a way that reflects what's happening today, with also our appreciation of what's coming down the road, is we know that there's more coming. I mean, we're at the tip of the iceberg of what the technology can do right now.   Craig Macmillan  14:35  Oh, yeah, no, you're absolutely right. I the role of humans in this is always the tricky bit. It's kind of an aside, but I'm old enough to remember when laser cutters first came out. It was kind of a panic that you're gonna put an eye on you're gonna blind somebody with these, you're gonna and no, I don't want to shine in my eye but they're all over the place. I use them all the time and they're just they're not illegal. Don't put it in an airplane. Hopefully we can kind of get past some of it. So one of the reasons I say that is, again, I've talked to many guests, they're going full on in this area. And they've got federal funding, like you said, it's being it's being implemented in all over the world. And we need to catch up.   Michael Miiller  15:13  Frankly, if you're a grower in California, and you're not thinking about looking at precision agriculture, and how do you use this technology, you're making a mistake, because it really will benefit every part of the industry. I firmly believe that and it'll benefit our workforce, our communities, everybody involved. Well, another example perhaps for me too, is you mentioned laser printer. The other ones, I remember the 70s When I was a kid, the invention of scanning groceries, the barcodes at the cash register, right? That didn't exist before early 70s. Right. And one of the places where there was a lot of pushback on it was from cashiers, they thought you're going to replace my job with these machines are going to scan the groceries. And if you talk to the average grocery cashier today, they would not want that job otherwise, because it makes their job a lot easier.   Craig Macmillan  16:05  You still need cashiers.   Michael Miiller  16:07  Correct. Yeah.   Craig Macmillan  16:08  Yeah. I mean, that role didn't go away. You know, when I first met you, I saw you give a talk. And I asked you a question. I'm gonna answer this question here. That does a really interesting answer. We're definitely moving this technology direction. There's no doubt of it. When we're talking automation, we're talking robotics, we're talking electrical driven motors, on and on and on, this is going to take a pretty sophisticated workforce to not only operate, but also to maintain nationally or in California, are we bringing people into learn these topics in these areas?   Michael Miiller  16:46  That's a good question. It's a several layered answer. You know, one is one hand. Yes, we are. I mean, when you're looking at some of the manufacturers who are doing some of this product testing, they're making sure that there are people trained to operate their machines, and there's the training themselves as part of the package, when you buy the tractor, you're gonna get some assistance and training your employees to have a part of it as you have Fresno State university, UC Davis, Cal Poly, a lot of community colleges, who are already training in some of this work, they're they're making sure that where there is training of agriculture industry, that that training includes technology, right. They're training people, you know, for all of that, as well as for the marketing in the industry, product, all of it. So the training is already happening as well, or I mentioned earlier, where we know that there's some embrace of this issue, the governor just recently announced that there's going to be a $10 million program at the EDD employment training panel, where there's some money being provided for agricultural employers to train their employees and various things, not just technology, it can be all kinds of different issues. But the idea goes to make sure that we have a sustainable workforce of workers are getting trained in skills that will benefit them through upward mobility, transferable skills, and all of that. And that $10 million is for that purpose. So if you're the if you're the grower, who's wanting to make that change, and move, move from, you know, traditional tractors to self driven automation, whatever kind of equipment you're going towards, you know, it might be an option for that grower to, to apply for a grant for the ETP, to get some funding to train those people in that new skill. So there is a lot of recognition of the need to train workers and to make sure that that people have the skills necessary. One of the big ones you mentioned was how do you maintain these tractors, right, if you've got an electric tractor, you know, that's operating on the battery. And it's a whole different mechanism than if you have a tractor, that's diesel gasoline, you know that how you repair that equipment, how you service equipment, you maintain it, it's a bit of a different skill. So we need people who are trained in that as well as how to operate it. So there's a pretty substantial need for training people. And I think that that's kind of the appeal of it too. Because all those skills are transferable. When we look at our workforce, we see that the average ag worker is getting older and older. That's because we're not bringing in a lot of younger people, right? They don't want to do the ag work, they want to do something different, right? They're more interested and motivated to do other kinds of work. So if we can look at that reality for younger workers and say, how do we make this job more appealing to them? And we're applying these kinds of technologies and skills, they will come back because at work in the 70s is very different than ag work today with this technology. It's just an entirely different thing.   Craig Macmillan  19:46   If there was one thing that you would tell a great or on this topic, what would it be?   Michael Miiller  19:52  I'll start with this. I'm a Midwestern kid. I was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I spent most of my childhood in Iowa and Wisconsin, my tie back to agriculture is from that Midwest experience, right. And my uncle has a farm outside of Mitchell, South Dakota. And I would go help them as farmers and I drive tractor and do whatever he had. He had hogs. He had some cattle, he grew soybeans, corn, alfalfa, all kinds of stuff. He was very diverse in what he did every year. You know, he relied on Mother Nature for rain in new irrigation back there, right? So I remember talking with him after I come out to California, just touching him, see how he's doing? And I asked him, so what's your most reliable crop right now? How are you doing with it? How was how's the industry has environment, it's my most reliable crop right now is a cell tower, that I lease on the corner of my land, that is guaranteed income every year, every year that's guaranteed income. With that in mind, if I talk to a grower today and say, what's, what's the one thing they should really think about, think about where your opportunities are to actually, you know, save money, invest in the future, reduce your cost, and actually create those reliable sources of income and sustainability, right. So if you're looking at things like carbon sequestration in the vineyard, you're looking at cover crops you're looking at, you know, all of that kind of stuff. You're looking at, you know, a technology that is down the road, you're looking at stuff that's coming, and I would pause, take a breath and look at all of that, because there are huge opportunities there is some growers laughed at my uncle for putting up this tower. He's like, Yeah, but this is cash income every month. And I'm good to go with it. Yeah. So yes, I say continue looking at the technology and see how it applies to your bottom line. Because you will be surprised at how much and how big of an advantage it is for growers to actually look at this technology and make that investment.   Craig Macmillan  21:55  I'm from the Midwest, myself. I'm from Iowa, Soux Falls Iowa.   Michael Miiller  21:58  I lived in Waterloo as a kid.   Craig Macmillan  22:00  You're kidding me.   Michael Miiller  22:01  No, Waterloo!   Craig Macmillan  22:02  We need to edit this part out! Well, then you can well, then you really can relate to this. You know, I was involved in farming, I was a city kid. But we had, you know, members of our church, or folks that we knew who had farms and side of town, they had to make some big decisions. Sometimes, you know, depending on the price of corn, they may have to store it, I may put it in a silo. Or maybe I should look at another crop or another type of livestock or something like that. Since that time, we now have farms with tractors that are running on GPS that have intelligent sprayers all programed. And a family can farm quite a bit of ground with again, a lot of safety, but they weren't big investments. They were risks. That's that's what I hear from around other crops. It's like Nope, that was a big jump. But once we did, it made tons of sense, it worked out great. I do want to kind of underline your idea that we should definitely be looking and thinking and doing the math. And then especially as technology becomes more adopted.   Michael Miiller  23:00  Everybody's got to make the decision as a grower by grower or video by vineyard basis. But in speaking in general terms, I think growers would be surprised actually beneficial it is to them.   Craig Macmillan  23:10  Where can people find out more about you in these topics?   Michael Miiller  23:13  You go to our website www orgy my email simple Michael at Send me a text anytime email I'm easy to get a hold of. The contact information is on the website. And there's some information on there as well mentioned our FAQs etc website and it gets available for our growers and viewers who aren't caught growers should be known I could help you with that as well.   Craig Macmillan  23:39  Okay, sounds good. This today was Michael Miiller. He's Director of Government Relations, California Association of wine grape growers. Thanks for being here.   Michael Miiller  23:46  Thank you so much. Enjoy yoru day.   Craig Macmillan  24:22  Waterloo, Iowa   Michael Miiller  24:24  Yeah! yeah, go cyclones.   Nearly perfect transcription by
27:08 4/18/24
224: Cultivating Female Empowerment at Cambria Estate Winery | Marketing Tip Monday
When asked to define the 3 P's of Sustainability (People, Planet, Prosperity), Prosperity is often the one gives people pause. But it's such an important leg of the stool! Sustainable businesses develop long-term plans and strategies to ensure they can thrive now and into the future. Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. Some of the ways businesses embody Prosperity are through: Creating and sticking to a budget. Keeping thorough records. Creating informed and effective marketing plans. A business can also extend their prosperity through collaborative efforts with like-minded groups. When this happens, both parties win. Organizations that partner over shared values benefit by: Pooling resources. Building relationships. Advancing awareness and support for their cause. For example, Cambria Estate Winery is a Business rooted in women’s leadership. Their team partners with organizations that share their dedication to uplifting and empowering women in an incredibly impactful way. Cultivating Female Empowerment Cambria Estate Winery is rooted women’s leadership. Their certified sustainable wines are even named after their proprietors – Barbara, Katherine, and Julia. Did you know that their dedication to recognizing the experiences and achievements of women goes even deeper? Uplifting and empowering women is core to their Business values, and they have a big way of showing it. Every March for Women’s History Month, Cambria selects an organization that aligns with their pillars of climate action and women’s leadership, and pledges $25k to support their efforts. Tamara Bingham, Cambria’s Brand Manager, gets to make the phone call to let the organization know they were selected – a task she says is “probably the most rewarding part of my job.” In 2024, she notified the lead of American Farmland Trust’s “Women for the Land” initiative to pledge their support. Right in line with Cambria’s own sustainable practices, this initiative supports women farmers and landowners in preserving their land and embracing conservatism. Other past years’ partnership organizations include Equity Now, Women’s Earth Alliance, SeaTrees, and Amazon Frontlines. Through these partnerships, Cambria demonstrates their dedication to using the power of their platform to help uplift and empower women everywhere. Their Business practices are founded on their belief that a commitment to sustainability is also a commitment to amplifying the messages of the many deserving organizations working towards a better future. We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing yours today!       Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Apply for SIP Certified Wine Marketing Tips eNewsletter Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
03:20 4/8/24
223: New Decision Support System for Irrigation Efficiency
If irrigation efficiency is a goal of yours, a new predictive model may make scheduling easier in the future. José Manuel Mirás Avalos, Tenured Scientist at Misión Biológica de Galicia in the Spanish Nation Research Council (CSIC) (MBG-CSIC) in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) is working on a Decision Support System (DSS) prototype for irrigation and fertilization of winegrapes. This computer model accounts for multiple variables including weather, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, soil type, plant spacing, bud break, variety, and wine quality goals to help farmers make more informed irrigation decisions throughout the growing season. Resources:         191: CropManage: Improving the Precision of Water and Fertilizer Inputs 195: Hydrological Mapping: A Vital Component of Effective Water Conservation Plans 213: High Resolution Data from Space Helps Farmers Plan for Climate Change Decision Support System for Seasonal Irrigation and Nitrogen Fertilization Decision support system for selecting the rootstock, irrigation regime and nitrogen fertilization in winemaking vineyards: WANUGRAPE4.0 Effects of the Annual Nitrogen Fertilization Rate on Vine Performance and Grape Quality for Winemaking: Insights from a Meta-Analysis Fiabilidad de la monitorización del contenido de agua del suelo para determinar el estado hídrico de la vid. (“Reliability of monitoring soil water content to determine the water status of the vine”) -in Spanish José Manuel Mirás Avalos on ResearchGate: José Manuel Mirás Avalos On LinkedIn Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today is José Manuel Mirás Avalos. He is tenured scientists at the Misión Biológica de Galicia and the Center for Spanish Research Council. Thanks for being on the podcast.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  0:10  Thank you very much for inviting me. It's a great pleasure for me.   Craig Macmillan  0:14  We were interested in talking to you because we saw that you've been working on a pretty interesting type of technology with it with a whole group of folks around the idea of decision support systems, particularly around irrigation, fertilization for grapes, possibly even root stock selection, when I read, first of all, for our audience, what exactly is a decision support system?   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  0:34  The idea behind that decision support system is to provide a within one package in this case is a computer platform in which we use different kinds of information coming from real data coming from models that that are implemented within this platform to provide the users the end users with information to make certain practices easier, or more rational. In the vineyard. In this case, we were centered in this particular case in irrigation and fertilization. And there was another it's not exactly a decision support system is more like decisions help decision making for the rootstock which is a independent from the, from the irrigation fertilization system.   Craig Macmillan  1:27  How does the grower use this kind of tool so I'm trying to make decisions about irrigating my vineyard and how did the tool play into it?   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  1:36  At the moment is just a prototype, the computer program or the DSS for being short? The DSS Decision Support System can give some information very easy to obtain such as the geographical coordinates the plant spacings location about the nearest weather station for instance, and that information and the algorithm which is inside this platform in the user will receive an information okay for this conditions over this growing season, you will have to use that much amount of irrigation to obtain given in this case, we use an indicator of grape vine water status the user can modulate within a wide array of values. So, you can decide okay, I want that, on average, my grapevines in this particular danger go between these and these values of of water potential. And then from this decision support system says okay, in that case, you must follow these instructions that is to get that much irrigation for obtaining full genes. Or you can use less irrigation in order to obtain a given quality parameter in that case was soluble sugars in the grapes.   Craig Macmillan  2:59  How's that algorithm developed? Your modeling is a predictive model, basically, you're saying. The vine is going to respond a certain way over time. How is how is that done?   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  3:10  We've capitalized on previous works from other research groups. And I said that that this work is not my work is I work for in collaboration with several research institutions in Spain with people that have a strong expertise, viticulture, in grapevine  physiology, we capitalize on that, on that knowledge in order to model soil water balance, and adapted to vineyards in this case by using a proxy of the grapevine architecture in order to model vegetative growth over the growing season. So with that, we modulate the evapotranspiration of the vineyard. And from that we calculate soil moisture, according to weather that and using data from experiments carried out here in Spain, with seven grapevine varieties located in different regions of the country, let's say correlate soil water content with a measure of grapevine water status in this case was a stem water potential, which is a measure which is considered here in Europe. Well, in the States, there are some kinds of schools that refer other other types of measuring grape vine water status but in this case here in Spain, A, we proved in a previous work that stem water potential is a modality of great buying water status indicator, which works best for irrigation purposes.   The work that you're basing this on the research that's been done, was it done specifically for developing this model? Are you able to take work that's been done for other purpose And then put it all together to get the algorithm that you want?   It was basically the second option that that you have mentioned, we have extensive experience working on irrigation in vineyard. So we have several, we participated in several experiments concerning different irrigation protocols within the vine. So we let's say capitalize those data from those experiments. And also perform it a couple of experiences during the course of the project, which led to the development of this decision support system.   Craig Macmillan  5:35  Obviously, there's a lot of variation placed to place region to region. And so how do you account for that?   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  5:41  This is a nice question, because it was the most difficult part.   Craig Macmillan  5:45  Yeah, I would imagine Yeah,   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  5:47  For developing this. For accounting this of course, we have weather records from different stations located in different regions of the country, which are close to the vineyards, we use for validating this this model. But we also took into account soil properties such as texture, organic matter, which also vary a lot from region to region, we added two different equations depending on if the soil is calcareous or nor calcareouse, because the hydraulic properties of the soil would be right in case of high calcium carbonate content. But these are the main the main aspects, but there is a parameter within the model that also arise depending on the on the variety, we can imagine this parameter as the threshold of soil water content, until which the given variety of grapevine begins to show signs of water stress. Unfortunately, we could not make a lot of measurements to obtain a wider range of of values for this parameter. According to the data that we have for five varieties, it was very similar, independently of the of the region in which the vineyard is located. So it's more dependent on the variety itself than on the on the location. These are the three main aspects that allow us for four plus eight capturing the variability within within the regions.   Craig Macmillan  7:20  If I was using such a tool, I would give my location that will tell me a lot about what region I'm in, it'll tell me some things. Then you mentioned we put in like the density, the spacing, because that's going to have to what to do with the total leaf area per hectare? Basically, variety, you'd put in varieties as well.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  7:38  Yes, but for accounting for a variety, we also asked, they use it too, to provide their date of bud break. Because it's different depending on the region and also on the variety.   Craig Macmillan  7:51  Okay, so they'll tell me about the season, we're talking about, like season long recommendations. So at the beginning of the season, I would say okay, this is what I'm shooting for. And I would actually put in this is the the vine water status that I would like this is the lead potential I'd like to see. And then it'll say, okay, based on the historical weather, and based on all these other factors, we believe that applying this amount of water would really have that result eventually.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  8:18  That is how it works right now planning to adopt it. But we need help from some company or some people who is expert on computer science, we are planning to develop a tool with the aid of some computer science guys or programmers that allow us to divide the growing season in, let's say, to flowering or flower into venison. Verasion to harvest for instance, on the other hand, using four stages, for instance, ranges of water potentials were tabulated more or less. And the objectives are for the wine producing end user, let's say we'll have the curve that is produced by the model, but in this case, divided into four stages and with the theoretical curve that we should have in order to produce a certain type of wine. So we will be able to say ahead or behind the limit. During this specific stage of the growing season. Suppose you have to apply more water or you should not apply water.   Craig Macmillan  9:35  There's a lot a lot of different ways of trying to achieve this. And that's why this one seems to be kind of a new approach. Even if you're in the development stage. It's still a very intriguing concept and how it might be how it might be applied. And tell me more about how do you actually fit these different pieces together because you got work in a vineyard in one region and work in another you got weather information. You found some way correlating these things with the outcome that you're interested in, which is the water potential.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  10:04  It was kind of difficult but not not so much as as at a first glance, it would be within a soil water balance you have your result is the soil water content at any specific date. But in order to get to that, you need to know the soil water content, let's say the previous day, but you also have already rainfall, you calculate transpiration of the values, the evaporation from the soil is just putting those pieces together that make the thing work. It's It's not so difficult, it's kind of intriguing too, because all these these parts have their equations in the middle to get to them. But in the end is just fit a soil water balance model with with the data from the different, let's say inputs that you have.   Craig Macmillan  10:54  And essentially you as your career actually, I've looked at some of the other things you've done, you do find good fits, you can take multiple variables, this very complicated world. And when you kind of put it all together, you can start to get a picture, you can actually get some fixes to some other variable   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  11:15  Sometimes is easier than some others. So we tried also to model genes, that was very more, much more difficult. We got two nice results. But there was a lot of variation, depending on on climate and in also on the irrigation management. When we validated this other model for dealing with data from from Spain, if I remember correctly, there were poor regions within Spain. It worked well for some regions, but it didn't work for for some others, we didn't get to the solution to get a unique model for all the regions for for GLD. Also, because we combine a deal with dry matter partitioning within the plant.   Craig Macmillan  12:06  Oh, interesting.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  12:07  Yes. And we did that in collaboration with with American professional.   Craig Macmillan  12:14  Who's that?   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  12:15  Alan Luxo from the from Cornell University.   Craig Macmillan  12:18  Oh, fantastic. Cool.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  12:20  Yes, because at that moment in time, my supervisor have made it previously researcher stay in at Cornell University with this professor, he began with the with modeling. In that case, it was apple trees. And we adapted that model to vineyards.   Craig Macmillan  12:40  The cross crop work, it's fascinating because you know, grape vines are a very unusual, kind of unique plant cropping world. But they do have a lot in common with other, you know, Woody perennial crops, other orchard crops. And if we can take the research that's done across multiple areas and use it that's really exciting, increases the efficiency and increases the depth of what we can do, which I really, really like, how you validate this model, where you have people try it, and then you'll come out and you'll take measurements or have them take measurements.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  13:14  For developing the model, we employ that it's a restricted set of that of data, in order to the few parameters that are inside the construction of the model. But we have met so many experiments within the consortium, that we were working on this decision support systems. So we have finally had a set of more than 100 scenarios to validate the model with data collected from the field. In some cases, we have both soil water content and stem water potential. In some others, we only have a stem water potential. So we tested the model against those data. In many cases it worked well. In a few instances, it didn't work well, because of we detected several particularities within the vineyards we use to test the modeling in a given region. For instance, if is you want me to give any an example a specific example, in a region in western Spain southwest, Southwest or Spain, we have vineyard that the field data said that during the summer, it was not as water stress, as the model is saying that it was a fact is a that was occurring is that the vineyard was very close to a river. So it is it is likely that the water table rose within those periods, or that the vine roots were able to reach that water table and the moel wasn't able to capture that. That feature.   Craig Macmillan  14:54  No, but I would imagine if I'm using a tool like that, and I know my sight like can take that kind of thing into account could say, why would a little bit of experience you can say I always know that this recommendation is a little bit higher than what I actually need. But by using that I can say, well, then I'm going to use this number stead. That's kind of the idea. Now, do you see this technology leading to increases in efficiency, reduced water use or just more efficient water use?   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  15:22  I like to seem that, that this is a step forward to auto efficient water use in vineyards. But maybe at this moment is, too let's say it's a scope is too broad. And we have to work on in order to be more specific, or I don't know the word in English.   Craig Macmillan  15:43  Particular.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  15:44  The idea is that to be able from this from this, let's say decision to port that we have to build more detailed decision support system that allows allows end users to manage irrigation on a daily or we'll be on a weekly basis, but it's still some work to do.   Craig Macmillan  16:07  Yeah, exactly. I mean, this is this is early days, and this tool isn't isn't out yet. So we wanted to talk about the the concept, which is fascinating, which always reminds me of something I noticed when I was doing the research, you mentioned a consortium, when you look up these topics, you'll hit pages that have many, many different organizations listed at the bottom. And I believe you just moved around between a couple that are part of the same group or consortium is what it looks like, how does this work you've got you've got different agencies, you have different educational institutions, you have different departments have different parts of government that are collaborating, they're working together, they're coordinating what they do, is that how this works.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  16:44  In his particular case, this project came from a network of collaboration, which was funded by the the Spanish government. And that involved, I don't remember how many but maybe 12 institutions that work on different aspects of viticulture, in order to increase the impact of their research that is really done. Because sometimes, I don't know if this happens in the States. But in Spain, we have the problem that many times we work isolated once from the others, and then our research doesn't reach the level of impact that the funding agencies desire. So in order to, to overcome this weakness, the main funding agency for research here in Spain, asks for creating networks of specific topics, between several research institutes, maybe research institutes, but also universities, and in some cases, private companies, but this later is less frequent.   Craig Macmillan  17:58  Interesting. Yeah, it's interesting there's there's more kind of a multi organizational collaboration here in the United States all the time, we've noticed for a particular topic, and some folks are working on this and some folks are kind of working on this and and coming back with things from different regions or different aspects, but they can all be brought into kind of a coordinated outcome for growers is very, very, very, very practical and very exciting. Is there one thing that you would say to a grower regarding this idea of decision support systems, especially around things like irrigation or fertilizers, or one piece of advice or something that they should be excited about or one reason why they might want to consider using such a tool when it becomes available.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  18:39  Nowadays, the number of decision support system is increasing. There are many companies which are developing tools or recycling other tools coming from other let's say, organizations must be aware that the decision support system generally, which is those that I know that are available on the market are general not specific for a given crop. In order to obtain the best results is is better to have a specific decision support system. So that's for one for the one part. And the second part is that in the end, these are tools to help making decisions, but one cannot disregard the experience of the grower. Of course, in the end these these kind of decision support systems might must be used as a tool. If you allow me to give a recent experience that I have working with a private company, not in the case of vineyards, it was developing a general platform for aiding in irrigation decisions. The final aim that they have is to automate the process of irrigation this can be a little bit dangerous, because if you if you let a model perform the whole process of ollecting that data, make a decision and then execute that decision in the whole process, they can be accumulation of errors that may give a final response, which is not the desired one.   Craig Macmillan  20:15  What you're getting out and you've touched on and what makes sense is it's a decision support. It's not decision, it's not making a decision for you. It's saying, This is what the model says. And you say, Yeah, okay, I hadn't thought of that, or, okay, that works. Or, okay, let's try that. It's not just executing it. I mean, you know, I can imagine I can imagine a world where you would have a decision system that would take all this into account, and then it would open the irrigation valves automatically. And that may not be where we really want to be headed. The human is always going to be the arbiter, that the human is going to be the decision maker, this is about providing the best information to help make a good decision. That's it. And I think that that's really, really crucial, because I am familiar with another variety of other systems. So we look at all this information. And the readings might say, Okay, this is the direction to go, or this is this is what you should do or that, but the grower will say, That's fine for this variety on this root stock on this soil. Absolutely. That works. For me, that makes sense. But we know for a fact that this variety on this root stock on this soil is not going to work because of the experience with all the details. And I've had some very interesting conversations with folks where I'm looking at the database stuff and saying, Hey, these vines look fine, there's plenty of water, the water potential looks great. There's water in the soil, everything seems to be fine. And the grower says, Well, we're going to irrigate. And I'm like, that seems surprising to me. And they say, Well, under this condition, this variety will collapse out of nowhere, when it hits a certain threshold, and I want to make sure we don't get anywhere near that threshold. So that that information was useful for making decisions in one scenario, they make a slightly different decision in another scenario, and literally those two spots are across the road from each other. A lot of similarities between the two but the grower has that has that experience to say yeah, but under certain conditions, this is what's going to happen. And so again, it's about having the best information to make the best choice, but the human is the one that's going to make the call the human is never gonna go away. And I would be really fascinated once you have once this stuff becomes available. I would love to see some research on how people use it, how people use the technology. Where can people find out more about you?   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  22:37  I have profiling on research gate which is a social network for researchers there you can find my All my publications in a no the top is a working over my ground and also on LinkedIn.   Craig Macmillan  22:52  Fantastic. Yep, I found you very easily and you have a lot on there and a whole variety of other topics that we will have don't have time to get to today, but it's really cool work. So our guest today has been José Manuel Mirás Avalos. He is a scientist at Misión Biológica de Galicia in the Spanish Nation Research Council. Spain with the center Spanish Research Council was the one well, thanks for being here. This is really interesting stuff.   José Manuel Mirás Avalos  23:13  Thank you very much, Craig. It was a pleasure for me to talk to you   Nearly perfect transcription by
26:51 4/4/24
222: How Sustainability Sells in a Tough Market | Marketing Tip Monday
Beyond doing good by the environment and your community, your sustainably certified wine grapes differentiate your brand in today’s oversaturated wine market. But do you know how much of a value-driver your certification really is? Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. In this Marketing Tip, get insight into the significance of sustainably grown grapes in the larger market from Gregg Hibbits, who has nearly 30 years of experience selling wine grapes. Over this course of his career, he has experienced a shift in what his grape-buying clients are looking for. Keep reading for highlights from his interview on Episode #83 of the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Buyers with Different Interests Each client, Hibbits says, has different interests. Many winemakers have deep and long-standing interests in sustainability because they believe in its mission: creating high-quality products through protecting, conserving, and regenerating resources so people of today and the future can prosper. They seek out certified sustainable grapes that align with their values. Other buyers believe that sustainability is the direction the industry is going. They feel a push from the market and the trade to produce wine from sustainably farmed grapes, so it is part of their purchasing criteria when they source fruit. Furthermore, sustainability is a value-driver for investors. Businesses want to report back to their investors that the product they are supporting is both of high-quality and reaches exceptional levels in environmental and social health. But he notes a change in his clients over his career. Higher Demands, Higher Premiums Hibbits tells Sustainable Winegrowing, “There’s absolutely no question that people are more demanding on every front now.” Buyers are demanding sustainability. Now, the topic comes up early in conversations with buyers – something, Hibbits says, was not the case 15 years ago. But he has been able to fulfill those demands, and has been rewarded in the form of premiums. “Sometimes it’s as simple as being able to sell your grapes when nobody else can – that’s a premium. And then sometimes when the market is in a different place, the premium is a true premium: I can get $200 - $300 a ton more for my sustainably certified or organic grapes.” And this is something we hear from SIP Certified growers time and time again: John Niven, Cadre Wines “Buyers are looking for wines that have responsible farming practices, are aware of environmental issues, and, of course, are of high quality. The SIP Certified program has added value to our wines allowing us to demonstrate our ability to fulfill all of the desired criteria that buyers look for.” Austin Hope, Hope Family Wines “More and more, we’re being asked about our sustainability efforts in the vineyard and winery. Being SIP Certified is an easy way for us to quantify our practices and tell the consumer and trade about how we run our operation in a way that’s better for the land, the wine and the community”. Adam LaZarre, Broadside Wine “For us, having our wines SIP Certified is easily the best way to let our entire audience know we are sincere about doing the right thing for the health of our vineyards, customers, and employees... I know for a fact that this is a HUGE selling point for our wines.” If your Grapes are SIP Certified… … it’s easier now than ever to put the SIP Certified logo on your wine bottles. Thanks to the latest SIP Certified database feature, you can create a wine application in just a few minutes. Say goodbye to the days of documents and information getting lost in months-old email threads, and instead, upload everything straight to your application. Learn how to Apply for SIP Certified Wine today!   We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing your Sustainable Story today!     Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Apply for SIP Certified Wine Marketing Tips eNewsletter Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
04:16 3/25/24
221: Future Proof Your Wine Business with Omnichannel Communication
While the tradition of wine is still important to how we connect with customers, the way that we communicate has changed. David Avrin, President of The Customer Experience Advantage explains why brands must have an omnichannel approach to their customer communication. Identify which channels are most valuable to your business by defining your core audience. Then find out what they watch, what they read, and where they recreate. Use these insights to harness the technology that your customers use whether its snail mail or TikTok. David reminds us that there is no shame in not being comfortable with technology but there is no excuse to not work with a technology native who does understand the platforms that best reach your audience. Resources:         82: Getting to Know Your Wine Customer 85: It‘s Time for New Wine Sales Strategies 98: Selling Wine in Non-Traditional Channels 161: Use Storytelling to Sell More Wine David Avrin Website David Avrin Books David Avrin LinkedIn David Avrin YouTube Social Media: Facebook | Instagram Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today is David Avrin. He is president of the customer experience advantage. Today we're going to talk about a little bit about the business side, and how that applies sustainability in the wine industry. Thanks for being on the podcast.   David Arvin  0:14  Thank you very much for having me.   Craig Macmillan  0:16  Now, we've talked about wineries vineyards, but their businesses. In your mind, what are some of the important things that winery and vineyard owners might think about in terms of making their companies sustainable into the future?   David Arvin  0:29  Yeah, it's interesting, because I think the industry certainly has been around for a very long time. And when it goes back to Biblical times, and there's there's certain ways that vineyard owners, those who are in the business suppliers, and others, this is how we do business, this is how it's done. But what's interesting is for the rest of us, who are the wine consumers, our lives have changed. And it's actually for everybody, right? How we connect, and share and grow our own businesses, and our changing expectations for access and immediacy, and flexibility, all of that has changed. So I think part of future proofing your business is striking that balance between the traditions, that, that go into making a great vintage wine, and how we interact and how we engage as consumers in the b2b side with distributors and others as well. So many of those mechanisms have changed. So I think what's really important is for people to be very clear on the technologies that are expected, and the ones that facilitate great communication in great relationships. I saw a study the other day, and the gist of it said that, that companies today are expected to deploy technology that allows their customers to do business with them, not from home, from anywhere, at any time, I don't expect that I can get my hair cut at four o'clock in the morning, but I expect that I can make an appointment to do so or cancel that appointment. So I think it's a very unique industry, because the traditions and what is tried and true and effective are so important to maintain, so important to pass along from generation to generation, but how we connect and communicate and deliver those services, those products, all of that has changed. We need to stay on the front end of that.   Craig Macmillan  2:09  One of the attractions of wine, I think, in my experience with customers, is this traditional aspect this is this is something mystical about it. And how do we maintain that kind of magical quality to a product, when we need to engage with the customer in more electronic ways or more distant ways, and maybe without as much touch?   David Arvin  2:31  I think it's just the business part of it, that it requires that kind of an expeditious, ease of use kind of a methodology are really virtual wine tastings unless you're actually tasting wine in different locations and connecting electronically.   Craig Macmillan  2:46  And that's happened.   David Arvin  2:47  Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We did it during COVID. We had so many double dates with my wife and some other couples and stuff, and just opportunity just over a glass of wine and some dinner, to just hang out with each other. It's one of things we learned during the pandemic that was possible. But I think when I've talked about the technology, I think it really is purely just how do we do business, my, my mantra, my new book is all about how to be how to become ridiculously easy to do business with. And so I think fortunately for the industry, I think the traditions still hold true. I think in person, wine tastings and wine enjoys and pairings at restaurants, I think a lot of that will pretty much stay the same. I think it's we're always want to stay on the forefront of that. But it's the the communication, the distribution, the marketing. There are so many new amazing mechanisms now to reach our target market, which is shifting, of course, we can talk about that. But it's using the mechanisms that they use. And so we can be traditional, but we certainly don't want to be seen as stodgy or antiquated, or old school. And so I think there's there's a really wonderful balance that in the terminus is fully intentional, because there's so much that balance comes into this industry. But I think in terms of our communication and our marketing and our in person enjoyment. I think that part's all very important.   Craig Macmillan  4:07  He mentioned the generational change. And that's an issue for the wine business, the generation that really brought us to where we are today, their children, and then possibly their grandchildren are coming of age, they're coming of age. And the question is whether that love of the wine product has been passed on generationally or not. One thing that I learned from looking at some of your other talks and stuff was, it's about and you mentioned it was the ease of connection and the ease of doing business and convenience.   David Arvin  4:40  I think on the business side is that I think there's a great opportunity for the industry to become not just present and relevant but preferable to a new generation as well. It's not like there isn't a long history with wine. As I said, going back to Biblical times. They have survived so well over the years. But what's different is each generation How we communicate, and how we connect and reach out, all of that has changed. I think wine is uniquely positioned to capitalize on that new as long as these generations come to fruition that Gen X, the Gen Y, the Gen Z, and all of them as well, because I think there's a natural progression of maturity in the individual. It's like there's a space, I think, between the parties. And I remember when party was a noun, now it is a verb. And then of course, the the more traditional and stodgy. I think wine is uniquely placed in there. And so while the young people are, they're going to play drinking games at 18, to 23, 24, you know, playing quarters with beer, the opportunity when when it's time to grow up, we grab a glass of wine, and we connect together. So you might have party and the stodgy I think the middle is social. And I think wine has a phenomenal opportunity right now to be positioned as the social drinker, we're not drinking to get drunk. We're not drinking to be to be sophisticated in in our smoking jackets with a high ball and of whiskey. But I think wine lends itself phenomenally to visuals, as well. And so I think if you're going to compare it to industries that have survived and thrived in that transition, I think coffee is probably the best. I mean, we grew up our parents, you go down, look for 15 cents, get a cup of joe. Well, now everybody's enjoying coffee, it's become more profitable, it's become more prevalent, because they've looked at a couple of things. One is the social aspect. And Starbucks had a big role to play in how we look at that experiential thing. But it's also a grab and go kind of an item, being able to recognize how easy do we do that and take that to the office. And that industry has done it very well. No, wine, of course, is something different. We don't necessarily take to the office, but the visuals of people who have come of age socializing, and not just drunk at a frat party, I think there's wonderful opportunities in terms of our marketing to say, when you're when you finally grown up, this is how we connect, this is how we socialize. And the other part of it, I think, is the packaging. And this part has been really fun for us because we are of the mind of so many, that when we get invited to a gathering, we always come with a bottle of wine. What's interesting is talking to others that one of the primary drivers. And this really takes us back to like 50 60, 70s was the emergence of clever and attractive packaging. It's less important today in other industries. But I think it's more important in the wine industry. The clever names, the clever packaging, so many people I've talked to say, I just thought this bottle looks so cool. And that's the one that they bring, right. That's not the bottle we tend to open up we like to display because there's so much creativity in that the elegant yesteryear of wine was a very elegant, labelled today. They're whimsical, they're fanciful, they're, they're tongue in cheek, and everything from the 99 crimes that you can scan and get a little story about them to Menage a Trios, which, which, you know, gives people a little bit of a smile when you realize the the inference, I think is such an exciting industry right now. I think the biggest population bubble in history is coming of age, and the perfect target. And then we look at the social how they communicate as well. Whether it's Instagram, or tick tock, for others, as well short form social short form video, it lends itself so well, two people connecting and gathering and enjoying life and sharing a bottle of wine.   Craig Macmillan  8:23  I'm a dinosaur, I just turned 55. And I work sometimes in the tasting room, the winery where I work now Niner Wine Estates, as time went on, it became very clear that I was not able to communicate with my coworkers, because they were talking about Instagram, they were using Twitter, they were Venmoing everything like I couldn't even be involved in social gatherings without getting Venmo on my phone. It's a here's 20 bucks and like, I don't want that. No, I wanted my Venmo account. Yeah, so one of them actually offered to become my social media consultant. And that is still continued to this day. So how can we make it easy for the consumer to interact with winery, if the consumer is not either tech savvy or in my case doesn't want to be tech savvy.   David Arvin  9:11  The term that you're going to hear so often which is which is omni channel. And omni channel means no matter how they want to communicate with you give them that opportunity. I mean, you talk about Venmo, for example, and I speak to audiences around the world, I write books on all of this. And one of the things I talk about in the new book that I'm writing right now, which is called ridiculously easy to do business with one of the chapters is be ridiculously easy to pay, you know, somebody wants to pay you through Venmo Okay, and this is scary for people with very traditional businesses. And I'm like, oh my god, somebody's trying to give you money, say yes. As you had recognized sometimes it takes a younger person who is a technology native who is immersed in all of this to help you translate and help you implement. There is no shame in not being comfortable with some of the new social media platforms or mechanisms. There is no excuse to not work with somebody who is and just because it might be a little bit scary. And for I mean, if you're old, I'm ancient, my kids run circles around me are all of our kids where we've got a Brady Bunch, they're all sort of 20 to 29. And I've got two of them who do digital marketing and digital media for a living. I wrote books if you can, if you're watching the video behind me, I wrote books, and I couldn't keep up today. But what we do is we surround ourselves, we outsource we, we hand off to people who are comfortable with those mechanisms. So when I talked before up omni channel, we're all going to have people, we're going to have customers from 21 to 85 or above, they want to communicate with you differently, they want to access the product differently, some might be able to do sort of online video introductions, a tour of the winery, some things that look very experiential, and some are very, very comfortable using the app and doing things online ordering. And there's another segment that needs to talk to a person for for those in business, those who are listening to this podcast, you don't have to be all things to all people. But you have to be very clear of who your audience is, and who your future audience is. And make sure that you have the processes in place for them to reach you by phone, by text message. However, that might be an even if it's just the b2b aspect of your business and dealing with vendors and others as well. No matter how they want to communicate, try and make that available. We look at the lifetime value of our customers, both on the consumer side and also on the distribution side. being ridiculously easy to do business with is a competitive advantage today. And all of this is with a recognition that you have to be good at what you do, right? This isn't in lieu of a quality product, don't take your eye off the ball. But what's different today, what's different post pandemic is that our mechanisms for how do we communicate or pay or order or reorder have got to be simple and streamlined. And then when we look at the audience is how do they where are they getting their information if you want to really target those, those 21 to 30 year olds posting clever, engaging intent and enticing videos on Tik Tok or Instagram, it's not fluff, it's business. If that's where they get their information, you need to be there. You need to be there effective.   Craig Macmillan  12:11  And that raises another question. I think it's tough for a lot of businesses just in general, how do you keep up on all this stuff? As there's new applications? There's new channels, there's new preferences, that's another one Pay Pal was the thing. So yeah, Pay Pal? I'm cool PayPal Venmo I'd never heard of it until somebody demanded that as a payment. If I'm the general manager of a business or if I'm an executive, how do I stay on top of this?   David Arvin  12:34  Um, first of all, is the recognition you don't have to do everything. Because it is overwhelming. It's 100%. You don't have to be on every social media platform. You don't have to take every form of payment. You don't have to take Bitcoin, I would advise against it. But it doesn't absolve you of the responsibility to be a student of business be a lifelong learner of business. And there's no shortage of content available online. That tells you here the the the hottest trends, how do millennials or Gen Z prefer to communicate what is their greatest influence into what they buy? When and why just read I mean, there's videos on on online every day, part of my responsibility to my clients and my audiences that I serve is I need to be very, very current. There was somebody who had booked me to to keynote a conference and that's my my primary business as a keynote speaker. And it was six months away. And they asked if I would send they were finalizing things if I would send my slide deck. And I said, I'm happy to send my slide deck but understand it's not what I'm going to present to you in six months, because things will change between now and that whether you have a second generation who's moving up within your business, make sure that you have people of all ages in the room as you discuss strategy. I think to answer your question, just be a student of this there is no shortage go on YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world only second to Google, and it's owned by Google. But YouTube is a wonderful way to have just looking at stories and news clips and others about what are the latest trends. How are they predominantly buying? Where does Gen Z get most of their information? Right? I saw some of the day was fascinating that Disney was suffering in a significant way just because the youngest of our people are getting most of their videos and content online now on YouTube and others and it's in lieu of that it's not like they did anything wrong. Bed Bath and Beyond goes bankrupt not because they did a bad job. It's that we had changed and how we buy and how we connect we just get it delivered to our house through Amazon or something else. So I for me, I think it's it's a it's an exciting thing. It's a positive thing to be a constant learner, stay up to date and relieve yourself of the pressure to do everything. Just look who is my core audience? What do they watch? What do they read? Where do they recreate and congregate and dine and connect and are we there? And are we there in a way that is is not just present and not overly salesy. Persuasive and social and big the big rule in social media is don't sell share.   Craig Macmillan  15:04  I was reading something this morning, which reminded me of a topic that we had talked about internally in our winery. And that is the the idea of story. You just mentioned that storytelling. We also know that attention spans are short. And we know that a lot of us technology is set up for no more than a minute, two minutes, three minutes, how do I tell a really compelling story in a short amount of time? there's   David Arvin  15:28  Well,  two ways to do it. One is a story, a traditional story. And that might be through an article, it might be through a longer form video, it tells us a situation or something about a Thanksgiving dinner, and something that emotional happens. And you see that on the table. Most of story today, in terms of short form, video format, is literally very short. It can be a 22nd, Instagram reel, with pictures and pictures and pictures and lots of lots of music. I think the best example, if you think and look at how pharmaceutical companies are doing their commercials today, for Jardiance, or whatever those might be, whether it's a musical number, how often you see seniors at a farmers market, or at a kid's birthday party, but they're showing them connecting, and being being social, and family. And they just put these scenarios, you don't really know what the whole story is. But it puts it within the context as opposed to somebody holding up the product. And talking about the product. It's what do we want people to feel and I think that's the greatest opportunity for wine today, when looking at Gen Y millennials, or Gen Z is is is showing them in the in the kinds of situations that makes sense. It's laughter It's friendship, it's it's connecting, but it's also post fraternity party, it's post red solo cup, I could see a great ad campaign when you're ready to graduate from the red solo cup to a nice glass of Chardonnay, right? But that doesn't mean that somebody's 60 years old, it can be young and sophisticated. And the romance and all of that I think the stories can be told in short form, through the visuals, you know, and the music and all the things that and once again, here's here's a great thing about about YouTube, you can go on YouTube and search, how do you use YouTube? And you'll see a million videos, how do you create Instagram reels that capture the attention or look for others within your industry don't copy but emulate you know, which are the ones that get engagement and why I think it's an exciting thing to become a student of this. And I've learned so much from my kids who are no longer kids. My oldest daughter works for the number one social media channel on the planet. And they post videos and they get between 40 and 50 million views on their videos in the first 24 hours. Wow. And so what I'm learning from them is astonishing. And did I mention I wrote books on this?   Craig Macmillan  15:29  You said you've got one out right now what is that?   David Arvin  17:22  Yeah, well, but my new subject, and it's not really new. But I realized about seven or eight years ago because I talked about marketing and branding for most of my career, what are the what are the words we use that best describe and differentiate what we do in the marketplace. And I came to the recognition probably seven or eight years ago that we had changed in such a substantial way because of social proof that what we say about ourselves, is not unimportant, but it's not nearly important, today's what other people say about us. And it's Yelp and TripAdvisor and rotten tomatoes, and Glassdoor and of course all of the your own social media sites. So I might that's what led to my research would lead to my book, why customers leave and how to win them back is one of the points of frustration, friction in the process, unnecessary delays and, and lack of convenience for certain things. My whole business changed. And so all of my work and my research and my speaking and my books are around the central theme that in a marketplace where everybody's good. The winners are the ones who are ridiculously easy to do business with.   Craig Macmillan  18:56  I think you just answered the question, but what is the one thing you'd recommend?   David Arvin  19:00  There's two aspects Well, once the business aspect, and the other one is the marketing. So I think in terms of internal process, you have to be able to replicate what we're seeing in a broader marketplace. You have to be able to reach somebody, if somebody's yelling into the phone agent, real person real person, you're doing something wrong, right doesn't mean we can staff 24 hours but we're learning we can learn from Uber and Amazon and Domino's and others as well in terms of how do they use the mobile technology to make it super easy to reach someone to ask a question to reorder, make sure you have an off ramp so they can talk to a real person. That's the ridiculously easy walk your customers journey. Are there too many steps? How long is your contracts, we're seeing companies reducing their contracts and things that are really relevant and important. Be easy to work with your distributors and your vendors and others as well. And then of course on the marketing side is just recognize who not only your buyers are today, but your future buyers. Beware they are speaking language that's persuasive, authentic for them as well. And I think this this is one in industry and I speak to industries that are really struggling. I think the sky's the limit for the wine industry.   Craig Macmillan  20:05  So where can people find out more about you?   David Arvin  20:08  You find me online. My name is David Averin AVRIN, I'm on all social media on some of them. It's the real David AVRIN. That's a whole cat fish for another day. But you can look me up at or just google music videos as well. And as we had said, Before I speak and I consult. I love talking business. I'm a fan of business and I'm very optimistic about where we are post pandemic.   Craig Macmillan  20:32  Fantastic. Hey, we gotta go. Thanks for being on the podcast. David. Our guest today was David Avrin, president of the customer experience advantage   Nearly perfect transcription by
24:33 3/21/24
220: How to Talk SIP with 6 Wine Consumer Segments | Marketing Tip Monday
Every wine enthusiast has different preferences, behaviors, and levels of investment in their pursuit of great wine. A few years ago, Wine Intelligence identified six distinct consumer segments in the US market and we wondered “how can we tailor a message of sustainability to align with these differences?” Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. In this Throwback Thursday Marketing Tip, we’re revisiting the six wine consumer segments and giving you tips on how to most effectively share your sustainable story with each one.   1. Engaged Explorers Who are they: Young, adventurist, frequent wine drinkers who love to try wines from different regions and producers. Talk SIP: Tell them how you improve your soil quality and how the health of your land influences the characteristics of your wine. They’ll love learning how nature impacts a high-quality wine.   2. Premium Brand Suburban Who are they: Mid- to older-aged enthusiasts who know a lot about wine. They may not be big spenders, but they can be die-hard loyalists. Talk SIP: Get technical! Talk about how fruit quality is measured (Brix, pH, and TA). They’ll love the insight and attention to detail.   3. Contended Treaters Who are they: Mid- to older-aged drinkers who don’t drink often, but when they do, they are willing to spend more. They are knowledgeable and involved, and look for an engaging story to relay to their social circles. Talk SIP: Give them fun sustainable tidbits to share with their friends, like a specific sustainable practice from your sustainable story worksheet. Worksheet for Print | Worksheet for Electronic Filling   4. Social Newbies Who are they: Young, new to wine, and rely heavily upon recommendations and valued information. Talk SIP: Stick to the 3 P’s of sustainability: People, Planet, Prosperity. They’ll love this 360° approach and be able to pass it along with confidence.   5. Senior Bargain Hunters Who are they: The largest segment of wine drinkers in USA. They have strong wine knowledge and tend to select from a narrow range of styles and brands to meet their expectations on value. Talk SIP: Talk value-driven sustainable initiatives like monitoring utility usage and recycling programs.   6. Kitchen Casuals Who are they: Very infrequent wine drinkers who stay close to what they know. Talk SIP: Stick to the basics of what sustainability is and how drinking sustainable wine is a win for the people and the planet. We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing your Sustainable Story today!     Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Marketing Tips eNewsletter ReSIProcal February Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Whitney Brownie | Get YOUR Sustainable Story Featured Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
03:20 3/11/24
219: Intelligent Sprayers to Improve Fungicide Applications and Save Money
Intelligent or sensor-controlled sprayers have the potential to improve pesticides application efficiency, reduce labor, and lessen waste. Brent Warneke, Senior Faculty Research Assistant in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University is testing LiDAR sensors that can sense a plant and adjust the amount of spray based on the coverage area needed. Brent also addresses the best time to use biologicals based on disease pressure, the benefits of drones in farming, and simple ways to improve spray efficiency with an air blast sprayer. Resources:         REGISTER: April 12, 2024 | Tailgate | Fungicide Spraying: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint & Financial Burden 2: The Goldilocks Principle & Powdery Mildew Management 79: Grapevine Fungal Diseases 117: Grapevine Mildew Control with UV Light Airblast 101 Brent Warneke Google Scholar Brent Warneke LinkedIn How to Do Regular Maintenance on Air Blast Sprayers to Ensure Proper Care for Specialty Crops Oregon State Fruit and Ornamental Disease Management Testing Program Oregon State University Nackley Lab Pesticide Redistribution and Its Implications on Pesticide Efficacy Sensor Sprayers for Specialty Crop Production Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today is Brent Warneke. He is senior faculty research assistant in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University. And today we're going to talk about some really cool stuff and agricultural technology. Thanks for being on the podcast, Brent.   Brent Warneke  0:11  Hey, thanks for having me.   Craig Macmillan  0:12  I saw you speak at the 2023 Sustainable Ag Expo in San Luis Obispo. And I was very inspired by your talk, I thought things that you were doing were really interesting. And I thought your message is really, really great, what kinds of things you've been working on.   Brent Warneke  0:25  I've been in this position at Oregon State University for the last five years. And we really started with investigating this sprayer, which we'll get into called the intelligent sprayer, and how it has potential to increase efficiency in terms of pesticide applications, from everything from labor to spray volume to pesticide quantity, and waste. And that's something that we've covered and in a lot of different ways that we'll go into here.   Craig Macmillan  0:55  And so, you know, obviously, this is a viticulture oriented show, but you've done this in other crops as well.   Brent Warneke  1:01  Yes. So I work with specialty crops in general, the kind of main categories that I focus on are wine, grapes, blueberries and nursery crops.   Craig Macmillan  1:11  Cool. What is an intelligent sprayer? Let's start there. What is it? What's it composed of? How does it work? What are the benefits?   Brent Warneke  1:19  Yeah, so the intelligent sprayer is one of a group of sprayers that I termed sensor controlled sprayers. These are sprayers that have sensors mounted on the sprayer, and they're able to sense objects in our in our case plants, and adjust the amount of spray they're applying based on those, what they're seeing. And the intelligent sprayer is is a kind of more advanced sprayer that uses a LIDAR sensor, which is a laser sensor, that's able to scan the plant canopy with millimeter resolution, and adjust is it spray very finely based on the canopy density that it detects.   Craig Macmillan  1:59  Tell me more about the sensing aspect of it. So LiDAR, if I remember correctly, it's the same concept as radar. Only light is the key, the laser, the laser goes out and bounces back. Is that right?   Brent Warneke  2:12  Yep, so a lot of these sensors use what's called time of flight. So they'll emit a beam of light. So in the case of a LiDAR sensor, it's a laser beam. And then it detects the amount of time it takes for that beam to hit off of the object and come back to the sensor. And what's cool about this LiDAR sensor is it scans a 270 degree field of view, it's able to scan basically almost through, you know, fully around the sensor itself. And out up to about 100 feet is the maximum that it can see. But you're able to set the various widths and areas that you want the sensor to focus on, for doing your precision spraying.   Craig Macmillan  2:55  Is that 270 degrees? Is that vertical or horizontal? I mean, is it scanning up to capture canopy? Or is it going side to side to make a map, how's it work?   Brent Warneke  3:02  if 270 degrees would be kind of three quarters of a circle, and the blind spot of the sensor would be kind of pointed at the ground. So if you can picture an arc going kind of from each side of the sprayer up and around, so it can see vertically above and also horizontally out up to about 100 feet from the sensor.   Craig Macmillan  3:25  It's reading a plane?   Brent Warneke  3:26  Yes it is.   Craig Macmillan  3:27  And then it's telling the computer, there's something there, there's something not there. And then the computer adjusts how much spray or is not coming out of the nozzle then?   Brent Warneke  3:35  Correct. So this sensor itself is a two dimensional sensor. So it scans that plane, That's 270 degrees field of view. But then as the sprayer moves through the field, it kind of creates that, that third dimension, and it's able to construct 3d representations of the canopy. And then that's what it uses to adjust the spray volume in real time.   Craig Macmillan  3:59  How is that controlled, there must be some valves and involved in the third thing.   Brent Warneke  4:03  Yeah, kind of where the the eyes meet the the actual controllers of the system are individual solenoid valves at each nozzle. And you can actually set the field of view or the area that each of those nozzles will focus on. You can actually tell each nozzles to only focus on a certain width of the canopy that has some a lot of different capabilities even besides what I just mentioned, there's other settings that you can use to make sure that you're kind of only targeting what you want to target.   Craig Macmillan  4:38  Oh, okay, so does that mean that as I go along, it'll say okay, there's something above but there's nothing below so I'm gonna open the valves above not open the valves below. Or the opposite say, hey, there's less above than there is below. I'm gonna change my rate based on that so it can do it both directions and everything as you're going along.   Brent Warneke  4:55  Yeah, exactly. A common thing is there's weeds that are below or the vines and we don't want to spray those, they're not relevant to us. So we can tell the sprayer to not regard anything that's 18 inches and below, or you can tell it to only focus on, you know, the actual grape canopy itself. So there's different settings and within the system itself, you can make different configurations for different crops or different size canopies, depending on what you're working with.   Craig Macmillan  5:26  So something I was thinking about, as I was preparing for this interview, we've I've done a number of interviews recently around things like hyperspectral, imaging, and also just regular light. So this is a little bit different, because those things are based on color, or based on certain reflectances. This is just based on the physical presence of a leaf or shoot or branch or something like that. So it doesn't matter what color it is?   Brent Warneke  5:49  It does not so this technology actually does not sense any colors. I mean, there is potential for that. But it just says his presence or absence. So it sprays you know, if there's a post there, or something in the canopy that's not green material, it'll spray that because it'll it'll detect that it's there   Craig Macmillan  6:07  wouldn't be advantages to using this kind of technology?   Brent Warneke  6:11  The advantages of these sensor controlled sprayers kind of form a cascade. So because you're using the sensors to detect canopy they apply usually lower volume than a standard air blast sprayer. And an air blast sprayer is kind of the the general comparison we always use. That's the most widely used sprayer type. What's the work? Yes, it's been the classic workhorse for, you know, 80 years. Yeah, for a long time. Yep, yeah, implementing these sensors, you start saving volume, and then that leads to fewer fill ups of the sprayer, which then leads to less labor, because you're in the field for less time, and then also less diesel, then you're also releasing less pesticide into the environment, and using less pesticides. So there's less pesticide waste as well. So there's kind of a suite of benefits that come with using these more precise sprayers.   Craig Macmillan  7:09  And that was the next thing I wanted to talk about. So in my experience, when you're working with fungicides, in particular, it's all about coverage, coverage, coverage, right? It's all about coverage. When I use a lower volume, I am perhaps reducing the coverage that I'm gonna get. That's always been kind of the mindset, for me, at least, you know, my understanding, how does this technology overcome that issue? I mean, are we getting good coverage with this kind of technology, and then I want to talk more about the reduction in pesticide as a result.   Brent Warneke  7:38  So that's actually a great segue, I can talk about some of the work we've done using both micronized sulfur and and also biological fungicides. So we first got this system back in 2018. And we took it as an out of the box sprayer, we're gonna see what it can do. That was our approach. And we chose micronized sulfur as our product to really investigate it with because it's a contact fungicide that you need really good coverage with in order to get good disease control on powdery mildew, which is the disease we mostly focus on. So yeah, we took it with it's out of the box sprayer settings, and micronized sulfur, and out in the field, it didn't perform as well as we were hoping it would, with a standard five pounds per 100 gallons sulfur mix rate, we took that and we decided to make some adjustments to how we use the sprayer. So we kind of tested two different things, we upped the concentration of sulfur in the tank, and then we also increased what's called the spray rate in the sprayer, which is where the sprayer will apply more spray per unit canopy. So per canopy density unit than the original lower setting. And we were able to get control that was controlled powdery mildew that was comparable to our standard airblast sprayer. So those were two adjustments that we were able to make to get to get good control. And along with that we've done coverage studies as well. And volume is related to coverage amounts. So with higher volume, you will get better coverage, you can get to the point of oversaturation, then you're not really providing any benefit. That's more of a waste situation, you may you know, you probably will still be getting good good disease control, but then you're also probably wasting materials. Well, we found that with adjusting the various settings we could get also get comparable coverage to a standard sprayer.   Craig Macmillan  9:39  How hard is it to calibrate this kind of technology?   Brent Warneke  9:42  You know, these these technologies these sensors sprayers I mean they're they're just sprayers like any other air blast sprayer. I like to work backwards when I'm thinking about calibration. So that really is how well is it actually covering the leaves. Using water sensitive papers is a great way to About this, you can get them from many agricultural suppliers, and just bring them out into the field. And it takes, you know, it'll take a half day or you know, it'll take a little bit of time to really dive into adjusting your sprayer. But using those cards, adjusting the air volume, adjusting the spray volume to match the canopy really has lots of benefits, in terms of streamlining spray efficiency.   Craig Macmillan  10:27  You talked about increasing the concentration in this particular study we started with said five pounds per 100 gallon, I think, was the ultimate outcome in terms of what the concentration was.   Brent Warneke  10:37  We jumped up to 20 pounds for 100 gallons, so four times the amount. Oh, wow, that's not to say that a lower concentration wouldn't still have efficacy. But we just jumped up there just to see how well that higher volume would work. And using the lower per unit canopy settings with at higher volume yielded similar control to our standard sprayer. So we may have been having a hotter spray mix. But then we applied, you know, quite a bit less volume. So there is a trade off there. You know, maybe with some products like sulfur, you know, there's potential to maybe not be saving as much spray pesticide material. As you know, one one would hope based on that the trade offs. But we've also done work with some trials with synthetic fungicides. And those, even with the reduced rates and kind of mixed at a standard rate, they still performed quite well. And there's been lots of other studies across the US with this intelligent, prayer technology that have found great disease control with synthetic products at those lower use rates.   Craig Macmillan  11:49  You mentioned biologicals. First of all, why the interest in biologicals and then secondly, what did you find out?   Brent Warneke  11:54  We've really zeroed in on biologicals over the last three years, we kind of started with sulfur and looked at that for three years. And then we transitioned over to biologicals. And mostly because there is such an interest among growers and using them. I mean, they have a lot of, yeah, they have a lot of benefits. I mean, they're typically organic, they typically have short reentry and pre harvest intervals. And there's a ton of different development that's going on in the field and new products coming out all the time. Yeah, there's a lot of interest out there. So that's kind of why we started looking into them more, just to kind of quickly go over what we found, we definitely found that some products, there's a bit of a rate response, like if you apply more of them, you might get some better control. And then other ones, we found that that's not actually as much of a thing where those lower application rates can still have fairly comparable control to the higher application rates. And then we've also found some found that some products don't don't work very well, as well. So it just kind of depends. Another kind of overarching caveat is that the disease control that you can expect is definitely dependent on the disease pressure that's present. So these products are these biological products really need to be applied preventatively. And if there's a lot of disease pressure, a lot of disease in the field, they're not going to reverse that, like, you know, many fungicides will not and these, these are the same. So that's that's kind of another caveat.   Craig Macmillan  13:25  Right. What kind of reductions are we talking about? Like in terms of the sulfur work? You know, I think a standard application might be anywhere from two to five pounds per acre, biologicals, we're talking ounces per acre, or whatever liquid, what kind of reductions Did you see between your comparisons between the normal sprayer and the LiDAR controlled sprayer?   Brent Warneke  13:45  So this is a it is a true variable rate sprayer. So when there's less canopy, it applies less material, and then when there's more canopy, it applies more material. So looking at a graph of how it applies spray over the course of a season, it starts out really low, so at approximately 10 to 20 gallons per acre, and then it'll slowly increase up until the canopy is full. And that can be 40 to 50 pounds gallons per acre, depending on the settings. In general, we saw it we see approximately 70 to 90% SPRAY savings in those first applications of the season. And then as the canopy fills and the maximum canopy is achieved, it's more like 30% Spray savings.   Craig Macmillan  14:36  Ah, that's that's a lot.   Brent Warneke  14:37  Yeah, plus or minus depending on those those settings.   Craig Macmillan  14:41  What does that translate into in terms of like pounds of sulfur per acre?   Brent Warneke  14:44  That all depends on your mix rate and your application volume per acre. We saw with those lower application rates that were the default when we first got it. We were applying approximately one ish pound at the beginning of the season up to to about two and a half pounds at the end of the season, with that lower use rate and five pounds per 100 gallons, whereas in Standard Mode, it was applying about five and a half pounds of sulfur per acre. And with that higher spray rate that we tested, it still started the season at approximately one and a half pounds, but then increased up to around four pounds per acre. Yeah, and that was the setting where we adjusted the spray rate and were able to get good control of mildew.   Craig Macmillan  15:30  So if I was using a synthetic fungicide with this technology, that could be a major cost savings. Some of these fungicides are pretty expensive.   Brent Warneke  15:38  Absolutely. What we found with the synthetic fungicides is even mixing them at kind of your standard rate. And using this technology, which applies a lower volume, we still got great disease control comparable to a standard application. In terms of spray volume savings with synthetics, there's greater potential to save on volume and wastage than with contact pesticides, which need higher volumes higher coverage to be efficacious.   Craig Macmillan  16:06  Now, you said you started with an with an out of the box sprayer. So when you started this, it was a machine - a whole sprayer that you got. That was all constructed. Is that right?   Brent Warneke  16:22  What I had meant to insinuate by that was it was a sprayer that we just took and used as it was, we actually started this project, kind of midway into its usage. So some folks back at Ohio State University and the USDA ARS over there, design the sprayer and kind of developed a concept model for it and prove that it worked pretty well. And then the next step of the project was to take that control system that they developed and retrofitted onto existing sprayers. And then that's where we came in. So we got just a standard 50 gallon air blast sprayer, and had this sensor system retrofitted onto the sprayer and use that system in our tests.   Craig Macmillan  17:10  How difficult was that?   Brent Warneke  17:12  So the retrofitting itself is not too difficult. So we have two of the systems in our research program. And one of them uses a research version of the system. The other one uses a commercial version of the system because it has since been commercialized. And when we got the commercial system installed, it only took about two hours, maybe two or three hours to get installed, and then also calibrated on to our crop that we were focusing on. So pretty quick. And the company has, you know, representatives and stuff throughout the West, and across the country. So they're able to come out and provide customer support for that.   Craig Macmillan  17:51  So if I'm a grower, I don't need to have a master's degree in Ag Engineering to implement this kind of an idea. This is something that I can I can take and I can do myself.   Brent Warneke  18:04  Yep, yeah, the technology is there. And there is support. And it can be run by any knowledgeable pesticide applicator one, one note, all I will say about these sensor systems is it's good to have someone who wants to use them and to take an interest in them. Because they do have more caveats than your standard sprayer would. And if you don't really put the time and really learn to use the system. You won't be able to realize its benefits as much as you potentially could.   Craig Macmillan  18:40  Yeah, so like anything else you have to there's a learning curve, but this one doesn't seem like it's too steep.   Brent Warneke  18:43  Yep, it's a tool. And it takes some practice, but it can give you some good benefits.   Craig Macmillan  18:49  Are there other ag technologies out there that you're excited about?   Brent Warneke  18:53  You mentioned remote sensing earlier, that's a technology that I'm very interested in in terms of being able to detect changes in plant canopies and use that as a way to detect what's going on in the field. I'm also interested in drones both as a way to collect some of that remote sensing data. But then also in terms of spraying. Yeah, there's there's just been an explosion in drone spraying technology. It's constantly evolving. So that's something that I would like to do some more research on is looking at how good is are these drones for spraying in specialty crops such as wine grapes, what can we do to use them in that capacity to actually get good disease control good coverage and get some good returns.   Craig Macmillan  19:45  I remember a while back seeing it was a remote controlled helicopter that was set up to be a sprayer for wine grapes. Are you familiar with that technology for me when we're talking about.   Brent Warneke  19:57  Yeah, I think those are maybe the yeah Mahara Maxi are mentioning, it looks like a little helicopter. And they've done tests with them, I think up in Napa and that area   Craig Macmillan  20:08  Is it the same concept?   Brent Warneke  20:09  It's the same concept. Most of the drones I'm referring to are kind of more the quadcopter, with the four different rotors on the top kind of your, your classical drone shape. Just larger. I mean, these things have wingspans of close to 10 feet.   Craig Macmillan  20:28  Oh, wow.   Brent Warneke  20:29  And they, some of them can have eight gallon tanks on them. So they're, they're pretty sizable.   Craig Macmillan  20:36  And then we need an operator. So we need somebody who has the training and the licensing to do that.   Brent Warneke  20:43  Yep.   Craig Macmillan  20:44  How far away is that kind of technology from being out in the world?   Brent Warneke  20:47  Well, the drone sprayers are being used right now. There's, there's folks in the Willamette Valley, where I live in work, that are using these things in all kinds of crops. Right now, it's a very wet winter here where we live, so the fields get muddy, it's hard to get equipment in there. So that's kind of one aspect that is really appealing about these drones is that they can get into these areas that are kind of difficult to reach with tractors. And the same goes for hilly terrain.   Craig Macmillan  21:17   Eight gallons does not sound like very much   Brent Warneke  21:19  No, no. So application rates that these drones are targeting are typically less than 10 gallons per acre, you know, two to five gallons per acre is pretty common. I'm not by any means an expert at this point. So I won't get into the details of using them too much. But that's that's part of the impetus for the research is there's kind of there hasn't been a lot of looking into how efficacious these things are in specialty crops. So that's something that I think is a good opportunity.   Craig Macmillan  21:52  You mentioned remote sensing. Tell me more about that. You were interested in drones. But are you interested in satellite, aerial, proximal, you know, you have some kind of a sensor on on a piece of equipment being an ATV or being on a tractor. Where does your interest lie in that world?   Brent Warneke  22:09  I think in terms of remote sensing, I definitely have interest in the drone space. Because with that type of surveillance, you're able to get a lot finer spatial resolution than you can with, say, a satellite, I do appreciate that satellites, you can get information and data on a much wider field of view. So you can track much larger areas easier. And there's lots of different options out there that are either low cost or free. But drones I've I want to focus on a little bit more just because they're widely available. And lots of farms may already have them. And you can get very fine spatial resolution, which could allow determination of plant stressors such as disease, or localized water stress, or kind of other stresses with hopefully more precision than using satellite based technologies.   Craig Macmillan  23:10  With things like vine stress or disease pressure, can that be combined, either directly or indirectly, in combination with your on the ground spray application that can inform what you do?   Brent Warneke  23:21  Yeah, definitely, the spray application technology that we talked on a little bit earlier, was mostly in reference to real time sensor applications. So these are sprayers that go through the field, and adjust that what they're applying in real time based on what the sensor is seeing as it drives through the field. But there's other systems out there that use more of a prescription map approach, where they will take these remote sensing maps, or maps that are created from sensors on tractors, and then use that data to construct a prescription map. Where that is actually used. The map itself is actually used to adjust the amount of spray applied in a given area.   Craig Macmillan  24:06  Where are we going into the future? What kind of what actually I guess what I'm really asking is what kind of projects are you looking forward to. Is the current work ongoing? Are you starting new things? Where do you where do you want to go next?   Brent Warneke  24:16  Yeah, so our current work is, you know, as research tends to, it's always ongoing, there's other things always developing. So we're definitely continuing looking at biological fungicides. One aspect of biological fungicides that we want to delve into is kind of the compatibility. So what can we mix these things with? Is there any impact on the viability of these biological organisms that are in the products? Another thing is, are we affecting viability by using them in these various sprayers? So if we put these products through these airblast sprayers or through drone spraying systems and the like, is there any impact in their efficacy because they're expensive, and they're a lot they're alive. So those are some Some aspects. And then with the drones, I hope to do some research on looking at sprayer efficacy, specifically in wine grapes, and potentially other specialty crops as well, just to get some data on some of the spray parameters. So droplet size, volume per acre, how is that impacting coverage and efficacy? Those are, those are two things I definitely want to delve into.   Craig Macmillan  25:25  Cool, what one thing what one message, or recommendation do you make to our listeners regarding these topics, overall?   Brent Warneke  25:34  I would say that there's always a place to start to improve your spray efficiency. So we've been talking about sensor array sprayers and drones and remote sensing. And they're all kind of big technologies. But you don't need to worry about any of that if you just want to increase your application efficiency. I've looked and I work with other colleagues that work with spray application technology. And you can do what's called canopy adaptive spraying, which is basically working backwards from coverage on the spray cards to adjust your spray volume and the air volume that your sprayer is putting out to match the canopy. And actually looking at that in detail can save quite a bit of time and money and pesticide wastage by really targeting and matching that spray application output to the canopy itself. So that involves adjusting the spray volume using different nozzles and adjusting the air volume that's getting expelled at the sprayer by either changing the RPMs of the tractor driving faster or slower, or various ways like that. And then circling back to getting you know better good coverage. That's that will be efficacious with your products. And then on top of that standard sprayer, if you want to take it one more step, you could look into one of these sensor based systems, which could be retrofitted on your standard sprayer and increase efficiency in that way. And then on top of that, there's other autonomous sprayers that are out there that can take even more labor out of the equation. And many of those can be fitted with these sensors to increase their efficiency even more. And then if we want to take it one more step, then using some of this remote sensing data can even help streamline these things even more.   Craig Macmillan  27:32  So there's lots of things we can do. They don't all have to be rocket science, but the science is out there. And it's coming to us in new forms constantly, which I think is really exciting. The one of the things that got me excited about your work was, like you said, you know, the basic airblast style sprayer has been around for forever. We have all gotten very used to it. That's like the base technology. And I think it's a great message to say, we don't have to stop there. We can keep going we can make improvements on what we have. And it doesn't have to be, you know, skull crushingly difficult.   Brent Warneke  28:05  Yep, there's always some way that we can improve. Yep.   Craig Macmillan  28:09  Well, thank you, Brent. Our guest today has been Brent Warneke. He is senior faculty research assistant in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University. So I'm really excited about the work that you're doing. And it's really, really great. And I hope that you can get your message out there and help people reduce their pesticide load and improve their efficiency. You know, less labor, less diesel, less water. Those are all good things. So thanks for being on the podcast. Brent.   Brent Warneke  28:34  Definitely. Thank you very much for having me.   Nearly perfect transcription by
31:56 3/7/24
118: The Art of Emotional Appeal: Tips for Effective Marketing Campaigns | Marketing Tip Monday
You may be wondering, what do emotions have to do with simple, everyday decisions? It turns out, quite a lot! Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. A 2023 Wine Glass Marketing (WGM) blog post points to Harvard Business School professor Gerard Zaltman’s findings that 95% of our purchase decisions comes from our subconscious, emotional brain. Leveraging common psychological triggers in your marketing can help drive more sales! In this Marketing Tip, we’ll help you identify how your brand elicits positive emotions, and what you can do with that information. Positive Emotional Triggers in Marketing Think about some of the things that give you positive emotions: Recognition: either for something you did, or for just being you! Achievement: completing a task, winning a game or raffle, etc. Engagement: in an activity or setting, whether solo or social.  From a marketing perspective, these can be achieved by: Personal communications with wine club members and regular visitors. Recommending products based on previous likes. Rewards programs, punch cards, discounts for special occasions, etc. Fostering an environment that aligns with your customer base: Soft background music versus upbeat dance tunes. Dim, romantic lighting for intimate conversations versus areas to play.  Can you think of more ways to elicit positive emotions from your members and visitors? A Personalized Approach Since every wine club is unique, how you use these tips must be tailored to your specific brand. Start by gathering data: How do people engage with your brand? Check out the click rates of your club emails. Which links get the most attention? Look at your tasting room traffic. Who is there, and what do they tend to do? What kind of social media posts get the most engagement? The ones that showcase the views, animals, events, or staff at your property?  Then, ask yourself if you can infer their possible motivations. Are your guests looking for: An opportunity to score a deal on their favorite wine. The sense of connection that comes from being engaged with your brand. A social event or place to interact with others. Information about your products and/or processes.  Take everything you’ve gathered from this exercise and think of ways to shift your current marketing efforts to include more of what gives your customer-base positive emotions. Tell Your Sustainable Story We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing your Sustainable Story today!     Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Marketing Tips eNewsletter ReSIProcal February Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Whitney Brownie | Get YOUR Sustainable Story Featured Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
03:26 2/26/24
217: Combating Climate Chaos with Adaptive Winegrape Varieties
Erratic weather like deluge rain, longer falls, and patches of drought disrupt vinifera’s adaptation to long-sustained winters. Jason Londo, Associate Professor of Horticulture in the School of Integrative Plant Sciences at Cornell AgriTech explains how big weather changes in the Pacific North East can cause vines to wake up earlier posing a risk to freeze or frost damage. By researching acclimation and deacclimation, Jason is working to breed and select varieties for enhanced cold resistance, drought resistance, pest resistance, plus good fruit quality. In the future, to reduce inputs in vineyards and increase economic sustainability we need to put the right grape in the right climate.  Resources:         135: Cold Hardiness of Grapevines Cold Hardiness prediction model and monitoring website for the Eastern US Foliar Applied Abscisic Acid Increases ‘Chardonnay’ Grapevine Bud Freezing Tolerance during Autumn Cold Acclimation Jason Londo Jason Londo’s Recent Publications Vitis Underground: NSF-PGRP project looking at rootstock-scion interaction across multiple environments. Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today is Jason Londo. He is Associate Professor of horticulture in the School of integrative Plant Sciences at Cornell agritech. We're gonna talk about some pretty cool stuff today. Thanks for coming on the show. Jason,   Jason Londo  0:11  Thank you for having me.   Craig Macmillan  0:12  Your work tends to center around identifying things like climate induced disorders, developing medication methods, improving resiliency and sustainability of crops like apples and grapes. How did you become interested in that that's a pretty interesting area.   Unknown Speaker  0:26  Originally, I was mostly interested in how plants adapt to stress just in general plants, because they're stuck to the ground that the seed lands on they are forced with so many complicated life's challenges, that it's really amazing what a plant can do in the face of stress. And so my curiosity has always been trying to figure out those strategies. But climate induced part of it is sort of reality striking into my passion, right? We know the climate is shifting, and it is shifting those stresses in a way that our plants can't necessarily respond in the same way that they used to, particularly because of the rate of climate change. So that's how I got interested in this topic, just trying to figure out how plants work when they're stressed out.   Craig Macmillan  1:13  And you're interested in plants in general. And then now you're focusing on specific crops, right?   Jason Londo  1:18  Yes, indeed, I started out originally working on endangered mints. If you can imagine that. Then I worked on rice. Then I worked on canola and I landed and fruit crops. And so yeah, lots of lots of diversity in those systems. All those plants have different stresses.   Craig Macmillan  1:35  They're all different families. I mean, he really jumped around.   Jason Londo  1:37  Oh, yeah. One of the coolest things about working in plant stress is plants across different clades evolved different ways of handling maybe the same stress. And you can learn a lot about sort of the limitations of stress response and the advantages and opportunities when you work across a lot of different systems. And so it makes for a tricky CV, because my publications kind of snake all over the place. But from trying to figure out the next strategy or figure out the next experiment, I feel like it's a real positive to have that background.   Craig Macmillan  2:13  I want to go back for a second because I think this is an important topic. And you mentioned clade. What is a clade? And how does that apply to looking at plant stress?   Jason Londo  2:24  And its most basic a clade is a group of plants that belong to the same sort of evolutionary history, and without getting into the real jargony. And the fights between what makes a species and what doesn't make a species. The basic concept is an evolutionary group. And so when I talk about plant stress strategies and differences between clades if we think about rice, it's a monocot. And so it has a completely different evolutionary lineage from most of our dicot fruit crops. Canola is a dicot it's a mustard. Both rice and canola are typically annualized, maybe sometimes there's a perennial version, when we talk about fruit crops, we're talking about, in my case, grapes and apples, Woody perennials, so dicot species that persists for many, many years. And so the strategies that are successful for for getting through a stressful situation can vary very much by those different life histories.   Craig Macmillan  3:24  We're kind of talking about stresses in general, what are particular stresses on things like apples and grapes that you're looking at.   Jason Londo  3:29  So in my program, it has a climate adaptation focus. And we all know that the main drivers behind climate change are temperature and precipitation. And here in the northeast, we do have a benefit in that we've got some room to get warm before it gets uncomfortable. And we have plenty of rain. But what we're seeing here is big changes in our winter weather shifts in our phonology. So the spring is coming earlier, the fall is coming later. And then we're also having big changes in precipitation. So little patches of drought, deluge, rain, and so very different from California, where things may be drying out. We're drying out, but in a very episodic sort of pattern. And the systems here are not built on drought management. They're not built so much on water logging either, although we do use tiling in the fields to Drain off excess water. And so when we're talking about climate impacts, here are primarily talking about temperature and shifts in precipitation.    I know that you've been looking at cold hardiness. What has been the pattern? What's the change that's happening in the Northeast as far as cold goes?   Yeah, so most of my career, as a as a PI has been in cold hardiness and cold stress response in grapes. I spent 10 years at the USDA as a geneticist, particularly diving into this topic, and even in those 10 years years I've seen a major shift in the intensity of our winters they are getting much more mild, but they're also coming very erratic. And so we're having large swings in temperature. I'm sure your listeners are familiar with the concept of a polar vortex we've had enough of them. Now, that is pretty common. When you take a perennial crops like grape, and you put it through winter, it's it's adapted to a long, sustained winter, not a real chaotic, episodic type winter where it gets warm and cold and warm than cold. The the complex molecular components of what tells the grape that it's safe to wake up don't function as well when you have those erratic temperatures. And so we're seeing, in general more mild, which is good for baseline cold hardiness, but also an uptick in sort of chaos. And that's not good for for any form of cold hardiness. And it particularly affects late winter, because the the plants wake up. As they're coming into spring, they respond to heat. And when you have weird weather in that really late winter, early spring, they can wake up too early and then suffer a lot of freeze damage or frost damage if they happen to break bud.   Craig Macmillan  6:11  What is the mechanism around freeze damage? I've interviewed some folks from like Michigan and Iowa and Ohio, we don't have freeze damage in California very much Washington, obviously. What are the parameters there? How cold for how long? And what's the actual mechanism of damage to the volume?   Jason Londo  6:29  Yeah, great questions. Very complicated questions.   Craig Macmillan  6:35  That's why we're here.   Jason Londo  6:35  Yeah, yeah. All grapes gain cold hardiness in the winter, regardless of where they are, it's a part of going dormant and making it through winter. The biggest changes that we see in the vine is that the buds will isolate from the vasculature. And so the little connections that come from the xylem and the phloem, into the bud, they actually get clogged up with pectins. And so you have to think of the bud is sort of like a little island tissue, it's not connected to the cane during winter. Once the bud does that it's able to gain cold hardiness and traverse winter. And that process is called acclamation. And so the buds gain a greater and greater ability to survive lower and lower temperatures. We don't know exactly how all of it works. But it's a mixture of making more sugars and making more Ozma protectant inside the buds so that water freezes at lower temperatures and also controlled dehydration. So the more you can dehydrate a tissue, the less likely ice crystals will form in pure water. But and we don't know how they do this. And it's quite magical if you think about it, but they're able to suck out all of this internal water so that it is less and less likely for water to freeze inside the cell. If they can keep the ice crystals from forming inside the cell. We call that cold hardiness that they they are surviving freeze damage, we can measure the temperature that reaches that defense. And you've had other speakers on your show that have talked about cold hardiness. It's called differential thermal analysis. And we basically measure the precise temperature where the water freezes through some tricks of thermodynamics, that cold hardiness failure point changes throughout the whole winter, and it changes by the location that the grape is growing in. What we do know about the system is that it takes oscillating temperatures to gain cold hardiness. So it has to get warm than cold warm than cold, warm than cold and progressively colder in order to ramp down and gain cold hardiness, then it has to stay cold for the cold hardiness to sort of hang out at the maximum cold hardiness. And that maximum cold heartedness is going to differ by region. So here in New York, something like Chardonnay will reach a maximum cold hardiness of maybe negative 27 Celsius. I cannot do the Fahrenheit conversion,.   Craig Macmillan  9:00  That's fine. That's fine.   Jason Londo  9:03  But say, say negative 27 Fahrenheit, whereas in California, it may not gain more than negative 20. And that's because it just doesn't get pushed. As you go through winter. You go through a whole bunch of other stuff with dormancy chilling our requirement, and that changes the way that the bud responds to temperature. And you enter a phase called Eco dormancy, which is now resistance to freezing based on how cold the vineyard is. And so when you get warm spikes in late winter, when the buds are eco dormant. They think those are a little preview that it's springtime and so they lose their cold heartedness really quickly they start reabsorbing that water, and they'll freeze that warmer and warmer temperatures. And so that's really the most dangerous time in this sort of climate chaos. When you think about winter that late winter period is when the vines are reacting with their adaptive complex for 1000s of years. When it started to warm up. It meant it was spring and now they're starting To think, okay, spring is coming. But we're still in February in New York, maybe in. In California. It's more like it's January and you're getting a warming event. And they all move right towards bud break. And then of course, they can get hit pretty hard by a leak freeze or a frost.   Craig Macmillan  10:15  Yeah, exactly. I'm guessing this varies by variety.   Jason Londo  10:19  Yes, very much. So, vinifera varieties are typically less hardy than the North American adapted varieties, the, the hybrid varieties is often gets used. I don't particularly like the word hybrid. But these cold climate grapes that have been bred by University of Minnesota and Cornell, they tend to have greater maximum cold hardiness. But they also tend to wake up in the spring much faster. And that's partly because of the genetic background that those hybrids were made from. When you breed with species that come from the far north, like Vitis riparia, those species are adapted to a very short growing season, which means as soon as it's warm enough to start growing, they go for it to try to get through their entire cycle. So now we're starting to see that there are some potential issues with climate change when we think about hybrid varieties that use those those northern species, and that they may be more prone to frost damage in the future.   Craig Macmillan  11:15  Oh, really, that's I wouldn't have thought that I would have thought the opposite. So obviously, we have different species. So we have some genetic differences between what I'll call wild grapes or native grapes, the Oh, invasive plant itis vinifera that has been  thrown around. What can we learn by looking at the genetics of native North American varieties?   Jason Londo  11:38  from a cold hardiness perspective,   Craig Macmillan  11:40  cold hardness, just in general drought resistance, pest resistance?   Jason Londo  11:44  Well, in general, they're a massive resource for improvement, which depends on who is who's calling a species species. But there may be up to 20 Different wild species in North America. And each of those wild species has a different evolutionary trajectory that has given it the ability to create adaptive gene complexes, that could be useful in viticulture, as we have shifting climate, away from what maybe vinifera likes, hot and dry into further northern latitudes, you know, that if the California industry has to start moving up in latitude or up in altitude, we start integrating different stresses that maybe those vines haven't been exposed to in their evolutionary history, you know, from Europe. And so these wild species just have these potentially novel genes, potentially novel pathways where genes are interacting with one another, that give vines a greater plasticity. And so this concept of plasticity is if you take an individual and you put it in environment a, and it grows to size 10, but you put it in environment B and it grows to size 20. The difference there is the plasticity between those two environments. And we really, if we want sustainable viticulture, what we want to encourage is using cultivars that have maximal plasticity. So as the environment shifts around them, they're still able to give you the same yield the same sugars, the same quality, you know, within a within an error bar anyway, they're the most resilient over time. And incorporating traits and pathways that come from wild grapes can help build that plasticity in the genetic background coming from the European great.   Craig Macmillan  13:23  So we're talking about crosses, we're talking about taking a native plant and then vinifera crossing to create something new. You had said that you don't know you don't care for the word hybrid. Why not? That's interesting to me.   Jason Londo  13:35  Because it has a negative connotation in the wine drinker. realm, right people think of hybrids as lower quality as not vinifera, so lesser. And I think I'm not an enologists. I'm not a viticulturalists. So I want to be careful on whose toes I mash. But if we're talking about sustainability of a crop through an erratic climate, we can do a lot with vinifera we can we can mitigate climate change a lot with vinifera, but at some point, the inputs may become too much to make it a sustainable crop and then we need to be able to move to adapted varieties. And we can adapt the wine quality from vinifera to climate chaos, by breeding and and selecting for enhanced cold resistance, enhanced drought resistance, enhance pest resistance, and good fruit quality. That's a little bit of a soapbox. But when people say hybrid, it's like lesser, but it's, in my opinion, it's more we're taking something great. And we are increasing its plasticity across the the country across the growing zones. We are giving it a chance to grow in more regions reach more local communities create a bigger fan base. So I get really my hackles got up because there is amazing hybrid based on Climate adapted based wines, and winemakers. And when we use the word hybrid people just automatically in their mind shifted into lesser. And I think that's unfortunate. I think it's something that we need to work actively as an industry against, because a lot of those particular disease resistance traits are coming from wild germ plasm. That is not in the European grape. And we just can't solve all our problems with that one species.   Craig Macmillan  15:30  So the kinds of traits that we're talking about these environmental adaptations, or acclamations, these will be polygenic trades, how do you find these? I'm assuming that you're looking for those specific genetic information to say, Yeah, this is the plant that I want to use in my my breeding program. What does that look like? How do you do that?   Jason Londo  15:49  So the approaches are very similar to when you're working on single locus traits. And so disease resistance and fruit color are good examples of traits that often can be found in single locus examples, again, would be fruit color, or sort of run one disease resistance, there's a whole bunch of different disease resistance was like polygenic traits can be found the same way, you have to make a cross between two different grapes that have different phenotypes. And so that might be a drug sensitive, and a drought tolerant individual. And you plant out a whole lot of baby grapes 200, 300 progeny from that cross, and then you score them with phenotypes. And with polygenic traits, it's a lot harder to find them sometimes, because in that group of, say, 300, babies, you're not looking for the movement of one gene. In that background, you're looking for maybe the movement of five to 10 different genes. And that means instead of getting a light switch kind of trait, red or white fruit, you're getting a little bit more drought resistant, a whole lot more drought resistant, but there is a gradient, right? When you have a gradient for a phenotype, you need a lot more grape babies in order to get the statistical support to say, hey, this piece of the genome right here, this makes a grape, a little bit more drought resistant. And over here, this piece of the genome does the same thing. And when you put them together, they either add up one plus one, or sometimes they multiply two times two, you use the same approaches, it's typically a little trickier. And you got to kind of do a couple extra years of screening. But it's the same basic playbook to track down those different traits. And we have to do a lot of different phenotypes for drought response, you might be looking for the ability to root deeper, have bigger root masses, you might be looking at bigger hydraulic conductance in the trunk, you might be looking at betters to model control. You might be looking at pyres to model density or lowers to model density, you could be looking at thicker or thinner leaves. So you can imagine if there's lots of ways to be more drought resistant. There's lots of genes that help you in that pursuit. You need a lot of baby grapes in order to find all those little pockets where those genes come together and give you a statistical shift and in the phenotype.   Craig Macmillan  18:10  So you're able to identify these are you using something like qualitative trait?   Jason Londo  18:13  Exactly. Quantitative trait loci?   Craig Macmillan  18:16  Yes, exactly. So that helps speed the process up a little bit. Maybe.   Unknown Speaker  18:20  Yeah, so so QTL mapping, quantitative trait loci mapping is the probably the dominant way that we map traits. There's another way called GWAS, genome wide association studies, is built on the same concept where you have a big enough population of either grape babies or in the case of GWAS its diversity. So you'd say, let's say you had 200 Different Vitis riparias instead of 200. Babies, the principle is the same. You are looking for across all of those vines, statistical association between a specific part of the genome and a phenotype to like make it really simple. In 200 babies, grape babies, you want to have enhanced drought resistance. You let's say we take a measurement of carbon isotope concentration and so that carbon isotopes tell you how often the stomates are open, right? So you do an experiment. And you drought stress your plants, and you use carbon isotopes as the phenotype and you say, Okay, this group of 75 individuals, they all shut their stomates right away, and this other group of 125, they kept their stomates open. So then in those two groups, you look at all the genetic markers that are in the background, right, which are like little signposts across the genome. And you say, in this group of 75, which genetic markers do we see over and over and over again, outside of statistical randomness, right? And what that will give you a peek a QTL peak, if you're lucky, right, I'll give you a cue to help you can say hey, right here on chromosome four, every single baby in that pool has a has this set of markers, these five Mark occurs. So there must be a gene, somewhere near these five markers that contribute to closing your stomates. And so then extrapolate that out whatever trait you want to look at how whatever phenotype method you're using, maybe it's not carbon isotope, maybe it's leaf mass, maybe it's node number, I don't know, whatever that screening process is, the concept is the same. You have big enough population, a good genetic marker background, and a phenotype that you can measure. And you can find the statistical associations.   Craig Macmillan  20:32  And actually, that reminds me of something, how many chromosomes do grapes have?   Jason Londo  20:36  Well, bunch grapes have 19 muscadine\. grapes have 20.   Craig Macmillan  20:39  That's a lot. Which means that there's a lot of genetic variation in the genome of these plants, then.   Jason Londo  20:47  Yeah, if you think about, I mean, grape is sort of a funky beast, because a lot of these varieties that we grow, they're all They're all of the arrays, we grow our clonal. And some of them are 1000s of years old, the same genetic individual from 7000 to 10,000 years ago, we still have around today, in that process, it's it's changed, right? There's mutations that happen in the field all the time. And so even thinking about genetic clones and thinking the idea of Chardonnay being around that long, it's changed in those 7000 years, just naturally. So when you think about comparing two different clones, or two different cultivars, or clones, there's something like 43,000 Different recognized genes in vitis vinifera, that number I can give you in the different wild species, because it varies by species, but roughly 40,000 at those 40,000 genes in a in a single individual, you can have up to two different copies, right. So you could have essentially 80,000 different alleles, then you go across, I don't know, what do we have 12,000 recognized cultivars or something like that? There are something like 60 Grape species. And so now imagine the amount of potential variation you have across that entire gene pool. And so yeah, the genetic diversity within the crop as a whole is incredible. There's a lot of room for improvement. And there's a lot of room for climate adaptation. Just takes a lot of grape babies to figure it out.   Craig Macmillan  22:12  And that brings us something else. And that is the the idea of mutation. One of the issues, I think that is a stumbling block, and you mentioned it, there is the consumer, if it's not Cabernet Sauvignon, can't call it Cabernet Sauvignon. I'm not as interesting, which is something that I think we need some help from the marketing world with. Because I agree with you very much. I think if we're going to have wine in the future, we're going to have to start thinking about things other than just the cultivars that we have. Now, can you do the same kind of work with but mutation? Can you take a cane grew from a button, plant that out and look for differences between the same plant?   Jason Londo  22:53  Yeah, so you're basically talking about clonal selection clonal selection is practice worldwide by different regions, always with this eye towards making something that we currently have a little bit better or a little bit more unique, right, somatic mutations, random mutations occur in the genetic background all the time. And they often occur in response to stress, which is a really interesting angle, if you think about climate stress. So these mutations happen all the time in the background. Frequently, they will land on pieces of DNA that don't do anything that we know up. I don't want to say that no DNA is unimportant, that there are sections that we don't believe are that important. We call these non coding regions are sometimes introns. When you have a mutation in that area, sometimes there's no effect on the vine at all. And that's happening all the time in the fields. Right now. If you think about all the 1000s to millions of cab sauv vines that are growing in the world, we like to think of them even if you pick a single clone as the same genetic individual. And that is, that's simply not possible. There's so much background mutation going on in those parts of the DNA that don't give us any change in phenotype. There's no way it's all the same. We'd like to simplify it. We'd like to simplify it for our drinking behavior, as well as you know, like our sanity. But yes, you can select for clonal variation. And clonal variation happens all the time when those changes happen to land in a gene producing region, exon or perhaps a promoter or, or even in a transposable element to make a piece of DNA jump around the genome, we get a new clone, you can purposely create clones as well. So it happens naturally, but you can create clones on your own and mutational breeding is something that gets used in a lot of crop species in grapes it doesn't get used as often because it's modifying the base plant, right? So if you take Chardonnay and you want to increase his disease resistance, if it doesn't have a gene that you can break or change that would give it more disease resistance, then you can't create a clone with more disease resistance, right? You're working with a big a base plant that has limitations, but we have So we have a population where this was done it was it was done actually by the USDA by Dr. Amanda Garis. She no longer works for the USDA, but she worked here in Geneva. And they did a project where they took the variety of vignoles, which has a very compact cluster and tends to get a lot of rot. And they took a bunch of dormant canes with the buds, and they put it in a high powered X ray machine at the hospital and blasted it with X rays. What X ray damage does to DNA is it causes breaks between the double strands so all of our DNA and all our genes are wrapped up in in double stranded DNA. And when you do DNA damage with X ray mutagenesis, you break the two strands. And then when they heal themselves back together, it's often imperfect. And so they'll often lose a couple base pairs like there'll be a little piece get that gets nipped out. When you put those two pieces back together and repair, if that landed in exon, you can sometimes change the protein that would have been made by that exon or completely knocked the gene out in its entirety. Creating a clone, you're just doing it faster than nature is doing it on its own. We do it with a hospital X ray machine. And so with this method, they created about 1000 clones of vignoles. And they've made I think 10 selections out of that group that have bigger, looser clusters, so the berries are further spaced out. So they don't get damaged, they don't get as much rot. And I think those are now starting to make their way out into trials. There's an example of a very directed approach to creating a clone to fit fit a very specific viticultural problem that may or may not work for climate adaptation because of the polygenic aspect that you brought up before. Because if you break one gene and a poly genic, adaptive complex, it may not be enough to shift the entire physiology into a recognizably different pattern, it could work to make them less resilient, because you could break something that's really important. But breaking something that's important, but works out for you in the long run is just playing that randomizer lottery a little bit further. So it's doable. It can happen in nature, it can happen on purpose in our hands, but it is trickier for certain traits.   Craig Macmillan  27:21  So we're not going to X ray our way out of climate problems, basically, or diseases problems, right? Well, there may not be the right genetic information in the background of vinifera that even if we tried that, we'd have that set of genes that we would need, whereas we would have it in a native, native vine North American vine.   Jason Londo  27:42  And just a sheer a sheer number of breaks that you might have to make in order to shift the physiology enough to matter. These climate adaptation pathways are highly networked. They involve hormones, they involve sugar metabolism. And so if you really break something important, it's going to cause a really bad phenotype of death phenotype, you have to nudge the system enough in a specific direction to make a meaningful change. And so, given the complexity of the trade, it makes it harder. I don't want to say anything is impossible. I do think that there would be ways to make vinifera better, more plastic in the environment. I think the potential is there for vinifera to do better in a lot of climates. I don't know if directed mutagenesis is the most efficient way to do it. I mentioned is that random, right, you're breaking double stranded DNA at random, and then it's really healing and there's so many things have to work out for you to hit the right gene, have the right repair, you know, all of that sort of stuff that it's a method, but I don't I wouldn't say it's the most efficient method breeding with wild germ plasm is also a method, the key weakness there is then it's no longer Chardonnay, right from our wine drinking sort of our own personal biases on that situation. We outcross Chardonnay to make it more climate resilient. It's no longer Chardonnay. So it can't be sold as Chardonnay. And that itself creates a market pressure against changing it to something that's more resilient. And I think until the climate imparts an equal level of pain as consumer pressure, we won't get there. I don't think it's a question of if it will happen. It's a question of when.   Craig Macmillan  29:23  What kind of projects are you working on currently? You've mentioned experiments and breeding and it's now what do you what do you up to?   Jason Londo  29:29  So I have a pretty diverse program climate impacts is all season so we have a lot of winter projects. And we've covered some of that now trying to understand how Acclimation and deaacclimation work and if we can enhance it, we're working with but birth control. So if we could slow down deacclimation and delay by break, we could get around frost damage. And then I'm also working on a really big project is actually coming to an end where we've been looking at what the role of a rootstock is our mapping population concept that we talked about for QTL Mapping, we were talking about the scion, I have a project where we did that with the rootstock. And so we created a mapping population. The only part that is the grape babies is the roots. And we've grafted the same variety onto those roots. And then we're looking at how the different grape baby roots change the scions behavior. A really cool thing about this project is that we've replicated it clonally replicated it and grafted it in three different locations. So we have a vineyard in Missouri, a vineyard in South Dakota and a vineyard here in New York. And so across those three different environments, which are quite different, both in maximum temperature, minimum temperature and precipitation, we're learning so many cool things about what the roots can do to the same scion for your listeners, of course, they know grapes, so they know hopefully enough about grafting and that the rootstock and the scion are two different individuals. And they're mechanically grafted together. From a climate adaptation point of view, what you've done is you've taken an intact and adapted individual, and you've cut its head off, and then you've taken another climate adapted individual, and you've cut its legs off, and you've glued them together, and ask them to perform in the environment, which is just a wild, wild communication question. When the roots are experiencing one environment, and the shoot is experiencing another, how do they communicate? And then how does that affect our grape quality and wine quality? And so we're looking at drought response, can we increase the drought resistance of the Scion, based on the type of root it's on? Can we change the leaf nutrient profile, so the different ions that are taken up from the soil and how they're concentrated in the leaves. And of course, we don't really care about the leaves as much as we care about the fruit, the leaves are easy to work with. And we're even started working on wine quality. And so it looks like across our experiments, we might be able to optimize the rootstock and scion combinations we grow in different climates. To produce specific wind quality attributes, which is really cool.   Craig Macmillan  32:00  That is really cool. That is really cool. We're just about out of time. But I want to is there one thing on the on these topics that you would like or recommend to our listeners, or you'd like our listeners to know?   Jason Londo  32:11  Oh, well, I think their take home is is that we should all appreciate the new cultivars that come on the scene, whether they be from early regions like the the Eastern caucuses, something that we are not used to having in this country, or its climate adapted varieties that are bred in this country, and grown in these different regions. We need to do our best to open our minds not to does this grape or that grape tastes like cab sauv, or tastes like Chardonnay. But isn't it amazing what this grape tastes like period, because a lot of the the advances in resilience and sustainability that we can get out of either adopting new cultivars, shifting cultivars from climate to climate, or by using hybrid varieties in different regions, all of the benefits that we can get out of growing the right kind of grapes in the right climate, reduces inputs in the vineyard reduces inputs on the ecology. It increases the economic stability of rural communities. And it gives you pride in what the local region can produce. And I guess my take home would be is drink more adapted wines, enjoy them, figure out the nuances. Some of them are not great, but some of them are really great. drink more wine.   Craig Macmillan  33:33  Where can people find out more about you and your work?   Jason Londo  33:36  So the easiest way is just to Google my name and Cornell and that will take you right to my Cornell page. There's not a lot of information on my Cornell page, and I'm a big procrastinator on my personal website. But you can find my contact information there and certainly get a hold of me directly. If there's anything of interest. I will also send you some links that you can use to take listeners to the Vitis underground project, which is the NSF rootstock project I talked about, I can send you a link to we have a cold hardiness website where we post prediction models that we've built about cold hardiness across most of the Eastern US. We hope to expand that to be nationwide once once I get a stronger computer, but I can send you some links there. Yeah, I would say that that's probably the best places to find information on me and the program here. And if people are in town to come and see Cornell Agrotech and see some of the stuff in the field.   Craig Macmillan  34:30  I would love to pay a visit. I've interviewed a number of your colleagues there and there's so much cool stuff going on. really innovative and really groundbreaking feel like we're on the leading edge of a wave that some point is going to break again. Maybe we'll be drinking wines other than the ones we've been drinking. I can see that happening. Anyway. So our guest today was Jason Londo. He's Associate Professor of horticulture in the School of integrative Plant Sciences at Cornell agritech. Thank you.   Jason Londo  34:55  Thanks   Nearly perfect transcription by
38:14 2/15/24
216: Talk About These 7 Values to Connect with Your Audience | Marketing Tip Monday
People today are paying closer attention to the values of the brands they support. Research conducted by Harris Poll revealed that 82% of shoppers prefer a consumer brand’s values to align with their own, and they’ll vote with their wallet if they don’t feel a match. Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. In addition to consumers voting with their dollars, Harris Poll found that 75% of shoppers surveyed have even parted ways with a brand over a conflict in values! Sustainable winegrowers and winemakers can easily connect with conscious consumers over these 7 values." 1. Social Responsibility Practicing social responsibility helps foster healthy relationships at work and in the community: Treat employees and the community with care and respect. Get involved in charity work, volunteering, & donations. Are aware of the impacts of the business (social and environmental!). 2. Water Management Did you know that less than 1% of our planet’s water is accessible freshwater we can use to fulfill our daily needs? Sustainable wine brands do! That’s why they: Use native plants for landscaping and cover crops. Conduct plant and soil tests to determine irrigation needs. Collect and reuse wastewater.  3. Safe Pest Management Both commercial and hobbyist farmers deal with pesky pests that damage crops, steal resources, and spread diseases. Sustainable winegrowers use an informed and tailored approach to tackling their farm’s unique and dynamic pest complex: Introduce beneficial insects to challenge insect pests. Attract birds of prey to hunt vertebrate pests. Manage canopy and fruit density to reduce mildew pressure. All of these practices are part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. 4. Energy Efficiency Making wine is an energy-intensive process. Whether from fuel, battery, or electricity, energy is used at every step of the process that turn grapes to wine. With so many uses of energy, there are many ways to improve efficiency: Reduce tractor passes with vineyard equipment that covers multiple rows. Reduce energy use by properly insulating tanks and buildings. Reduce dependence on fossil-fuel—based electricity with alternative sources like wind and solar.  5. Habitat Sustainable winegrowers cultivate a biologically-diverse ecosystem that sets the vineyard up to thrive without excessive use of inputs like water and fertilizers: Create and adhering to conservation plans. Maintain wildlife corridors to give wildlife safe passage. Preserve open, uncropped areas so native plant and wildlife species have a home.  6. Business Sound and responsible business practices help set a business up for long-term success: Annual and multi-year budgets. Accurate record keeping. Offer benefits packages and competitive pay.  7. Always Evolving In order to stay successful and relevant, sustainable businesses constantly look for opportunities to learn more and evolve: Attend and host educational events. Subscribe to local and industry news. Provide education and upward movement opportunities for employees. We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing your Sustainable Story today!     Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Marketing Tips eNewsletter ReSIProcal February Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Whitney Brownie | Get YOUR Sustainable Story Featured Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
04:04 2/12/24
215: Biochar Production on a Commercial Scale
Adding biochar as a soil amendment creates an ideal habitat for beneficial microorganisms. Sitos Group CEO and Co-founder Mayo Ryan and PR, Marketing, and Communications Manager Jessica Bronner explain how biochar amendments improve disease resistance, plant health, pest resistance, water retention, and drought mitigation. The team explains three different ways to make biochar and why they have chosen to use the slow pyrolysis method to ultimately produce biochar for different soil types. Resources: REGISTER: February 16, 2024 Biochar in the Vineyard 56: Conservation Burning and Biochar 106: What? Bury Charcoal in the Vineyard? 167: Use Biochar to Combat Climate Change Burn: Igniting a New Carbon Drawdown Economy to End the Climate Crisis Carbon Removal FAQ Monterey Pacific Inc. New Science Says Biochar is Very Permanent Regeneration Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation Sitos Group Sitos Group Biochar Page Sitos Group Blog Sitos Group Social Channels: LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube United States Biochar Initiative Why ‘regenerative viticulture’ is gaining ground among major wine producers Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today are Mayo Ryan. He is CEO and co founder of the Sitos Group and also his colleague, Jessica Bronner, who is the PR marketing communications manager for the Sitos roup as well. Thank you both for being here.   Mayo Ryan  0:12  You're welcome, Craig. Hey, happy to be here.   Jessica Bronner  0:14  It's a pleasure.   Craig Macmillan  0:16  So what is the Sitos Group? What do you folks do? How did it start? I know the answers to these questions, but like why are we here? Today we're going to talk about biochar. But where are you focusing? What do you do?   Mayo Ryan  0:29  Well, you know, when we when we figure it out, I think we'll let you know but anyway, where we are today is Sitos Group is a California based biochar manufacture and carbon removal company and we got started two years ago. It was a really great collaboration between myself and our co founder Steve McIntyre. Steve is the owner, founder and owner of Monterey Pacific, which is a very large vineyard management company, based in solid California about an hour south of Salinas and Monterey  Pacific farms about 18,000 acres of wine grapes in the Monterey County and San Luis Obispo areas. Steve's a winemaker and has his own winery. And he started using biochar with his in house soil scientist Dr. Doug Beck. almost 10 years ago, Doug has spent a lifetime in Far East Asia perfecting and understand the use of biochar and brought it to Monterey Pacific. They've perfected that use. And so, Stephen Monterey Pacific along with Doug had the use of biochar and winegrapes down I started my journey into biochar in late 2017. Designing and building an almond processing company in Northern California, in that process wanted to do something different to the almond shell market is is really valueless. It's a valueless byproduct almond hole is used in cattle feed in that year, the price dropped by 75%. So we were looking for an alternative income source in the form of almond shell and the next year and 2018, Kathleen Draper and Albert Bates wrote this seminal book called Burn and oddly enough, coincidentally, Steve and I read the book The same year, and it's what got us into biochar was the big sort of lightbulb moment. And then in 2018, I think October it was the inner governmental Panel on Climate Change wrote its report about negative emissions technologies. And in my head, I put those two together and have really drank the biochar Kool Aid and never going back. This is a lifelong venture now. We got together a few years ago, a fellow graduate of the California ag leadership program, we're both graduates of that program got us together, Steve's headwinds where he knew everything there was to know about using biochar in agricultural setting. And I had the, you know, production technology side of it pretty well wrapped up his headwinds were my tail winds and vice versa, we got together and as I said earlier, it's a marriage made in heaven. We've had a really wonderful partnership over the last almost couple of years, we have a pilot plant up and running at Regen Monterey, which is Monterey County's Waste Management District, with this incredible staff there. And our partner in that project is Keith Day, who runs the compost operation, the Keith day company that runs the compost operation at region Monterey, and we've had a pilot plant up and running since early this summer. And yeah, things are going really well.   Craig Macmillan  3:04  So question for you, Jessica. How did you get involved with the Sitos Group?   Jessica Bronner  3:08  That is a lovely question. So Steve reached out one day and was like, Hey, I have a job opportunity for you. And he connected with mayo, and the rest was history. And I always joke that I never thought I'd be excited about dirt, except now I'm excited about chocolate ish, kind of st compound. But yeah, that's how I got into it. And I'm never looking back. I can tell you that for sure.   Craig Macmillan  3:32  And so I've got another question for you. Jessica because I think you might have a really great answer to this. We have other episodes on this topic, but just very briefly, what exactly is biochar and what are some of the uses for it?   Jessica Bronner  3:44  So biochar, what Mayo calls is a wonder drug. And I could not agree more. I really porous material, and it's actually a type of charcoal with a low ash content. So it's a higher carbon content. What sets it apart from charcoal is its porosity. So it's has a lot of pores inside of it. We call it the coral reef for the soil. So all of those pores and little rooms are kind of housing for the micro organisms, or the soil biota that we incorporate into it.   Craig Macmillan  4:16  Mayo, you had mentioned how you kind of got connected to it. What are some of the uses for biochar in agriculture?   Mayo Ryan  4:22  We're farmers at heart and I mean, you all of us are lifelong agriculturalists. So we really start the conversation about biochar from an agricultural perspective. It is a wonderful soil amendment and because of its porosity, as Jessica said, and the idea that it is this coral reef for the soil, all of the complex fungi and bacteria and the myriad other micro organisms that help us with our digestion and our immunity and our disease resistant, live in, in biochar, it's like long term housing for all of those organisms. And I mean, in a single handful of soil there are more micro organisms, microbial bodies and our human beings on the planet and and biochar is their long term housing. You know, it's a condo for them. And so they take up residence, and it just fuels all this great activity that all those organisms have when they interact with the plant this complex communication between microbial activity and the plant itself. And so it leads to increased fertility, plant health, disease resistance, pest resistance, a really good amount of moisture retention, so drought mitigation, you know, and you just go down a list like a, like Jessica said, I think it's a wonder drug because it has these almost unbelievable amount of CO benefits. It does so many good things. That's just on the on the agricultural side, what we think about at Sitos are these co equal benefits of soil health and carbon sequestration. It's a really effective shovel ready and efficient tool. First, full carbon seed, atmospheric carbon removal,   Craig Macmillan  5:50  You talked about carbon. So obviously, this is made from materials that are high in carbon, Jessica, what kinds of materials go into this process that we're going to talk about in a second, what kinds of materials go into making biochar?   Jessica Bronner  6:02  Well, ultimately, you can pyrolyze is the secret word that we're going to get into in a little bit, but you can pyrolyze any organic matter Sitos Group specifically, we are currently working with municipal wood waste. We tried working with some compost leftovers previously, and they were a little high in water content for us to make biochar in the moment. So now we're just using some wood residue from other wood materials that are lower in the water content, but you can pyralyze organic, any type of organic waste, if that's biosolids, if that's corn husks, if that's vineyard waste, or almond waste, we're looking to get into almond waste almond hole and shell later on down the road hopefully sooner than later. But anything organic ultimately, if it's going back into the agricultural application,   Craig Macmillan  6:51  So Mayo, there's a particular process we've called pyrolysis that's necessary to make this happen so that you don't end up with ash or charcoal is it's a different kind of a combustion Mayo, Can you talk a little bit more about pyrolysis and then we'll talk about how you actually do it.   Mayo Ryan  7:04  Our goal is to ultimately make various qualities of biochar for specific soil types. And so we want a machine that's adjustable, which is why we pick slow pyrolysis there are other means of making biochar one's called gasification. And that's what we have largely in California. These are these are really energy production facilities where energy is about 80% of the product and biochar is a byproduct. Fast pyrolysis is another way to do it. Slow pyrolysis is a little bit different. There aren't many manufacturers that equipment around the world, but I think we found a great one and that machines very adjustable. So we can through different throughput times different temperature rates, we can make biochar 's that have higher pH level than others or a higher cation Exchange capacity and ultimately hope to customize biochar for soil types but you know, it's a new process. This is our machine at Regen Monterey the pilot plant is the first of its kind in the country. We've spent a good long while investigating manufactures years actually at this and, and are really pleased with this. With this process. The machine was invented or designed by two professors and biochar, Johanna Sleeman at Cornell and Stephen Joseph at the University of New South Wales, to pretty eminent people in our world. And so far, we're really pleased with the design and hope to perfect it over the years. And, you know, get the most out of it that we can it's economic, it's fairly easy to operate. As Jessica said, it's feedstock agnostic, we can use a lot of different feedstocks, and it's transportable, we can put one in a 40 foot trailer and, and you know, it's not like we can hook it up to the back of a car and drive it around. But it is somewhat transportable.   We've had other guests on the podcast and I've had tailgates where we have had big piles of vines that we lit from the top and then hose down material at the end. I've talked to people about digging pits and burning stuff covered in the ground. We've seen some smaller kinds of units, kind of like a tank I've seen people doing and kind of an open trench. The secret to pyrolysis is it's the low edition of oxygen. Is that right?   That's exactly right. Yeah.   Craig Macmillan  9:08  So you're talking about a machine. So what is this machines, magical machine? What is how does it work? How do you get stuff into it? How does it burn? How do you get stuff out of it? How much can you do at a time? Does it take 10 people to operate it? I've just gotten super curious about this, because this is the first time I've really heard about this kind of technology.   Mayo Ryan  9:27  You make it sounds so mysterious, but it's really not all the processes you described, Craig are what stands out about them is that they're batch processes. We wanted something that was continuous. There's such an abundance of agricultural byproducts, waste and biosolids, and forest waste in California that we wanted something that we could start this machine or put two or three of them side by side and it was a continuous process. So the feedstock enters the machine in a in a trough at the bottom of the machine at a temperature say 150 degrees centigrade, the moisture leaves so we dry the feedstock going in and In it say 350 to 500 degrees centigrade, all of the non carbon materials. The volatiles, if you will in that feedstock, whether it's almond shell or biosolids, or wood waste go away from the feedstock. And what we create is this bubble of sin gas or production gases. And at those temperatures, those sin gases combust. That bubble of of flame, if you will, lives above the feedstock. And that heat is what pyralyzes that say 750 degrees centigrade, paralyzes the feedstock. And what paralyzation means is it literally means change by fire. And so that feedstock goes from whatever it was with whatever quantities of lignin, cellulose hemicellulose into almost a pure carbon, it's completely chemically transformed. And what you end up with is just because it earlier is this very porous material. One of the quality standards for biochar is the International biochar initiative, surface area standard, which is 500 meters per gram. It was hard to get my head around this, but that's the surface area of a football field in the size of a pencil eraser. And that just speaks to how porous and fragile it is. And if you were to take an electron microscope and look at one of the walls of those pores, it would look exactly like the original start. It's very fractal down to different degrees of magnification. And at that high carbon content level microbes break their teeth on it, you know, it's it's something that lasts in the soil for hundreds, if not 1000s of years, as farmers we are using the biochar, principally for soil health and Plant Health take that responsibility for using that biochar in an agricultural setting, you know, very seriously. And so we are, you know, we really think that that leads to a more durable and permanent carbon removal, but it's just as I said earlier, it's a wonderful, incredible wonder drug. It does so many great things.   Craig Macmillan  11:48  To continue, mayo what happens to the stuff that's not the carbon you said it volatilizes off, but what's its eventual fate in the environment?   Mayo Ryan  11:50  We essentially combust it and so the machine acts as its own thermal oxidizer, so everything that's not carbon gets lifted above the feedstock. The feedstock never actually catches fire all the sin gas and production cloud gases do above the feedstock and they're consumed right then and there. And so theoretically, you know, what comes out of the stack is very little heat, principally, we generate a ton of byproduct heat, but very little exhaust gases, little NOx little Sox, well under what you know, are the standards here. Everything that's as I said, Not carbon gets combusted within the chamber   Craig Macmillan  12:34  And gets broken down into less problematic. Compact.   Mayo Ryan  12:37  Exactly, yes,   Craig Macmillan  12:38  Question for you just the coolant, the biochar coolant. I'm hearing a lot about biochar. Obviously, there's a lot of people mixing up the Kool Aid. I'm guessing that your job is probably to sell the Kool Aid.   Jessica Bronner  12:49  My job is actually to educate people on what the Kool Aid is. Once they know it kind of sells itself going from there on. It's definitely breaking down the complex understanding of slow pyrolysis and biochar so if someone could understand it, who's new to the ag industry or carbon removal industry or any of that.   Craig Macmillan  13:13  So again with you, Jessica, so this material is produced, you folks are selling it to other folks selling it to different people, outlets, companies, municipalities.   Jessica Bronner  13:23  That is the future plan for now we have an offtake agreement set for this first pilot plant with Monterey Pacific. So actually, all the biochar we'll be producing in the years going forward will be going directly into the vineyards that MPI manages, which is terrific yay for Sitos, Group biochar. And then moving forward it will be available to sell to outside markets.   Craig Macmillan  13:46  What do you think those markets might be?   Mayo Ryan  13:47  I can go with that. You know, we're we're we're lucky in that biochar and wine grape vineyards is an established fact more or less. We can all stipulate the benefits of biochar in wine grapes largely due to Dr. Doug Beck and Steve's work over the last eight to 10 years. We're doubling down in the wine grape industry is is kind of a short term means of proving biochar is affecting agriculture. Next, we'll spend time educating almond and pistachio growers in the San Joaquin Valley about those same benefits. I used to work as pistachio grower relations guy for a large pistachio company. And you know, I'm convinced pistachios and biochar go hand in hand. But there are so many other uses. We can sequester carbon and concrete, you know line production for the concrete businesses one of the largest carbon emitters in the world. If we can get biochar and concrete we can significantly reduce by 20%. Perhaps the amount of lime going into concrete, we can create graphenes and graphite for use and batteries. The endless list of uses of biochar is really endless. We were starting in agriculture but there are a lot of opportunities for us as we build the business.   Jessica, are you you said you're doing the education and the outreach. You're teaching people what it is what kinds of methods tools, avenues are you using to communicate all this stuff?   Jessica Bronner  14:59  So far we've been very successful on LinkedIn. That's a great avenue for people to find out what we're doing where Mayo is every week speaking to different at different arrangements and educating people that way. With that we do a lot of public outreach. So we spoke at the Monterey Rotary Club and then the Cannery Row Rotary Club. So we had some good educational moments, we'll be having a biochar tailgate with a vineyard team coming up next beginning of next year. And then our website has a lot of information about biochar. We'll write blogs, if people have questions, they can submit questions on our website. We really want to be open book to the public and to people who are interested because educating oneself is kind of the most powerful tool that you have i We really value that and we want to create avenues for people to learn from their own standards. And then a website that we like to go to for information for the public to know about, they obviously probably already do if they know about biochar is the US biochar initiative USBI. They have a terrific website with a lot of knowledge and materials on biochar and application and agriculture and different settings.   Craig Macmillan  16:12  And just as a as a timestamp, this has been recorded in November of 2023. And so this Tailgate you mentioned, would be in 2024. For Mayo to you what what is the future look like? The big picture future do you think is going to be for this industry? This is a sounds like it's an industry are potentially a fledgling industry, maybe. But where do you see this going? You've talked about almond orchards and you've talked about municipal waste. What's the potential here on a big, big picture? You   Mayo Ryan  16:42  know, agriculture is facing a huge set of problems, which makes it just more and more difficult to meet this global demand for a secure and healthy food supply. And those problems are, you know, soil degradation and desertification, drought or moisture loss. You know, carbon emissions from agriculture is huge. We've got to fix that loss of biodiversity. And so, we believe that biochar is a way to transition conventional traditional ag into a regenerative ag set of practices, which would include things like cover cropping and minimum or no till on but but essentially at the highest level conversion from a chemical based farming regime to biological based farming regime and, and we want to facilitate that our vision of sounds embarrassing a bit, Craig, but you know, Steven, Jessica, and Alan and our wonderful operators who Swain said, Well, I'll want to sequester a million tonnes of carbon be a mega ton supplier of carbon removal by the end of 2030. It sounds crazy. When I say it, I get a bit embarrassed. But our friends in the carbon world are telling them that's not enough, we need to have much more larger ambitions, you know, we all need to be sequestering a billion tons by 2030. And we're you know, we're just a very small part of that. But that's our goal. That's what we want to have happen. That's what we're going to pursue over the next seven years is to take these plants that we have the goal of the pilot planet region, Monterey is to perfect a three machine design that will templatized and deploy throughout the Salinas, Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, I think in my lifetime anyway, you know, I don't have to look much beyond those regions for opportunities to make biochar and sequester in soil. But that's the plan and to you know, to do our best to facilitate regenerative ag and, and those regenerative site supply chains and remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as we possibly can.   Craig Macmillan  18:24  Jessica what do you have to add to that? What? What do you see? What's your vision?   Jessica Bronner  18:28  My vision for biochar is really lead the regeneration of the earth to the soil. I mean, I recently read, or am reading the book by Paul Hawkins called regeneration and mayo knows it very well. And I encourage everyone else to go and read it if they have not. But it ultimately talks about how are we supposed to thrive on a planet that's degenerating? And what can we do to regenerate that so we can continue to sustain life? Well, not just since sustain life, but to thrive, have life thrive on this planet? So future going forward would for biochar to Excel that regeneration of the earth of agriculture of supply chains of humanity? That would be that's my big end. I'll be I'll go through this.   Craig Macmillan  19:14  That's a good goal. Let's continue with you, Jessica. We're getting close to the end here. What is one thing that you would recommend to listeners or that you'd like them to take away regarding this topic?   Jessica Bronner  19:26  I mentioned it earlier, but really is just to educate themselves on biochar and sustainability and regeneration, because there's only so much you can do from here. So he or she say, but when you actually double down and find out what it is that you're passionate about, or maybe you're not passionate about for your individual self, I think that's really powerful. Like I said before, I had never knew that I'd be excited about charcoal or about agriculture, but here I am, like, never, never going back and I really attribute that passion to education. personal education me diving in and figuring that out so that's that's my biggest encouragement for people just curious about it is to read about it dive in jump in headfirst come down a rabbit hole and drink the Kool Aid.   Craig Macmillan  20:14  How about you Mayo?   Mayo Ryan  20:16  Know what I'm gonna shamelessly crib what Jessica stains it's get involved. I mean, if you're on our website and you find that that tab and that button all over, we have a little mantra internal saying it Sitos. It's not either or it's also and we have a very limited competitive view, we don't think there are such things in, in the biochar or carbon removal world as competitors, we need lots of Sitos' we need lots of other companies in this business as many as can can get involved. And that's it. You know, Friday, we hit a record. It's the first time we were over two degrees of pre industrial temperature, a third of this year was over 1.5 degrees, which was the Paris Climate Accord. It's here it's happening. And so my suggestion and my hope is that is that people just get involved educate, as Jessica said, and, and join us in this effort to save ourselves.   Craig Macmillan  21:03  Jessica, I am going to ocme back to you, where can people find out more about you and your colleagues and the Sitos group in general?   Jessica Bronner  21:11  Our website and click the Get Involved button and you send an email directly to me and I will respond to you ASAP. You can also find us like I said on LinkedIn, we have our social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram. We're thinking about launching a YouTube channel. You can go check us out right now and find some terrific vineyard application videos of biochar have been applied to some of the McIntyre vineyards, soils. But I would say email if you want to get direct contact with us. It's our first names with our last initial at it is We got fancy and put a dot Earth on there. So yeah, send us an email reach out. We're happy to chat set up a call and have a conversation. Well,   Craig Macmillan  21:53  our guest today has been Mayo Ryan. He is CEO and co founder of the Sitos group and Jessica Bronner, who is the peer Marketing Communications Manager for Sitos want to thank you both for being here.   Mayo Ryan  22:05  Delighted, Craig, thank you for having us.   Jessica Bronner  22:07  It was a pleasure for sure.   Transcribed by Nearly perfect transcription by
25:38 2/1/24
214: 3 Eco Buzzwords You Didn't Know Are Sustainable | Marketing Tip Monday
There are a lot of buzzwords today surrounding eco-friendly production: Regenerative Sustainable Climate smart Carbon footprint Social equity Did you know that the sustainable winegrowing community touches all of these points? Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. 1. Regenerative. From the block to the bottle, making wine is a science. Growers and vintners alike must understand and work with nature to make a quality product, and sustain their business for years to come. That’s why sustainable winegrowers use practices that protect and regenerate natural resources: Enhance soil health and biodiversity by planting cover crops and using compost and biochar. Support native wildlife species by preserving a portion of the property as non-cropped land. Reduce pesticide use by attracting birds of prey and beneficial insects.  2. Climate Smart. From the fuel and batteries that run vineyard equipment, to the electric pumps and motors at work in the winery, to the electricity that power the buildings, it takes energy to make a bottle of wine! Reducing reliance on nonrenewable energy helps to combat climate change. Sustainable winegrowers and winemakers do this by: Using equipment that covers multiple rows to reduce tractor passes. Improving insulation of buildings and winery tanks to regulate temperature and reduce energy demand. Utilizing natural light, energy-efficient bulbs, and motion-detecting lighting in buildings to reduce electricity demand.  3. Social Equity. Sustainable wine businesses know that people are our most valuable resource. It’s common practice for them to: Provide competitive pay and medical insurance. Have a communication plan to reach neighbors and the community at large. Give back to their communities through charitable donations, volunteer work, and hosting educational events. We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing your Sustainable Story today!     Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Marketing Tips eNewsletter ReSIProcal February Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Whitney Brownie | Get YOUR Sustainable Story Featured Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
02:38 1/22/24
213: High Resolution Data from Space Helps Farmers Plan for Climate Change
Ecosystem Science combines biology, chemistry, and physics to model and predict responses like wine grape yield forecasting, water management, and disease vector mapping. Joshua Fisher, Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Policy at Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University and science lead at Hydrosat explains how high-resolution data from space helps farmers plan for climate change. His research uses satellites to help growers understand how change their practices to succeed in their current location and predict future winegrowing regions around the world. Resources: 199: NASA Satellites Detect Grapevine Diseases from Space 191: CropManage: Improving the Precision of Water and Fertilizer Inputs Hydrosat Joshua Fisher Joshua Fisher on LinkedIn Joshua Fisher on Twitter Martha Anderson, Research Physical Scientist, USDA-ARS NASA Acres - applying satellite data solutions to the most pressing challenges facing U.S. agriculture NASA Earth Observatory NASA JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  And our guest today is Dr. Joshua Fisher. He is Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Chapman University, and also science lead with Hydrosat. And today, we're gonna be talking about ecosystem research that he's been doing in some modeling ideas. Thanks for being here, Joshua.   Joshua Fisher  0:16  Thanks for having me.   Craig Macmillan  0:17  Your area is broadly defined, I understand as Ecosystem Science, that'd be an accurate description of your professional life.   Joshua Fisher  0:25  Sure, yep.   Craig Macmillan  0:26  Before we get started, what exactly is Ecosystem Science?   Joshua Fisher  0:29  it's kind of a combination of many sciences. And it's a combination of biology, we got to understand plants, animals, in, you know, down to bacteria and fungi. It's a combination of chemistry, you know, we need to understand how different nutrients and water and carbon interact and transform and it's combination of physics in terms of how energy flows through the system and in heat, and how to model and predict responses of the biology and the chemistry through the physics. So I kind of got into Ecosystem Science or environmental science more broadly, because I was indecisive as a student and couldn't pick a science, like all the sciences, and   Craig Macmillan  1:10  I feel your pain.   Joshua Fisher  1:11  And I didn't want to just pick one. So I was looking around for a major that combine the sciences and environmental science was a good one and got me a chance to get outdoors.   Craig Macmillan  1:20  That's an interesting way to get into what are the applied aspects of this area? Like what are the things things are that you're interested in, in terms of like the applications, but what do you do, and then we'll talk about what you do.   Joshua Fisher  1:32  The applications are really interesting. And it's kind of a career trajectory to, I think, as a student, and as an early career scientist, it was really about doing science, with the applications kind of out there more broadly, for context, but not actually doing anything about anything other than coming up with the best science possible, coming up with the best models, launching satellites, developing new datasets and understanding the way the world works. But actually feeding back to society was something that I've really ramped up throughout my career. And I've seen that among my peers as well, you know, especially in terms of the science trajectory and science reward system, science rewards you for publications for getting grants, and for doing a bit of ivory tower research, it doesn't really reward you, promote you and sustain you for doing applied sciences. And that tends to be a luxury that one gets one when gets into mid career, which is where I'm at now. And it's a great aspect. It's a great privilege to be able to feed back to society, to help farmers, water managers, policy makers, communities, people of color, indigenous tribes, and so on. It's a different type of award. Now it's, it's a reward, that's a personal reward. Something that I feel, you know, really happy about satisfied when I go to sleep at night. And I, you know, have to do my part to change the system for the early career scientist of today, to be rewarded for those applications as well. But in terms of my Applied Science, nowadays, I use my technology that I've launched a space and I'm continuing to launch the space, especially on thermal imaging, to monitor plant stress and water stress, heat stress, and plants using that to help inform irrigation and agricultural crop management, forest management, wildfire, prediction response, even down to urban heat and public health. I have got work with environmental justice, and communities of color and using the data that I've launched to help to help sustain public health as well as environmental science and agriculture and food production and food security. So lots of great applications out there. I'm even working with volcanologist. Our technology to help predict volcanic eruption.   Craig Macmillan  3:43  Oh, wow.   Joshua Fisher  3:44  Incredible array, you know, there's geology as well, mineral exploration. So a lot of applications, aquaculture, you know, helping improve shellfish and diversity as well. So when it comes to what I've gotten myself into, or gotten yourself into Dr. Fisher, over the years a bit of that. And it just happens to be that what I do has a lot of the connections, it isn't very limited. And what I what I've been doing for the past decade has a lot on temperature and heat. And so anywhere there's a signal of heat or temperature, whether it's in crops, whether it's in urban settings, whether it's in volcanoes, whether it's in wildfire that temperature permeates everywhere. And my data have and my science have the ability to help not only the science, but also the applications across nearly in the entire earth system.   Craig Macmillan  4:35  All right now, what are you talking about heat you're looking at this, we're talking about what you do so like on any given day, and I know everybody has these crazy lives where we do one thing on Tuesday and something completely different on Wednesday, but you are scientists, scientists work with data. Your data is coming from space. How did you get into that? I know you've worked on a couple of other or a couple of projects both now When in the past with information data collected from sapce, and I want to know more about that, what kind of data? How's it collected? How's it work? Exactly, yeah, how does somebody get into terrestrial data scientist?   Joshua Fisher  5:14  How does someone go from having one's head in the dirt to having one's head in space?   Craig Macmillan  5:21  And then then back in the dirt sounds like.   Unknown Speaker  5:24  I'm back in the dirt again. Back to my college days, environmental science, started doing undergraduate research at Berkeley, where I was at, mostly because as an undergrad, I was like, Why? Why did I go to Berkeley, you know, it's just a number in a class. It's huge, not the best teaching, the reputation of Berkeley is really for the research. So I said, Well, if I'm going to be here, I better get involved in research. And I got involved in research as an undergrad, and started getting into the Environmental Modeling. And I liked it so much that I continued on at Berkeley for my PhD, and my PhD, and continued Environmental Modeling side. But I was like, well, let's add a new tool to my toolkit. And let's start playing with satellites. Because really, they were just cool toys in the sky, I had really no other kind of ambition, other than to learn how to pick up a new tool and play with it.   Craig Macmillan  6:12  I've seen some really pretty pictures, if you go to the NASA Earth Observatory page, and with all their links and stuff there. It's like a Christmas tree with presents under it. It's just all these pretty colors and all these amazing things. So I can see how you could get drawn into it.   Joshua Fisher  6:27  Yeah, I mean, when you get into all the beautiful imagery, not only in the visible spectrum, but across the medic spectrum, you start to wonder if you are looking at science or art, that distinction that polarization between art and science really starts to blur. And you forget, what are you doing? Are you doing art? Are you doing science? And really, you're doing both. And it's all together. And I've been doing a lot of art, science and synergies over the year as well, which I'm happy to talk to you after I answer your first question, which is how I got into it. So playing with cool satellites, cool toys in the sky, interested in water, because I grew up in California and Alaska, kind of two, polar opposites of environmental extremes. And you know, when I was a kid, we were putting low flow showerheads, you know, in my showers in Los Angeles, where I grew up with my mother. And then my parents split when I was little, my dad lived in Alaska. And when I went to visit my dad, Alaska, we were putting on high flow showerheads, as a kid just kind of flying back and forth. It made me wonder how the world worked. And so growing up in California, especially under droughts and water shortages, as I got into college, I got involved in interested in being able to predict water and how much water we need. We had been able to measure rainfall and snow and groundwater, but not the evaporation components so much. And so that was where the models had to come into play. Because we couldn't measure it. We had a model that we had predicted based on other things. So when I started playing with satellites, my PhD, I was started wondering, I wonder if we could get at evapotranspiration from satellite remote sensing. And so that became the focus of my PhD. And sure enough, I was able to do it at the end of a nice long doctorate. So then right around that time, climate change really blew up. And I was in a unique place where I was observing the earth, using cutting edge technology and models and looking at cycles that transcended the whole earth. And so I kind of stepped right into that, for a fact finished my PhD, decided to if I wanted to be a global climate scientist, I needed to work globally. I had been in the Bay Area for almost 10 years in LA and so on. So I left the US and I went to England to Oxford University. And I thought I would leave the satellite and evapotranspiration stuff behind me. I started working on the climate model. There, I started getting into nitrogen, and the nitrogen cycle. And really my number one goal of moving to England was to pick up a British accent so clearly that although I can't say...   Craig Macmillan  8:56  You went to Oxford, you went to Oxford to figure that out. You just couldn't move to the west end and a little apartment for a couple years. That wasn't going to do it clearly.   Joshua Fisher  9:03  But partially because we got a big project in the Amazon as well and Andes. So I moved into the Amazon and Andes and conducted a big nutrient fertilization experiment up and down the Andes along with a larger team studying ecological dynamics of the rainforest and cloud forest there. So my Spanish got a lot better although it's very much field Spanish, you know, I can converse very fluently when it comes to roots and leaves and soils, but put me in a fine dining restaurant. And I'm like, what is all this cutlery? We didn't have this on Amazon. Eventually made my way out of Amazon Andes back to Oxford and was teaching remote sensing and GIS geographic information systems to the students there. We had a collaborator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab who was visiting with us and he had tried to recruit me to JPL back in California. And I said, Ah, you know, I just converted my postdoc to a faculty position at Oxford. we're pretty happy here. But then my partner who's awesome from Los Angeles, got a job at Occidental College in Los Angeles. And so she got the job. And so I was like, okay, so I called up my friend at JPL. She has that position still available. And he said, Yeah, you should apply. And so I did. And so I ended up taking a job as a NASA scientist at JPL. And I was there for about 12 years before I left, and joined Chapman University and Hydrosat. Hydrosat was actually a spinoff from JPL. Some JPL scientists, engineers spun off some technology that we'd actually launched to Mars, and decided that we could actually use it for Earth Science and applications and accelerate that transition to society a lot faster. If we did it from a commercial sphere, than from a governmental, you know, wait for contracts and proposals, sphere prime, the science lead for Hydrosat. And even though it's in the commercial realm, I represent the science community and my push to make sure the data are available for free to the science community. And so that's one of my big pushes. It's all about advancing the earth as a whole. And Hydrosat really supports that. And our employees are driven by that mission as well. So that's exciting. So yeah, that's how I got involved in remote sensing and satellites. And it keeps me here today, because that's just what I've gotten good at, for my time at JPL.   Craig Macmillan  11:19  So what kinds of things is hydroset do?   Joshua Fisher  11:22  So we are launching as of, you know, less than a year just in June of 24, a constellation of satellites. And then they measure thermal infrared, so temperature, have very high spatial resolutions. And because it's a constellation, we can cover the earth really rapidly and frequently. So we can get measurements every day, what we call field scales down to 50 meters, for the thermal and in the visible and near infrared down to 20 meters. So really high resolution really frequent and and that's what we need, especially for growers agriculturalists. But even for other applications, like urban heat waves, volcanic eruptions, you know, a lot of things happen at very fine scales, wildfires, and you need to be able to capture it frequently, you can't just wait. And so there's always been this traditional trade off between high spatial resolution and high temporal resolution, you can have one or the other, but not both. It's because you either have your satellite close to the Earth where you can see close detail, but it takes forever to wrap around the earth in full coverage, or you can be further away and cover the earth more frequently. But then your pixel size is not as sharp. The problem with the thermal infrared imaging is that it's always been really expensive. Because it's a temperature sensor. It requires cooling, cryo, cooling, which takes a lot of energy and takes a lot of mass and volume. And on the engineering side, you start to add those up. And it becomes very expensive, from our public public satellites. Landsat has been our workhorse over the past couple of decades. And it's like a billion dollars to watch Landsat so you cannot have a lot. And that's a 16 day repeat. We advanced from Landsat with eco stress out of JPL I was the science lead for eco stress. We put it on the International Space Station. So we could use that energy system and power in crowd cooling. Interesting overpass cadence. So we didn't have to pay for a lot of the engineering. But you know, the the space station, of course, is very expensive.   Craig Macmillan  13:10  What is the overpass cadence on the International Space Station? I've always wondered that. If you're up there, and you're going around how often do you see your house?   Joshua Fisher  13:17  Yeah. And the answer is funky.   Craig Macmillan  13:21  Scientists love that Josh. Yeah, that's a great scientific, that's great for science.   Joshua Fisher  13:27  That's the jargon. That's the technical term. It is it's really funky. It's really weird. It doesn't go over the poles. For one, it hits about 50 to 15 degrees north and south. So it kind of like starts to get up there near Alaska. But it like it turns around, because what we call precesses kind of turns around, and so has this funky orbit. So if you're living in Los Angeles, or Chicago, or New York, a traditional satellite, like Landsat or MODIS, will pass over at the same time, every day for Motus 1030 or 130, for Landsat every 16 days at about 1030. So it's very consistent. And that's good for scientists, as you said, like scientist like that kind of consistent data, they can see if the planets heating up because at 1030, every time things are getting hotter, or whatever, the space station passes over at different times every time it takes your schedule and rips it up and says, you know, I'm doing my own thing. And so today, it'll be 11am. The next time it'll be 2pm. You know, next time it'll be 9am. It's not like every day or every three days. It's every like, sometimes it can be every day. And then like it just says like sia and then it comes back a week later. So it's very inconsistent. And that's why remote sensing scientists, NASA scientists had historically shied away from using the space station as a platform to observe the earth. I came along and said, You know what, this interesting high resolution spatial resolution because it's pretty close to the surface. You can actually see it from your house, passing over at night in this different times of overpass passes actually really good from a plant centric standpoint, plants, they use water throughout the day. But if you don't have enough water, especially in the afternoon, when it's hot and dry, plants will close this stomata, they'll shut down, and maybe reopen them a little bit in the evening to get a little bit more photosynthesis. And before, you know, there's no more sunlight from a 1030, consistent overpassed, you would never see that even from 130, you might not always see that getting that diurnal sampling was a unique trait that I thought would be valuable for Plant Science Ecosystem Science in agriculture. We propose that as part of the Eco stress mission proposal, the review panel at NASA headquarters, Congress love that we had been spending so much money as a nation on the space station. And we hadn't really been using those unique characteristics for Earth observation until we came along. And I think we were like the second Earth mission on the space station. And really the first one to ever use it to observe the earth with its unique characteristics. After we did that a whole bunch of other missions came up afterwards. We were trailblazers.   Craig Macmillan  15:59  That's cool. There's implications in terms of and you know, we're we're focused on plants and one plant in particular, the grapevine the implications for this are that we can see quite a bit of detail, I mean, 50 meters by 50 meters is actually surprisingly tight pixel, small pixel. But we also can see regional, and learn in larger scale patterns that we wouldn't find otherwise, where let's say grow A has great information about what's happening in terms of ET rates on their property, or plant water stress measured with leaf water potential or something like that. Stem water potential, but I'm guessing the field is probably picking up on some some patterns that are beyond what we might have otherwise known about, even if we had really, really good high quality high definition data just at the ground level, but limited parcel size, for instance.   Joshua Fisher  16:47  Yeah, absolutely. Thing is that hydrostat really combines a lot of great characteristics that you might get one from any, any any other individual instrument. So from again, Landsat, you've got that great spatial resolution, but you missed that frequency, promote us, you have the frequency, you miss the spatial resolution from drones, you get that great spatial resolution, but you don't get that large regional coverage, or even frequency from towers, similar, so from aircraft. So with Hydrosat, we're able to pick that a lot, which means that we can do a lot with I think we don't replace drone operations or towers, because those present and provide really useful information. But what we do provide is that just very consistent objective and large scale coverage at the field scale. So if you're a grower, and you got fields, you can run a drone or a couple of times, but you're really not going to see your field, you can get your Lance and your motors, but you're not gonna get that frequency or that resolution tight. So Hydrosat is really beneficial for you in terms of your audience for growers that have a lot of area, and a lot of interesting dynamics that you know, they need to be able to monitor and evapotranspiration, the soil moisture, the temperature, we can get that we also create a lot of products from our data. We just acquired a company called IrriWatch, which was started by my colleague Wim Bastiaanssen, who's a who's a giant and evapotranspiration, and so with me and Wim teaming up, we've got just where you know, the the two headed dragon of evapotranspiration are really pushing technology and solutions into agriculture, viticulture and all the other applications. So Wim and IrriWatch has done is they've reached out to hundreds hundreds of growers all over the world 60 countries and figuring out what are you what are your decisions? What are your What are your questions? What are your operational needs? And have answered pretty much all of them it can be from transpiration to soil moisture to soil deficit to how long do I need to turn on my hose? How long do I need to turn on my valve for? Where am I seeing water deficits? Where am I seeing water leaks? Can I tell us something about my soil health can I forecast crop yield, you know, in growing in viticulture, of course, we're not always trying to maximize the soil moisture to the field capacity. We're sometimes doing deficit irrigation. You even need more precision on that and more frequency. And so we work a lot with the US Department of Agriculture. I've got colleagues at USDA, Martha Anderson, they'll acoustics and tell him they've been doing a lot of viticulture applications. And so they're very excited about Hydrosat and we've been working with them on our early adopter product and hoping to have the USDA be a direct feed from Hydrosat and as much as all our individual growers and collective so we're definitely excited to support agriculture, viticulture, and anyone who can use the data. We want to make sure everyone has the best crop yield and best production and withstands these increasing heatwaves droughts and climate change that is facing everyone.   Craig Macmillan  19:56  So what kind of products does hydroset producing report it advise advising, like, what? What does it look like?   Joshua Fisher  20:03  Yeah, it's a huge list. I mean, so we actually have, since we acquired IrriWatch, we're trying to distill it because I think, with IrriWatch, we inherited about, like 50 different products. So different. So you got this web portal, this API, you can go in on your phone, or on your laptop, or your tablet, or whatever, and load up your field. And you can get your reports, your maps, your tables, your graphs across your different variables, your your irrigation recommendations, we provide irrigation recommendations, things before 10 In the morning, every day, local time. So people know what to do. But you know, then that's like growers, then there's more like water managers who are trying to manage water for a region, we've got policymakers, we've got consultants, so it's we have got a lot of different users, we've got a government. So we've got a lot of different users with different needs. And we have applications for all these different users. We're focused on agriculture, although we have a lot of interest and buy in from, again, like I said, wildfire communities, and forestry and public health and so on. So we're supporting a lot of those communities as well with our data. But we have a lot more analytics information and services for the Agricultural Committee at this at this time.   Craig Macmillan  21:17  I wanted to transition into that area of analytics. And related, you also are interested in modeling. I understand. To me, that's the Holy Grail, and also the Demon. of anyone who works around data. When I collect data, I've got maybe a great looking backward looking model. Fantastic. I tell you what has happened. Okay, great. Tell me what's going to happen. Josh, that's a little harder. And you are you are interested in this and work with this and which supercomputing Is that correct?   Joshua Fisher  21:48  That's right. That's right. Yeah, I do a lot of our system modeling. And it started with evapotranspiration, right again, because we couldn't measure it. So I had to predict it. And we had a lot of different models starting from him in Monte Thornthwaite. And recently, Taylor. And then moving forward, about the time I was in school, the global community started developing Eddy covariance towers, flux towers. And so we had some of the first ones at Berkeley that were measuring evapotranspiration, you know, frequently and across, you know, an ecosystem. So, I was like, well, let's test the models there. So I was, you know, one of the first scientists to test these different evapotranspiration models, and we got it like a dozen or so tested at the number of reflex sights, and I installed sap flow sensors and measured a bunch of things about water to be able to predict the models, or predict, predict evapotranspiration. That got me into understanding the process really well in the mathematics and the predictive capabilities. And then when I moved into the satellite remote sensing realm, we couldn't measure evapotranspiration directly as a gas flux. But you know, we were measuring the temperature signal, which is directly related, we can measure soil moisture, we can measure meteorology, we can measure vegetation, phonology. And so these components start to go together to get out of Apple transpiration. Actually, we can measure evapotranspiration using kind of atmospheric layers. It's very coarse resolution. It's not particularly useful for our land applications, but useful for weather and things like that. That modeling continued into using satellite data as the inputs to those models. And then like I said, I thought I would leave evapotranspiration remote sensing behind me as I moved to England and worked on the climate model. So I got into earth system modeling, and being able to predict, you know, essentially climate change, and what's happening to the fate of the whole planet, not just this year, next year, but 20 years from now, 50 years from now, and at the end of the century, as climate change is really ramping up and we're looking at tipping points in their system. When do plants really start running out of water? When do they run out of nutrients? When are the temperature extremes so much that plants can't survive? And this was actually just a paper that we published last month in nature made the cover of nature, and we use eco stress to detect temperature limits that we're seeing in tropical rainforests right now that we're just seeing starting to exceed the critical temperature in which photosynthesis shuts down. So that got a lot of widespread news coverage. Now we can put this back into their system models and say, are their system models doing this correctly? Some of my volcanology work is actually linked to earth system models, because one of the big uncertainties and unknowns and the fate of the planet is what are the rainforests going to do with increasing co2 And normally, we would set up experiments and pump co2 on to ecosystems and see what's happened. But it's hard to do that and rainforests working with my volcanologist colleagues, we've discovered that volcanoes leak co2 out of their like flanks into the low lying forests. And there's a chain of volcanoes in Costa Rica that are doing this in the rainforests. So we're going in again, back into the jungle, this time, the jungles of the volcanoes, flying drones to sniff out those co2 leaks, flying Lidar and thermal hyperspectral to see what the rainforest responses are. So that all ecology that remote sensing ties back to their system modeling predictive capabilities.   Craig Macmillan  25:05  One of the things I think is fascinating is here we have an ecosystem where we can collect data, we can the ground truth, that data or collect other variables to ground truth and connect, we can then develop like you said, some predictive modeling, and you go, what would a rainforest have to do with Cabernet Sauvignon? My answer is a lot. So where I want to steer things next, as a viticulturist. This is where I should say, the viticulture side of me. I'm very selfish. Not all viticulturist are many are giving open people, but I'm very selfish, and the only thing I care about is okay, what's happening with my vineyard? And what's that gonna look like? 10, 15 years from now, very hot topic right now in the in the wine industry is Wow, things are changing clearly. And so what kinds of changes Am I gonna have to make? Or can I make in terms of what plants I'm planting? Going forward? And I'm guessing that you probably are having some, some insights into plant response under these different conditions? Do you think that we're going to have some models or some ideas in the future about how, you know specific crops like vines might be modified, either in terms of species choice varieties choice or management techniques, or things like that? Is there is there some help for us here?   Joshua Fisher  26:18  Yeah, we already have those, there's kind of two paths or two, two sides to this coin, when it comes to climate change, and viticulture. One is big scale, where can we grow grapes that we couldn't grow before? And to where are we no longer going to be able to grow grapes into the future? The second one is, you know, it's hard to pick up a move to move into a new place or to move out of an old place, what can we do under the changing temperature and changing water cycle and changing seasonal cycle? And so I think that's probably the more immediate pressing question to potentially some of your your listeners is what can we do now? And so, you know, we're working with like the USDA and testing out different seed varieties, and so on. And there's a lot of commercial companies that do to do that as well. And so how do we help? We're not doing seed varieties. We're not doing the genetics of it, although I've got colleagues at Chapman University who are doing that. But what we can do is say, all right, you've got 5, 10 different varieties of the same type of grape, how much water are they using, what's the temperature sensitivity, and not just in a greenhouse or a lab, but across the field. And you can't always get towers and drones everywhere. And you know, maybe you can, but there's local conditions are a little bit unusual. So let's go ahead and plant 10 experimental fields, or maybe you're a grower, and you have a couple fields that you're willing to try out some new varieties. And we can just tell you, yeah, they use less water, or we have also another product called Water Use Efficiency crop for drop in terms of how much carbon is being taken up relative to how much water is being used. And so we can tell you that variety was was pretty good. I think that's the main crux, we can also tell you other things that other people can tell you in terms of phonology, and in Greenup, and so on. I think that helps and dovetails with how I actually got on your podcast with my buddy and colleague, Professor Katie Gold at Cornell University, who does a lot of remote sensing on disease. And so there's diseases are changing with climate change as well. And so with Katie and me arm and arm across, you know, across the coasts, hitting the disease in hyperspectral, and the plant water stress temperature shifts of the thermal, we present a very powerful one, two punch against climate change as it starts to attack our fields and crops. In a more immediate term, we have like a crop yield crop forecast, you know, seasonal forecasts that helps growers understand what they're doing in terms of coming to market, you know, that's a little bit potentially less useful for viticulture, it's more for grain crops and you know, big kind of bulk crops, it's also useful for investors as well. So there's a lot of futures, a lot of crop investors, crop insurance, and so on. And so we can provide just, you know, more accurate forecasts from the existing forecasts, because we have better data on existing conditions and more, a deeper insight into what the plants are seeing doing and feeling and responding because of that temperature signal because of that thermal response.   Craig Macmillan  29:09  That's really cool. And very exciting. And I'm very happy with it. You and Katie, other people are working on this because I think we've done a number of interviews in this area now over the years. And one thing that I have been really inspired by is that 15 years ago, this was kind of a glint in somebody's eye. And then 10 years ago, things were starting to happen. And then probably at least more than even more than five years ago, you'd go to any of the big meetings, and it's like, Hey, we got drones, we can fly your plane. Hey, we got planes, we can fly a plane and these beautiful pictures and stuff. And then suddenly, it actually getting more than five years ago then it was like look at all this NASA stuff. I was like, holy cow. This is taking it to a whole nother level in literally a whole nother level. And so I'm really excited about first I was excited about the data and I'm excited about how we're learning how to use it. And I think that's always been a challenge is We're pretty good at finding ways of collecting data. We're not always so great at figuring out how to use it can run out of time here. But the one thing on this topic that you would tell grape growers in particular, there was one thing that you would tell a grower, what would it be?   Joshua Fisher  30:16  Yeah, if there was one thing I would tell a grape grower is that we're here to support you. And we are working on the technology to meet your needs and demands, the technology is available for you, by all means, reach out, you can Google me, email me, no problem. I'll hook you up some sample data, you know, see if it looks good. If you want to buy in great, if not, no worries, if you just want some advice, consulting, it's all about help. We're all on this ship together Planet Earth to get there. You know, it's all about collaborations and helping across the board.   Craig Macmillan  30:46  Where can people find out more about you?   Joshua Fisher  30:48  I've got a website, my own personal website, you can see all my publications and datasets and so on.   Craig Macmillan  30:54  We will link to that.   Joshua Fisher  30:55  JB Fisher dot org. You can Google me on Josh Fisher and Chapman or Joshua hydrostat. I'm on Twitter, try to tweet out all my papers are relevant papers and science findings in the literature. I'm on LinkedIn and I do meet blog posts on papers met once a quarter on medium. So we're trying to get out there and try to communicate Yeah, more than happy to help.   Craig Macmillan  31:17  Sounds like you're easy to find my guest today. It was Joshua Fisher. He's Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Chapman University. And he's also the science lead for a company called Hydrosat. And we've been talking about things that are a new window, and I'm very excited about having that window opened in that window being opened wider and wider all the time. Josh, thanks for being a guest. This is great.   Joshua Fisher  31:39  Thanks, Craig. And hopefully, your listeners found it interesting.   Nearly perfect transcription by
35:19 1/18/24
212: An Educated Approach to Wine Marketing | Marketing Tip Monday
Do you know where your food comes from? “Food disconnect” is a term used to describe the average consumers lack of knowledge about where their food comes from and how it’s made. When it comes to wine, most people only see the finished product: what’s in their glass. Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. For sustainable wine brands, there’s yet another level to this disconnect: While consumers name food and beverage as one of the most important industries when it comes to sustainability, more than one in four US adults said they don't know what makes a product sustainable (Morning Consult, 2022). This introduces an opportunity for sustainable winegrowers and winemakers.  Sustainability Sells! After Kathy Kelley and her colleagues at Penn State University learned about the environmental benefits of using cover crops under grapevines, they wondered if promoting this sustainable practice could be part of a marketing strategy to sell more wine. When they tested this theory with real-world wine consumers, they found that 72% of the wine consumers surveyed were willing to pay a $1 surcharge to cover associated sustainable production costs, and 26% were even willing to pay a $2 surcharge!  Get Specific It’s important to note that for the participants in the study, simply hearing that a wine brand acted sustainably wasn’t enough – it was learning the importance of the specific sustainable practice that increased customers’ willingness to pay more for the wine. “… We’re seeing a consumer group that wants to be educated and wants to know exactly what is going on with sustainable wine production,” Kathy says in a Penn State article summarizing her findings. “So, being descriptive about what it actually means to include cover crops in a vineyard is a way to be attractive to them.” Sharing your sustainable story has many benefits. It can be used as a marketing strategy, it helps combat “food disconnect,” and it helps spread awareness of sustainable practices that protect and regenerate natural resources.   We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, download the worksheet, watch the videos, and you are ready to tell your Sustainable Story!    Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Marketing Tips eNewsletter Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic What's your Sustainable Story? Whitney Brownie | Get YOUR Sustainable Story Featured Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
02:50 1/8/24
211: Vineyard Nutrient Management Across the United States
When it comes to nutrition in your vineyard, you need to know the environment that your vineyard is planted in including mineral nutrition, soil microbes, nitrogen from rainwater, and nutrients or potentially salt from well water. Fritz Westover, Host of the Vineyard Underground Podcast and Founder of Virtual Viticulture Academy shares a big-picture approach to nutrient management that is practical for any grower. He covers: Why it is important to test tissue both at bloom and veraison How to take tissue samples When macro and micronutrient additions are most essential If you are a long time Member of our organization then you probably remember Fritz from his days with Vineyard Team in 2013 and 2014. We are thrilled to have Fritz back on air with us for the third time. Plus, I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on his podcast, Vineyard Underground. Search for episode 034: Why Sustainability Certification Programs for Vineyards Matter – with Beth Vukmanic on your favorite podcast player to listen in. And we have that linked in the show notes. Resources: 1/16/2024 Tailgate | Ag Order 4.0 Update 57: Wet Climate Viticulture 115: Examining Plant Nutrient Mobility with SAP Analysis 155: Sustainable Vineyard Management Across Different Climates 191: CropManage: Improving the Precision of Water and Fertilizer Inputs Fritz Westover Bio Healthy Soils Playlist The Science of Grapevines - Marcus Keller    Vineyard Underground Podcast Vineyard Underground Podcast - 016: Nitrogen Sources and Strategies for Application with Paul Crout Vineyard Underground Podcast - 034: Why Sustainability Certification Programs for Vineyards Matter – with Beth Vukmanic Virtual Viticulture Academy Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  Our guest today is Fritz Westover. He is a Viticulturist, who works around the United States. Especically the the south east and he is the host of the Vineyard Underground podcast, and also the founder of the Virtual Viticulture Academy. And today we're gonna talk about nutrient management. Thanks for being on the show.   Fritz Westover  0:20  Hey, Craig, how you doing today? Good to talk to you and to see you because I get to see you on video while we make this recording.   Craig Macmillan  0:27  You're back. This is another episode for you. Right?   Fritz Westover  0:29  This will be episode number three with Sustainable Winegrowing. So I love coming back. And you know, as you know, I worked with then Vineayrd Team back in 2013, and 14. So, of course, I love what you guys are doing and fully support it.   Craig Macmillan  0:42  Fantastic. So injury management in vineyards is today's topic. Can you give us a definition of what that means and why it's important?   Fritz Westover  0:51   Yeah, and I'm not going to give you the textbook version though, as you know, Craig, I'm going to talk from just how I view it and how I see my growers viewing it that.   Craig Macmillan  0:58  From the heart is that yeah,   Fritz Westover  1:00  I speak about nutrient management from the heart here. In terms of vineyards, you know, we want to see our vines grow healthy. When you plant to vine in the ground, there's certain things in the soil, there's mineral nutrition, there's microbes that cycle nutrients in the soil. So you have kind of a baseline there, you can add things to it. But you have to know what's in the soil. First, we have rain that falls from the sky, hopefully, and hopefully when it needs to, and that has certain mineral nutrient content and nitrogen, things like that people don't count that sometimes nothing will make a plant or like and rainwater. And then if you're pumping water through well, there's different ions, caverns and ions that are in that water, whether it be something that's good, like nitrogen, or magnesium or potassium or something that's not good, like a salt, in large amounts. So there's there's things coming out of the pumping out of the ground on a property that go to vineyard. And then you know, there's things that we put as inputs through a spray program or fertilization program. But before you do that, if you're going to manage the nutrition in your vineyard, you need to know what the content is what where the nutrients are coming from, how the vines take them up. Are you irrigating? Or is it a dry farmed vineyard, and that will determine how much of that nutrition is available to the vine, right, because you can have nutrition in the soil. But during a drought, if the roots aren't actively growing, or if they're pulling away from the soil, they're just not taking it in. It's a very dynamic thing. Management is really just knowing how to read your plants, how to read the environmental conditions, and knowing what you have there and what your inputs are contributing in terms of mineral nutrition to your system as a whole.   Craig Macmillan  2:31  What are some of the considerations then, that growers need to take into account when they're designing the fertilization program? Have you talked about where things come from? You've talked about what you need to look at. But how do you go about it.   Fritz Westover  2:43  I work with several growers all around the southeastern United States and in other states as well through my online academy. So I really get to see a large profile of soil reports, plant tissue reports. And there's certain benchmark measurements we can take in the vineyard that can help us to understand how vines are taking up nutrients. So we can look at a soil test. And we can determine what nutrients are available, we can look at the pH and that will determine the different availability of certain nutrients. We can also take into account the plant tissue samples that we should be doing in the vineyard, whether it's a tissue analysis from a petal, a leaf blade, a whole leaf with petiole attached, which is what I'm using currently, there's more and more interest in SAP analysis. So there's all these different methods of looking at nutrition within an actively growing plant. It gives you the snapshot at best during a certain time of the season. And those are benchmarks. So we're looking at the plants to see kind of what's being taken up from the soil and from the environment and from the water that's being either falling from the sky or going through the irrigation. My best analogy for grape grower would be the VSP probably the most common training system is the VSP so you have the that's vertical sheet positioning, but I use it and say the visual, we look at the soil for moisture, we look at the plants for any signs of higher low vigor to determine usually, if nitrogen is needed in greater quantities, or for certainly for any nutritional deficiencies that show up visually on leaves like magnesium or potassium deficiency, things like that. We know what those symptoms look like, we can look them up easily. And then the P would be the plant tissue test. So I always think of the soil is kind of the bank account of what nutrients are available. And then the tissue test is telling you if your plant is making that ATM withdrawals, so to speak from the soil. And then the visual really just validates if everything is really working as well as that plant tissue test says because I don't know about you, Craig, but I've looked at plant tissue tests that say everything is within the normal range of nutrients, but the plant is stunted. And it could see that the concentration of the nutrients is good in that plant, but the quantity is limiting the growth and production of that vine and it's going to limit the yields in that case. Those are the considerations I look into but there's one one more thing that there are some rules of thumb, what we're taking out of the system. When we ship our grapes out of the vineyard into the winery, whether it's your winery or winery across the state somewhere across the country that is removing nutrients. So you're literally mining your soil and your environment for nutrients, you're putting them into a truck, you're moving them with the fruit, and then they're being made into bottles of wine and someone's drinking those nutrients and they don't get back into the vineyard, if that's what's happening. So, when creating a nutritional budget, a lot of growers will account for the tonnage or whatever measurement of fruit is removed. And there are some tables available. I know Dr. Marcus Keller of Washington State University, in his book on the science of grapevines publishes some of those, but the example would be an average of four pounds of nitrogen. For every tonne of fruit removed from the vineyard, if you do four tons an acre, that's about 16 pounds of nitrogen. So we start to think in these terms of, okay, I just removed 16 pounds with that four ton per acre crop. This is an example of course of an average number, it's really not that simple, because the soil might have three or 4% organic matter in it. And we know from every 1% of organic matter, we're getting x units of nitrogen that are developed and processed within the soil system itself. And so if your organic matter is high enough, you may actually generate enough nitrogen in the soil to replace the nitrogen that was moved out of the vineyard. And this is why growers might go year in and year out without applying some fertilizer, even though they're moving it out of the vineyard in the fruit.   You got a good healthy soil web happening there, you got the relationships that you want, and you're cycling stuff. And so the impact of that removal is less. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And cover cropping and whatnot.   Soil conditions, too. I mean, if the soil is dry in a drought condition, it's not really you're not gonna have a lot of activity, or if it's really hot, because it's been cleaned, cultivated. And you know, how does that affect the microbes that can then cycle those nutrients and convert organic matter into nitrogen and other other mineral nutrients?   Craig Macmillan  7:05  I want to touch on something, something regarded this and that's timing. So like at the grade school science version that we learn is there's a plant, and it grows and things come up. And there's a plant. Yeah, and grapevines don't work that way. There's certain things that they'll take up at certain times of year, they need to have water, moving through the plant, different nutrients are important at different times of year. What do you recommend? What do you how do you manage that?   Fritz Westover  7:34  Yeah. So you know, when I do a presentation on grapevine nutrition, there's this one slide that I go to from a study in Germany, and where they basically took plants apart at different times of the phenological steps throughout the year, whether pre bloom bloom, fruit set, version, and harvest, and they looked at the total mineral content of these nutrients. And they use that to determine what the demand of those nutrients were at different stages. And so what we see is that nitrogen and potassium sort of follow the same curve, where as you get into bloom, there's a spike in demand for nitrogen and potassium. And then after fruit set, it goes down a little, and then the roller coaster ride goes back up, and the demand goes back up in your veraison as your ripening fruit, you need more nitrogen, potassium, things like that. It's all part of the sugar production system. And then you look at also the quantities you know, nitrogen and potassium, are by far the macronutrients that are needed the most, and then something like magnesium. And we do see a lot of magnesium deficiency, east of the Rockies at many sites, it's needed, but not until after fruit set, really, that's where the bumps starts. So the bumps gonna start afterwards. And it's going to kind of gradually go up and down and up again towards veraison But the amount is not as, let's say the quantity that's needed is not as great as something like potassium. And you could do that for each nutrient and look at it to me that that triggers the kind of the benchmark of when we have to start applying fertilizer. And so the interesting thing about that is if I've got a vineyard, where we can put everything through the drip, irrigation and fertigation, we can wait until either right before the time of highest demand, or right at the time, and we can just slug it through the drip, right. If you don't have irrigation, you might be able to do foliar application, but that's not going to get a lot of nutrients into the vine like it will if you put it into the root system. So you'll you'll hear and I know we're going to discuss this as well, because we discussed it earlier that you know, dry farmed vineyards or vineyards in areas where it rains and they don't have irrigation, have to plan a little bit farther ahead. Because if you're going to put something like magnesium out or potassium, it needs to be worked into the soil with a rain event if you don't have to ration or cultivated in in some cases. So you can't wait until that perfect window. You've got to get it out ahead of time so that it makes its way down to the roots and it's available for uptake at that critical window that I was referring to before in the phenol logical stages.   Craig Macmillan  9:56  Can I wait till I see a forecast that there's a storm coming and then get my material out? Or do I put it up earlier than then just kind of hope that it rains? I mean, how much time do I have?   Fritz Westover  10:08  Yeah, that's a really great question to Craig. And so you don't want to answer every question with it depends, right? So you've got to get some concrete information for a grower to actually follow. So then you start thinking about...   Craig Macmillan  10:19  There's nothing wrong with it depends.   Fritz Westover  10:21  It's okay, as long as you follow up with, but this is what I would do, right. And that's what I like to say. So this is what I would do if nitrogen was the nutrient in question, if you put out especially an ammonia, nitrogen, something like that on the ground or something that is not bound up, like if compost, you have a more stable form of nitrogen that's in organic matter, if you have something like ammonium, it might be readily evaporated, or it's going to it's going to volatilize, and you'll lose it to the atmosphere. So you definitely want to get that out as soon as you can, right before the rain. So the rain can immediately move that nutrient into the soil. And that will secure it, so to speak, and stop the volatilization from occurring. If it's something like magnesium, really not as volatile, right. Or if it's something like phosphorus, or if you're putting out calcium in the form of lime, or gypsum, there's not going to be a lot of volatility. So you can put those types of products out farther ahead of the rain, and hope that the rain will eventually come and work them in. So I guess in that matter, depends on what you're applying. And you can, you can decide based on that, if you want to trust that forecast or not.   Craig Macmillan  11:28  You know, I just started something, I interviewed somebody else recently, and they were working with underlying vegetation issues. It was fascinating to me because of the work that they were doing in there not necessarily chemical burn down, not necessarily inrow cultivation in the comment was it rains enough here that I can do whatever I want. But there's going to be plants growing there two days later, in your experience in parts of the country. And I would love to have some, you know, compare and contrast here. What do I need to do in terms of preparing that area, you know, around the root system, because I'm trying to get top to bottom right down to get in there. And then also, you mentioned system wide things. And so what do I need to do there to make that work?   Fritz Westover  12:12  Let's cover the system wide. First, when I talk about system wide or make creating these, quote unquote, sea changes in the soil, you're not going to make a sea change the soil is the soil. It's got its own living breathing organisms in it. But let's say you were chronically deficient in calcium, or magnesium, right? We'll use those as two good examples. If you apply your calcium, whether it's lime, or magnesium in the form of dolomitic, lime, which is calcium with 10%, magnesium, great way to put magnesium and calcium in the soil to acidifying your soil like you would with a magnesium sulfate. Or if you're putting out a magnesium sulfate in a high pH, soil, anything that you're trying to put out to change the plant uptake. So let's say really high potassium uptake in your plant is undesirable to you for some reason, and you're getting magnesium deficiency. As a result, if we only put that magnesium or that calcium right at the base of the vine, you can only really change the the cation exchange or the base saturation of those cations right in that small area. And that's important because it's a major area of uptake. And this is something a lot of growers don't think about, even when you're dripping something through a system that biggest area of uptake is near the crown of the vine at the base of the root system. And feeder roots will take up stuff too. But that's where if you're going to put a one time slug, you know, it's got to be within 18 inches or so the trunk, but you still have roots, especially on older vines that are moving out into the row middles. Over the years, they get into the row middles. And so they're still getting access to that perhaps high level of potassium in that bass saturation or that cation exchange out there. So they can still kind of pull that up. So if you want to create a wider change and impacts the system as a whole, you're better off applying that product as a broadcast into the middle and under the vines. I have done that with magnesium when we're trying to compete with potassium, because we see magnesium magnesium deficiency, or also if we're aligning soil. So in eastern states, we have acid soil, parts of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, where I've worked, even in East Texas or north of that in Arkansas, depending on where you're at. You run into these acid soils, and we're talking like 4.5 ph. Yeah, so it is or like wine, right? Yeah, yeah. So we know that nutrients are not as available many nutrients like phosphorus is deficient boron, other cations are not as available. Due to that high hydrogen ion competition. We're going to add lime. Hopefully before the vineyard is planted. You do that before but I often go back and add maintenance applications of lime over the years as well within the vineyard system, and we do that over the whole field. We don't just do that in the rows where we're planting vines, because we want the vines to be encouraged to explore the soil and to mine, if you will, for nutrients outside of that immediate crown zone near the vine. Because eventually that will be depleted, your vines are going to keep growing and searching for these nutrients. So by doing a broadcast application, you create a soil that not only is more amendable, for roots to grow in, because acid soils are actually toxic to root tips that you get a high amount of available aluminum at 4.5 ph. And that will stop a root tip from growing. So if you want your roots to grow and expand, you don't want any chemical barriers, you don't want any physical barriers like compaction, you put something like that out before planting. So in Georgia where I work, very acidic soils, we will put out something around six tons per acre of the dolomitic lime before we plant some of the sites and then within two years, we're coming back with as much as two times per acre, because we're trying to to over time, bring that soil into maybe a 6.0 or 6.5 pH so that nutrients are just more available, so that we don't have to fertilize as much we don't have to put inputs into the soil. Right? We don't want to do that we don't have to cost money, and it could have environmental impacts.   Craig Macmillan  16:12  While we're still on this, this area, you got pre planned, are you recommending that we shank materials in? Or are we incorporated in a disking pass? And then over time that moves down in? And then also, if I've got an established vineyard to incorporate these materials? Or to get these materials there? I mean, do I need to do a cultivation pass and then do a broadcast and then cultivate again to stir it in?   Fritz Westover  16:39  Yeah, so these are all different methods that are used Craig and any grower out there who's developing a vineyard site in the near future or has done it recently, you'll hear conflicting opinions on the best way to do it. But what I like to do is break it down to how did the nutrients move in the soil environment? And how do I put them by the root where they're needed, and make sure they're not going to get washed away right away? So yes, if I'm starting a new site, we're going to look at the soil, we're going to determine what our amendments are going to be, let's say that the vineyard soil is low in phosphorus and need some line that to change the pH but also to increase calcium. And let's say it's a little bit low on potassium as well. Okay. So in that instance, if you just stir the soil up and put the lime in and fix the pH, that would be wonderful, because you've already made nutrient availability, so much better for that for the uptake of that plant root system. So that's good. That's the first step. But if then you go in and plant the vines, and you say, well, we needed phosphorus and potassium. And I know that new plants need nitrogen, so I'm going to take like a triple 10, or a triple 13, that's nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium at 10 to 13%. And I'm just gonna sprinkle three ounces around the vine. Well, how did those nutrients move down into the soil? Well, the first time it rains, or you irrigate, and it touches those granules, the first thing that moves down quickly through the soil, what we call the mass flow is the nitrogen. And so that's going to be immediately available. So the vines is gonna pick up nitrogen, it's gonna say, let's go, let's grow. The next level of infiltration would be the potassium, we know that potassium is somewhat moderately mobile in the mass flow, but it doesn't move as fast as the nitrogen. So with enough rainfall and frequent rainfall or irrigation, it could move down gradually and get to the root system, that phosphorus on the other hand, it's just going to sit there on the surface like a rock. And it might take years for it really to move effectively. And so if you know your, your soil needs something like phosphorus, and potassium, you might add the phosphorus, whatever form phosphorus, you're using rock phosphate, if you're organic, or PTO five or some, put that on the on the surface, and you amend it with the lime to get it down deep to where the roots are going to be planted to. So maybe it's 15 inches, for an example 30 centimeters, that's all they're ready for the roots. And then later, you can come in and topdress something like potassium, for your final cultivation, just to work it into the topsoil. So it's, it's at a better stage, and I'm giving you an ideal scenario, obviously. And then the nitrogen, you could go ahead and top dress later, or put your drip system or let the rain work it in right before the rain like we talked about with that nitrogen. And that way you're getting things right at the root where it's needed. And you're not doing it in phases where it gets nitrogen grows a lot and then doesn't have enough other stuff like potassium, magnesium or micronutrients to keep up with that growth. And that's where you see these deficiencies starting to set in.   Craig Macmillan  19:26  Actually, that's a great kind of transition. You know, we talked about VSP and I think we do a lot of folks relies primarily upon visual and it's not simply the, you know, the tiger stripes in the leaf and that kind of a thing or the yellowing, but they're looking at how the crop set they're looking at when the sheets tipped start to quit. Because yeah, that's driven by water, but it's driven by by other resources to that kind of thing. Yeah. What can I do to quantify that? And how can I be kind of forward looking? I mean, you talked about removal. is a materials with harvest? So I know I'm I want to order some stuff, you know, but it's a long term kind of project.   Fritz Westover  20:07  Yeah, it is. It is.   Craig Macmillan  20:08  I mean, you walk vineyards with people, obviously. But then also you mentioned you see all these reports of it? What kinds of reports? Do you want to see what time of year? How do you put all that together?   Fritz Westover  20:19  Right. The visual is really important. And the only risky run there is some of these nutrients don't show visually until it's too late. A lot of our micronutrients are really important, as you know, Craig, for fruit set, and pollination, and fertilization rather, boron, zinc, molendinum, copper, all these things. So if you do your plant tissue test at bloom, which is the first time you would do it during the season, it you're already in bloom. So you're late to add that micronutrient, right. So then some growers will say, Well, I'm just going to put up this prophylactic kind of micronutrients, spray two or three weeks before bloom just to make sure they have what they need. And you can do that. But do you really need to. So I really rely on taking the bloom sample, because it is kind of like your progress report. It tells you, you know, how you're doing for the season. And you know, are you destined for an A plus a B minus by the time you get to the end of the season, because you still have a chance to get things in gear and improve your grade, right. So that bloom time sample of what I do is whole leaf sample with blade and petiole attached, some people just do petioles, separate the petiole and the blade, I've had very good success and consistent results with blade and petiole attached. I also, when I have an issue where there's, you know, maybe we're doing intensive fertilization, or I've got a deficiency, I might sometimes separate the petiole from the whole leaf. And that way, I can look at both reports and have two numbers to kind of look at instead of one. But the ranges are different for a blade versus petioles. So you definitely want to look at those. And I tell my growers to just go to my website, and you can download the, the standards there and look at them, because you don't need a consultant to just see what's out of balance, you can look at a table, I do that at bloom, and that gives me the report card. But the second time I do it is that version. And that's your report card for the season, so to speak. So by the time you get to version, you're at entering your maximum stress time, if you take the plant tissue sample too far after version, a lot of the nutrients have moved into the fruit. And the tissue sometimes is already suffering from the seasonal wear and tear. So it can give you these false ideas that you're really low and then you put out too much fertilizer. At bloom, we take a leaf next to a inflorescence or flower, because that is a representative leaf. And then at version, we go about seven leaves down from a shoot tip that has not been hedged or altered. And that is what's considered a representative leaf at that stage of growth. And that's the report card. Now the report card is really important. And I tell my growers if you can only afford or have time to do one sample, do the one version and get the final report card because that's the one that we then use for the next season to say okay, boron was a little low zinc was a little low. So we're going to find some boron and zinc to put into the system either through the drip or through a foliar spray before bloom, to make sure that we don't have issues with fruit set. So that's how we use that if we wait for bloom, it's a little late to make the change. So getting those two phases is really key for me. And then of course, like you said, being in the vineyard observing growth, looking for signs of deficiency, some things do show, you can clearly see nitrogen as pale leaves. Boron is actually important for nitrogen assimilation. So you could have what you think is adequate boron or nitrogen in your program. But if boron is missing, you might not get the assimilation and the you know, the proper use of the boron, or the nitrogen rather within the vines. So there's, you know, things to look for, to give you clues as well. So when I see something visual, sometimes magnesium deficiency can look a lot like potassium deficiency, it's on the order of interveinal, the potassium tends to be more beginning around the margin or outside edge of the leaf. So I always tell my growers, let's send in a sample, it's like 20 bucks, right? Let's just verify it with a lab report before we put the wrong thing down and make the problem way worse, right.   Craig Macmillan  24:10  When we're doing this, what are some of the most difficult decisions, some of the biggest obstacles to being successful here? And I'm talking about everything in terms of like you're getting good information, getting picking the right to formulations or the right products, the right individual minerals, and then getting into the plan. Are there regional differences that you've seen? Or are there kind of obstacles that everybody kind of faces?   Fritz Westover  24:37  There's definitely regional issues. You know, I can say that across the board. And this state over here, like I'll say, Georgia, we see magnesium and boron and nitrogen are our three biggest deficiencies consistently in those soils. You go to California, and certain areas where I work there we'd see it's either nitrogen or potassium that are low and sometimes zinc. And then if I go to the high planes in Texas, it's usually nitrogen and zinc, are my lowest. And sometimes, and then I go to the hill country of Texas, where it's cacareous soil. And we see that iron deficiency becomes an issue because it's just that high pH really ties it up, growers will sometimes put a lot of zinc down in the soil, but then we have to be mindful of the competition of certain nutrients with each other, because too much zinc can compete with phosphorus for uptake and vice versa. And then, as I mentioned already before, the pH of the soil varies greatly from one region to the next. And that's why getting the amendments and getting the soil in a pH that's, you know, ideally at that 6.5, for greens, right? That's kind of like, you know, you're good. From seven,   Craig Macmillan  25:40  Have you ever receive a site that was like, exactly 6.5.   Fritz Westover  25:45  I have I have because I've looked at it for their soil reports, I've seen a few but no, usually we're saying we need to add a little or, you know, seven is fine, we can deal with it, we'll put a different rootstock that's better under you know, calcareous soil. You know, I didn't mention that and really emphasize that enough, I talked about plant tissue sampling, and visual evaluation, I don't do soil sampling annually with most of my vineyards, because their soils just aren't changing that much, unless they're really doing heavy amendments of something that that sea change, they're trying to go for it. So we'll do this about once every three years, and just compare them. And so I think the most important thing any grower can do, and this is how I work with it with kind of my long term growers I've been with for 10 years, you know, we have a soil sample every three years. So we can compare what the trend is, over those years, if we see potassium is going down. Well, we know that's one of the greatest Nutrients taken out of the system of the soil with fruit that's much higher than nitrogen much, much, much higher than magnesium or phosphorus. So you're literally mining your soil for potassium, well, I have sites where we have high potassium, and we're trying to get more magnesium in there. So I almost never put potassium back in the soil, I'm happily mining it out of the soil. And that's going to be totally different than maybe a vineyard in California where potassium availability is just not as good or as high. We're kind of looking at it that way. And same thing with plant tissue test, you can really see sometimes more volatile fluctuation in plant tissue tests from year to year. And that's where you have to start asking the question, okay, how much rainfall did we have? Was there good soil moisture, I've run into problems where irrigated vineyards, we hit a drought, and you have normally rained during the season, like let's say, in West Texas, or parts of Arizona, where I work, there's rainfall during the monsoon season. So you go into the winter with a soil profile that's nice and full. And then in the spring, you come out and you really have full access to the whole mineral nutrient profile of the soil and the roots grow throughout the whole soil, then all of a sudden, you have a drought for year two. And this has happened in my West Texas growers, areas where those roots that are in the row, middle, all of a sudden are not able to pull up anything from the soil. So they're shrinking. And as they shrink, they pull away from the soil as a strategy to minimize water loss. And so you're not getting the nutrients that are available out there. So we have to consider that and sometimes increase our fertilizer levels based on the fact that we're losing access to the soil nutrients. And the best way to do that is to take the plant tissue test, and find out if that's really happening, but the plant tissue test can fluctuate. And I guess my point is understanding how the environmental conditions right in and around are leading up to that plant tissue test. really affected nutrient content is important. So we don't have that. Like I'll say it again, that knee jerk reaction like oh my gosh, nitrogen is low, let's put 50 pounds per acre out which is you know, ridiculously high. Yeah, maybe just needs to rain or you need to irrigate more, and that will fix the problem.   Craig Macmillan  28:41  Yeah, what is one thing, the one thing that you would tell growers on this topic, one piece of advice or insight or anything.   Fritz Westover  28:50  In addition to doing your soil sampling every few years, and your plant tissue tissue every year at bloom at veraison and some growers may even do it more often or some growers may prefer to do SAP analysis on a more frequent basis. That's all good and well. Just do it at your regular intervals, and get your long term data so you can see trends and changes. Then take some time to really understand number one, as we mentioned before, with the demand of the plant for each nutrient, okay, when is nitrogen, potassium versus magnesium or other micronutrients? When are they most essential for uptake into the vine? And how could you put them into the ground or into the system or onto the foliage in a method that is going to get that nutrient to the vine in time for its high demand, you need to know that vine needs it, because if it doesn't need it, you don't need to put it in there. And then finally understand how the nutrients move within the soil. That was the other thing we covered. So I had a great podcast on the vineyard underground with Paul Crout who works in the Central Coast a good friend of mine, he's worked with video team to Episode 16 We did a deep dive into Vine nutrition and availability in different forms of nitrogen and how some are immediately available and some are more slow release available. So I won't get into all that now. But understanding the availability of that fertilizer formulation that you're using is really critical. Because that's going to tell you not not only when you're going to apply it, how far ahead of the demand for the vine, but what method you're going to use to apply it. Will it be better off put into drip, apply to the soil? Or maybe as a foliar application.   Craig Macmillan  30:25  Where can people find out more about you?   Fritz Westover  30:27  Ok me? Oh, thanks, Craig.   Craig Macmillan  30:29  Oh, little Oh, me. Oh, me.   Fritz Westover  30:31  Well, you can find me chatting like I am with you on the Vineyard Underground podcast, the Or just look for that, wherever you stream podcast on Spotify or for Apple podcast, or if you would like to download some of the past presentations I've done on nutrition management, or the charts to determine the critical levels for nutrients have many of those that are free and available to the public go to The academy is where I teach grape growing and have a membership in there where I advise growers on a week to week basis.   Craig Macmillan  31:05  That's awesome. Our guest today has been Fritz Westover. He is a viticulturist. He's the host of the vineyard underground podcast. He's also the founder of a really great resource. You definitely need to know about this. If you're a grower, and that's the Virtual Viticulture Academy. He's not kidding, a lot of resources there and really good quality resources as well. So thanks for being on the podcast.   Fritz Westover  31:27  Hey, thanks, Craig. You guys are an amazing resource to the industry to and you have tons of free and available information. Keep doing the great things that you're doing. I'm a listener, so I'm a fan. It's really privileged to be on here my friend.   Nearly perfect transcription by
35:37 1/4/24
210: (Rebroadcast) Does Social Media Impact Wine Sales? | Marketing Tip Monday
Thach and Lease asked the managers of 375 United States wineries, "How much impact do you believe your social media efforts have on wine sales?"  87% of respondents said they believe that their social media presence increases sales.  Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. Today we are asking the question, Does social media impact wine sales? Social media has changed the way consumers and businesses interact. It not only provides convenient two-way communication between consumers and the products and services they support, but it has opened the door for consumers to participate in the marketing and messaging of brands by creating their own content about the products they love and sharing it with their friends, family, and communities. A 2018 study looking at the social media adoption and activities of 1173 wineries in Germany, the USA, New Zealand and Australia, suggests that "wineries need to develop a clear purpose for using social media and then adapt to the needs of the consumers in their respective markets." To do so, it is important to understand how consumers interact with wine brands on social media and what kind of content they are looking for. Provide Value by Offering Guidance Wine is complex. Many consumers who are new to drinking wine don't know what they're looking for, and could easily find themselves overwhelmed and intimated by the numerous varieties, tasting notes, and wine brands on the market. Creating educational and informative wine content can help to create trust between consumers and your brand. Here are a few ideas to get you started: How to choose your next bottle by working with existing preferences How to pair wine with a meal to plan a special dinner How to line up an at-home tasting ·         Bonus tip: Ask your followers what they want to learn more about! When you deliver on their requests, they'll continue to look out for your valuable posts. Interact With Consumers Word of mouth is one of the most common ways we hear about new brands and products to try. We are social creatures and feel more secure taking a chance on a product that has been vetted by a friend or colleague. How often have you seen your friends and family post a picture of a meal at their favorite restaurant, a picnic spread with a bottle of wine set up in the yard, or simply posing with a new item they fell in love with? Next time you see one of these, check the caption - a lot of people will tag the brands and companies included in their photos! If you receive a notification that your brand has been tagged in someone's content, take the opportunity to make a connection with a loyal customer by leaving a response in the comments. Social media offers a low-cost way for you to build relationships with consumers and your brand community, and being a brand that engages with its customers sets you up to receive continued support. There is an easy way to catch up on posts you're tagged in on Instagram that you may have missed! Go to your profile, and above the grid displaying your posts to the far right is an icon you can tap on to see posts from other users that you've been tagged in. Check it out, and get to interacting! Collaborate with an Influencer Social media "lifestyle influencers" are people who use their social media channels to promote products and services of companies whose products are used by everyday people in their daily lives. They connect their niche audiences to brands that share common values and interests - a phenomenon that is changing the way consumers find and connect with brands. Specifically, "wine influencers" are often educated and even certified in wine education. Teaming up with a social media influencer is a fun way to reach groups of people who may be unaware of your brand. Collaboration with a wine influencer is a way to ensure that your brand is being shared with consumers who are passionate about wine and wine culture. Psst ... we are helping spread the word about sustainability and our members' brands! Keep an eye out for the next Marketing Tip, where we will show our recent social media influencer collaborations that have helped spread the news about our members' good work protecting the people and the planet. Tag us, and use the SIP Certified GIPHYs! If you are SIP Certified, we love seeing and sharing your content! Tag us @SIPCertified in your upcoming Instagram and Facebook posts. And make sure you use our GIPHYs on your next Instagram story or Snapchat content. Just search for "SIP Certified" in the stickers, or check out the link to this article to save the files so you can use them in your emails or on your website. Check out the show notes for links to this article, another post filled with the latest social media tips to grow your following, and to sign up for our biweekly Marketing Tips newsletter. Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. References: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Does social media impact wine sales? Marketing Tips eNewsletter SIP Smart Training online course Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
05:40 12/25/23
209: Science-based Decisions for Climate Action in Vineyards
The phrases climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon sequestration are common place in wine production. But what can you do make a science-based, and achievable impact? Brianna Beighle, Assistant Winemaker at Patz & Hall Wine Company explains scope one, two, and three emissions as they apply to the wine industry. Viticulturalists and winemakers can look at easy to measure practices like diesel fuel use, Nitrogen application timing, and light weight glass bottles to reduce their footprint. She explains that even small shifts in management can have a big impact.  Resources: 67: Impacts of Climate Change on Wine Production 91: Carbon Sequestration 122: Preserving Agriculture Land to Combat Climate Change 125: Using Grape Grower Demographics to Influence Climate Change Adaptation 167: Use Biochar to Combat Climate Change 171: How to Farm Wine Grapes for Climate Change 2020 HiRes Vineyard Nutrition Research Update Bottled Up: Unpacking the Facts about Wine Bottles and Climate Change Brianna Beighle’s LinkedIn Christina Lazcano, University of California, Davis International Wineries for Climate Action (IWAC) Shaky Ground: A company called Indigo is paying farmers to trap carbon in their soils. Some researchers say the climate benefits are dubious Soil organic carbon sequestration rates in vineyard agroecosystems under different soil management practices: A meta-analysis Vineyard nutrient management in Washington State Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  And our guest today is Brianna Beighle. She is assistant winemaker at Patz & Hall Wine Company. And she's an MBA student in the half school, the UC Berkeley, and she focuses on sustainability. And she's been working on some pretty interesting things around science based decision making and climate change. Welcome to the podcast, Brianna.   Brianna Beighle  0:18  Thank you. I'm so excited to be here in chat with you, Craig.   Craig Macmillan  0:20  I am too. You've been doing quite a bit of thinking. And also communicating on the role of what we would call science based decision making regarding companies or firms, sometimes I call them and things like climate change, climate change. In particular, this requires us to draw some boxes conceptually, maybe from even a systems thinking approach. If you if you subscribe to that kind of an idea where in order to get a handle on talking about something, we're probably need to kind of define it. And sometimes it's just a question of where do you draw the lines around? What in what? So in the realm of business and climate change industries and climate change? There are some boxes have already been defined, that have been found to be useful. But they also have some limitations? What would some of those be in your mind is a good starting points?   Brianna Beighle  1:05  Oh, goodness, I guess I'll just go first to where you're talking about some things that have already been established. And I'm just going to say, the first ones that everyone has out there is that the scope one, scope two and scope, three emissions. So those have been established to kind of bucket as you're saying where specific emissions come from. And scope one emissions for I'm sure most of you are familiar, are ones that are directly associated with company facilities, company vehicles. Scope two emissions are ones that are generated from electricity production for the facility. So that's heating, that's cooling, you may not be generating that electricity on site in some cases, but you're still claiming it because you're using the lab that electricity on site. And scope three is, as Craig, you know, it's kind of the catch all for everything else.   Craig Macmillan  1:58  Exactly.   Brianna Beighle  1:59  I would say that it's useful in some respect, where it taught us how to think about emissions and to pinpoint fossil fuels are where a lot of our emissions come from as a society on this planet. But I think that scope three is too general, where it lumps all these things together. And it makes us not claim anything as our own, which kind of inhibits us, as we say, What can I do to move forward?   Craig Macmillan  2:23  Exactly. That's a really good point, in particular relate to the wind industry, would you consider for wineries Would you consider CO2 emissions from fermentation is scope one emissions?   Brianna Beighle  2:34  I would I think I'd like to introduce another topic here. And that's modern carbon versus versus fossil carbon. And so what what that saying here is, fossil carbon is everything that we are drawing out from the earth, it's very deep in the ground, and we're excavating it out, and it's been there for years. And so again, that's fossil fuels really easy. And then we go to other types of carbon, which would be for what we've got with fermentation, in which case, that's carbon that's already naturally generated and already within the realm of the atmosphere. So maybe this, that was a silly way to explain it, but here, I'm gonna break it down. So what it is, is our plants are taking in carbon our vines are taking in carbon from the air, and then they're incorporating it into the trunk into the leaves and into the fruit. So that carbon was already in the atmosphere, whether I put it in a ferment and make it co2 And alcohol, or whether I dropped that fruit on the ground, it's just going to cycle back in to the atmosphere. So it's a cyclical process. So that's something that the earth is naturally balanced to. The carbon matters in my mind is the carbon that's not constantly cycling, and is not part of a natural process. And that's, again, the fossil carbons that were stored, and we're pulling out and we're admitting,   Craig Macmillan  3:47  That makes a lot of sense. So there we are talking about boxes again, right? So I can say, hey, yeah, there's CO2 being released by my Fermat. Or there's some kind of a nitrous oxide or some other kind of a nitrogen based compound being released by sheep that are grazing my vineyard or by leguminous plants that are breaking down or whatever it might be. And there's those are naturally happening things is they're they're already in the environment, they're not being mined. How do I get a handle on what different processes are contributing how much they're contributing to greenhouse gas emission releases for things like my power usage, my scope two or my tractors or my farm trucks or whatever it might be? If I want to make decisions about reducing my outputs? How do I get a handle on that?   Brianna Beighle  4:40  I'd say an ag, it's somewhat complex to get a handle on where our emissions come from and how we reduce them because it's all bound up in natural processes. Like you said, Yes, we're, we understand when we burn diesel for our tractors, what nitrous oxide we produce from that because that's an equation that we know we know how that diesel gets converted, where it becomes really difficult. And what you're trying to get at here seems like is that our biggest emitter, specifically in the vineyard is coming from the soil, and it is coming from the microbes in the soil. And it depends on what type of nitrogen you have available. It depends on how much water you have in the soil. There are so many things that are tied into that, that means that I can't say like, Hey, you apply this much nitrogen, it's going to turn into this much nitrous oxide. It doesn't it doesn't work like that, especially and I'd say it gets hard to in grapes. Because the nitrogen that's available to grapes, that's so we've got we've got our two forms of nitrogen that we apply. And that's we usually apply nitrate, there's also ammonia that can be applied to the soils. But in grapes that's considered toxic. And we're unlucky in the fact that all the ag products that are out there commercially, to kind of help reduce your nitrous your nitrogen emissions, your nitrous oxide emissions are because they convert the nitrous oxide and they hold it as ammonia, which we don't want for our soils. So we can't use that in grapes. So I guess I kind of just like spun around in a bit to say, yes, the nitrogen cycle is all cyclical, we have to think about it sure our tractors, that one's easy for us to think about, we need to think about it in our cover crop, because all the length, legumes we put out like those have nitrogen, and those get converted by microbes. And those get released, like that's still a source of emissions, we need to think about it. You mentioned rumens, I mentioned that and talked on that really quick. But yeah, our rumens our sheep or cows, they're all belching methane. That's what they do. And they have a lot of benefits to us from a sustainability perspective, from from a soil health perspective. And we need to count those benefits. But we also need to put them in the context of like they have emissions too.   Craig Macmillan  6:40  Because even though we're talking about it, here's where things get fun. So even though we're talking about things that were already in the environment, right, they're above the surface of the Earth, they're in the soil during this throw in the air, that animal, or microbial process, whatever it is, is converting it into a form that has a very significant greenhouse gas emission effect. So methane, for instance, is the big one was one of the big ones. So it wasn't methane before, but it's methane now.   Brianna Beighle  7:09  Yeah, methane being 25 times more insular in terms of its climate impacts. And then we also have the benefit where methane converts to CO2. So that's why we extra don't want to make it if you're gonna make one or the other. So that kind of comes down again, me branching off to why composting is important. Rather than landfills, it's like, Sure, it turns into CO2 when it goes into the atmosphere and composting, but that's better than going methane in the landfill and then going to CO2.   Craig Macmillan  7:34  How do I get a handle on this? How do I I'm a manager, I've been with the forces, the powers that be have said, okay, look, we need to take a look at our carbon footprint or greenhouse gas issues. Go tell me what we've been doing and then make some recommendations for how we change it. How do I Where do I get data? I'm How do I go about this?   Brianna Beighle  7:53  I think to start off with it's kind of just getting familiar with folks in the industry who have already benchmarked because it's really, it's expensive to create a lifecycle assessment. And I'd say that that's kind of a career that's just starting up. For example, we have the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, they put together a study in which they looked at all the emissions throughout the entire throughout the entire wind cycle that goes from vineyard that even includes which I'm really happy about that they included some scope threes, we'll put that in quotes of inputs that we get, and all the way to packaging and winery and transport. So I think going there and just everyone in the wine industry, understanding where our emissions come from, because I think they break it down in a really pretty package. Again, though, everybody has their own emissions, we all have our own individual choices that we make, that does deviate from that, for example, I know Tablas Creek, kind of down closer to your area, they've done their own assessment of their greenhouse gases, which is like, amazing. We need folks like that, who can show each of us how to think about it. So look at those of us who have already done these assessments, and use them as a market and go to their talks, like hear what they say is hard, because that's going to be hard for you too. And I see from this soil perspective, it's kind of it's impossible to really calculate out. I know, we can try and work on it. But someone will say, I don't know. We're not going to know we just reduce our nitrogen applications and be conscious that vineyards sequester carbon, yes, they do. But we also create greenhouse gases, like we said, in the form of nitrous oxides. As long as we have a holistic perspective, we can understand what our real contribution is. And that's important because if we want to make progress for our industry, and we want to try and ride the storm that's already started that's already coming towards us. We each need to own our part and and take the steps that we can to to help create be part of the solution, especially since in agriculture and food production. Were the kind of the first to be hit by it.   Craig Macmillan  9:51  Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I am familiar with the Tablas Creek project study that's being done by Charlotte DeCock Cal Poly SLO, San Luis Obispo, and Christina Lazcano at UC Davis, and it's really intense. I'm really looking forward to where they come out at the end of this project and what they find out. But they're looking at exactly the things you've been talking about, obviously, and Tablas has been making its own decisions based on that. But I think you have an excellent point that the best that we can do, probably from a practical standpoint, is we can do a little bit of our own work in terms of maybe experimentation or measurement or something like that. But collectively, if we can share what we find out, you know, that's better than nothing. You know, I get this comment all the time when I present research company research that I've done, or things that I've worked on, and it's like, well, yeah, but that's Spain, you know, or that's not Cabernet Sauvignon, or whatever. And it's like, well, this is as close as we can get right now. So yeah, I agree with you, I would love to have it be that specific. But why don't we can we at least start here, whatever we do have, and then we can improve upon as we go along? And of course, the systems are very complex. So it's always kind of a question mark, if I am a manager, and I'm now thinking about this, where do I start? We've talked about where I might find some data. But if I was going to start a project on this, where might I start? How might I prioritize my investigation into carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions?   Brianna Beighle  11:20  I'm gonna say, let's start with a low hanging fruit. If we're if we're just getting into it, that would be again, I don't like to use go one adn two emissions. But those are easily calculated, will we know where energy sources are coming from, we know how much fuel we use, we get bills for those things. We know that's quantified already for us. So looking at that, and looking at what we can do to reduce that whether that's we're really lucky in California, where we have recent we have a lot of access to renewable energy, whether that's changing up our purchasing, so that we purchased 100%, renewable, I know some places that's not possible. us in the north coast, we're really lucky that that is possible in a lot of places, looking at those bills, trying to switch over to renewable when we can, investigating whether solar makes sense on site solar for our own energy generation, because there's yes, there's facility wide solar, there's also, you know, I know that there are grants out there currently for getting solar for pumps, for irrigation, like things like that, it doesn't have to be giant or nothing like little steps do count, especially since the price tags on some of the solar projects can be pretty large. So and then also, the easy, big bad guy, which is adjusting down the weight of our glass glass is 29% of the production of wine and the sale of wine. And so that's one that's easy, a lot of it, let's just say it's attitude, it's sometimes form over function. And I think that especially since consumers are starting to demand more climate conscious products, if they find out how big our glass footprint is just for ego, I don't think they're going to be happy. So I think that's something that we can easily do that will not sacrifice the product.   Craig Macmillan  13:01  So this is a big conversation. Two things. Number one, I believe that the marketing research has been done has demonstrated, at least within the last five years pretty, pretty conclusively that folks are willing to pay more for a heavier bottle of wine, they recognize, oh, this is important. It's good enough, even if they think or they know that it's the same product. At the same time I face this regularly, where I people get my face, you know, they say, you know, this is a heavy bottle. I don't like it. Why do wineries not just just the whole span at Why do wineries do this and not do bag in a box? Or why don't they do lighter glass or whatever. And it's, it's it's a difficult conversation in terms of like weighing what is going to work for you as a company in terms of like, what your packaging is going to look like I and I agree with you. And I think this is an important one low hanging fruit, we know that that's the biggest contributor is the is the packaging. So focusing on that's a good idea. Now, how do I get accurate information, good quality information about the carbon footprint of the glass that I buy. And I say this because in my own work, I found that I could make something in France in a super ultra modern state of the art factory with the lowest emissions per metric ton and I could ship it halfway across the world on a boat and it would have lower emissions than something that was made in Mexico and then trucked to Fairfield for those of you who are not familiar with California, the Benicia, Fairfield etc in the Bay Area are big suppliers for wine, all kinds of wine stuff, including glass and then chuck it back down to me at nobody was really given me this information. I was you know, I was looking at it and I'm having to guess what advice do you have on these things? Because because it's easy to say you know, lighter glass in the story, but it's lighter glass, it's got to be made on the moon and then you know, flown in a spaceship you know, might not work out like we think.   Brianna Beighle  15:00  Exactly. And again, like, that's when the we'll just say like the academic and conceptual realm meets the reality of a real business. That's actually a big part of how we can all work towards creating solutions. And it's one of the things it's going to be really hard about this is communication between suppliers and service providers. Like we said, scope three, that we mentioned, that I think is a little bit of a bag of everything. In order to break that down and understand where emissions come from our suppliers, we need to have open communication lines, and we need to, we need them to be open. But we also need to incentivize them to be open with us too. And to maybe adjust things to fit what we see the market is. And I'm not saying that's easy, you're probably more more apt to handle that with your psychology background than I am, Craig. But it's not easy. And again, the numbers say lighter glass. But in reality, that means working with our partners having accessibility to lighter glass, where the energy comes from for that glass, because we know a lot of the glass is made in other places that don't have as clean of energy sources, I hate to say like, I don't know, the perfect solution to that. And it all just comes down to people. And all of us being open with each other and passing, I'm gonna say passing the buck, but in a good way. Like we know, as wineries, our consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. And so we need to take some of those gains that we have, and transition that money on to our suppliers for supplying us with more sustainable products, because it's more expensive on their end, to pay for renewable energy, it's more expensive for us and for our suppliers. So we can't just say we want this other product make it the same price, like we have to be putting voting with our dollar and showing that we care about the relationship at the same time.   Craig Macmillan  16:41  What has traditionally been kind of and this is true for for a lot of stuff, not just wine or glass. You know, you have a manufacturer, they say, Hey, this is what we think you want. And this was what makes us different than our other competitors. What do you think, by it, here's why it's good. We haven't had as much of the other direction where we go to a supplier and say, hey, look, this is what I need. I need this, I need this, I need this. This is what I'm looking for. And a lot of times we do that, when we're talking about specifics in terms of like, I need a certain kind of mold, I need a certain kind of, you know, look, or I need certain kind of price. But we go back and say hey, we also need some assurances about, you know, what the carbon footprint of this is? Can you tell me where it came from? Can you tell me how it was made? You know, can you give me something so they can make some comparisons? I think is really is a really good point. on your part. We just talked about glass wood, what's maybe the number two area you think that people could put some energy into, pardon the pun,   Brianna Beighle  17:37  Put some renewable energy into it.   Craig Macmillan  17:40  Out some renewable energy Exactly. Yeah.   Brianna Beighle  17:43  It would also be like we talked about kind of reducing your site energy and making that more renewable. That'd be the next again, low hanging fruit. But there's also a lot of other things that we can try and incorporate that are a little bit easier. I've got like this like flow of of some aspects in my head that we can all do. And again, some of these are kind of conflicting hard and easy, like another one is leaving as much green as you can on your properties. If you're if you're a vineyard owner, or if you're a winery, because any biomass that you have out there, there's growth as much well, depending on the plant, there's growth in the ground, just like there is up top, and that growth eventually will be incorporated into the soil. I'm not saying that that's their solution for everything. Like we have to do more than plant trees, because we've torn down trees, and we pulled from the ground. But that's one thing that we can all do. But again, that's kind of conflicting for folks who till everything, like that's a hard change for them. For those of us that are already into thinking about cover cropping and you have your sheep, that's easy. So that's something that's a hard and easy. Another one is how we think about, like we said, our nitrogen use, that's again, that's it 17% of the emissions for is from the vineyard. And again, that's a supplier and buyer issue, depending on your your company structure as well, if you're in the vineyard, or if you're in the winery and you're buying fruit, it's a conversation about about nitrogen use. And I will say from a from a crop standpoint, we're actually very good compared to other crops. Most everybody does. Bloom petiole samples, verasion petiole samples, and we use that to guide our applications. At the same time, there's still new products out there that could really help us to narrow this down. Because even though I know some of you do your samples, I know you also just add some canned 17 or cn nine to the amount that you think feels right.   Craig Macmillan  19:37  It's true. I mean, there is a gut feeling thing that's also involved, you know, I mean, you're you're right, we are very lucky that grape vines are not super nitrogen hungry, like other crops, which gives us the opportunity to have that as a lower risk, but still an important one.   Brianna Beighle  19:55  To branch off of that too. We also do a good job in the fact that we apply our nitrogen at different points. So the we're not doing one big shot. So if you are someone who does like one big shot and I turn, you get your big fat fertigation, I would suggest evening those out because you are giving a lot at one time for the microbes to break down and your plant isn't going to be able to pick it up in a good rate. So if you space it out, what you do is it takes the microbes a second to like get themselves going, and it takes your vine a second to get going. So like, let them do that in balance. And also, if you kind of break things up, then you don't get as much soil saturation. And that's when our nitrous oxide microbes really forced. So I'd also like to point out too, that Davis is developing a remote multi spectral sensing tool, which I believe right now is targeted more towards table grapes. I don't know if they've really branched out and that's to check the nitrogen status of our field to see where we can make those applications. And I know that there's also kind of remote sensing going in sprayers too. So this is me just like imagining something in the future where we've got our spectral and it says like, right now what we apply our nitrogen via one irrigation line, I'm not saying put polyline out everywhere, and we've got 20 Polly's just to get nitrogen out. But like, we can do foliar applications of things based on that with the sprayers that are calibrated in to be spatially recognized. Like, I'm not the trickiest of people. But like that does give me jazz a little bit. And it's not going to be the solution for everybody. But it's going to be a solution for some and that matters.   Craig Macmillan  21:24  Yeah, resolution, and targeted. Where do I go to get the science I need to make intelligent science based decisions? We've been talking about things a little bit in the abstract. But let's say I'm really serious about a topic. So where did where do you go? What what do you think are sources that are useful? On any go on any topic, you could go any direction you want, we're gonna.   Brianna Beighle  21:47  I'm one of those I say proudly, one of those nerds who really like scientific papers. And I'd say right now one of my main sources is actually one of my professors who's at Haas, he, he lives here in Napa Valley, just like I do, his wife have their own property. So we kind of like geek out on really, he sends me a lot of papers. And I've actually recently found some of my own, so we exchanged those. So I'd say we're so lucky in this age that we live in where we have access to so much research at our fingertips. So I would implore everyone to just look for a qualified paper online. I know that's not everyone's bite sized little morsel that makes things easy, but that's what I do. For example, I'd really like to call out an article done by the Journal of cleaner production. So this article is called, it's a long one. So hold on, hold out with me, soil organic carbon sequestration rates in vineyard, agro ecosystems under different soil management practices, and the important part a meta analysis.   Craig Macmillan  22:51  Oh, my God, I am, my heart is pitter patter, like, I need I want that I need to read that. I'm not being silly. I mean, like, that's, I've been waiting for that. Right? You know, we were talking about what was only done in Italy, and there was only done a greener building, or it's like, Well, how about this, you know?   Brianna Beighle  23:07  Exactly. And that's, that's what makes it important is like, the fact that it takes all these locations and then distills down, like, what's location specific to what actually matters. So I'd really recommend everyone to read that paper. Outside of that, like I said, I've really just, I've just been googling, finding all that I can, there's so many resources out there that were unaware. I know that, for example, the IWCA has some resources out there.   Craig Macmillan  23:35  Who's the IWCA?   Brianna Beighle  23:36  International wineries, for climate action. Sorry to throw acronyms without defining them down?   Craig Macmillan  23:42  No, that's all right. That's one that a lot of us haven't heard.   Brianna Beighle  23:45  They are a collection of wineries that are coming together to try and create a membership tiers for kind of emissions. And based on the amount of onsite energy production that you have, I'd say I'm not the expert in these guys. I'm really actually not an expert in any of the certifications. I'll say that flat out, like we kind of talked about, I'm coming from the kind of science analytical side and these folks are too. So I say use them as a resource. But also take a grain of salt if you see a study that only mentions one property, and that property seems really out there. That's why things like this meta analysis are really are really important and, and look at kind of like the scientific, I like to use universities and research institutions. That's just me because I know that there is a peer reviewed process for their research. And so I have a lot of trust in those. So while a lot of these websites for sustainability certificates, have good references, they may have a lot of resources. I always go to the hard science, but again, that's just the way that my brain works. For those of you who might need bite size, I'd say I had to maybe maybe SIP, Sustainability in Practice.   Craig Macmillan  24:57  Thank you. Yeah, and I would like to kind of underline that there's, there's amazing amount of stuff that's out there. That's really good quality and is not necessarily expensive. There's ResearchGate, a lot of folks will put their work up on there some things on Science Direct or free, others are not.    Brianna Beighle  25:15  I think of that. So meta analysis, I believe that's on Science Direct. And   Craig Macmillan  25:19  Then something that I've learned again, because we kind of get I kind of opened my mind. This is a while back. But you know, farming in Texas might have more to do with forming California than one might think. And the research that somebody is doing in the Finger Lakes region may have more applications to your your vineyards in Italy than you might think. And so there's really great extension services around the United States that have enology and viticulture specialists. Now, there's nothing wrong with going outside your home area, as not just California, if you're working in New York, you can look all over the place. Those folks not only are they doing, I mean, they're doing the science, but they're also doing applied science. So they're looking at things that growers or, or winemakers are dealing with. But they're also part of their mission is to translate it to an audience that needs it. So you don't always have to find yourself in the weeds knee deep in technical jargon. But it is good to follow that stuff. The other thing I would encourage folks, if you're afraid of reading a scientific paper, which I hope that you're not, if there's a word that you don't know, just keep reading, that's how I learned how to do it. Just don't stop read, just keep going and then get to the end, or read the introduction and read the conclusion and then go from there.   Brianna Beighle  25:28  Even the nerd that I read the introduction in the conclusion, sometimes it might be cheating, but I think it puts you in the context to think about and think about it in the right way.   Craig Macmillan  26:36  Yeah, when I when I got my training that was we were taught to write that way. Write the introduction in the conclusion first, and then write the rest of whatever it is that you're working on. Seemed a little backward, but it was like no, this is this is what people are gonna read, first of all, and secondly, you need to know your starting you need to know where you're going. Most of these academics are trained to write like that. So you can get a lot of information without having to get too crazy. If there's one takeaway, if there's one thing, one piece of advice, or one resource or one idea, one thing that you would tell growers and winemakers and managers have all sorts around this topic of carbon footprint greenhouse gas emission reduction, what would it be?   Brianna Beighle  27:13  The one thing that I would say is we have all created climate change. We are all part of climate change, whether that's in our personal lives, whether that's in our business lives, that doesn't mean that we should run away with it with fear. That means we have the power to create progress, and we just need to make the decision to do it. So I will leave it on your hands to find the way that you can make an impact.   Craig Macmillan  27:41  That's fantastic. Thank you so much. Our guest today has been Brianna Biegley. She is assistant winemaker at Patz & Hall Wine Company and she's an MBA student in the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, working with a focus on sustainability. Thank you so much for being here.   Brianna Beighle  27:54  Thank you. This was wonderful.   Nearly Perfect Transcription by
31:09 12/21/23
208: 7 Ways to Share Your Sustainable Story | Marketing Tip Monday
Once we learned that storytelling helps customers understand your sustainable practices and can increase your sales, we’ve been dedicated to helping you: Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. Throughout 2023, we’ve helped you write your Sustainable Story, teach your team about it, and share tips on how to integrate your sustainable message into every level of your branding and marketing. As the year comes to an end, we’ve put all 7 tips together for you! Make sure you check out the show notes for this one. We have linked to each article so that you can dive into the details and keep sharing your good work in the market. 1. Does your staff know about sustainability? Did you know that of the 48% of employees in the food and beverage industry who receive regular training, only 4.5% receive training about their company’s mission and values? If you aren't regularly talking to your staff about your company's mission and values, you're missing out on opportunities to create a more informed and dedicated team! Click here to learn about the latest SIP Certified training tool to teach your staff how to talk about your dedication to sustainability. 2. Share your message of sustainability on your website. There are so many ways to share your message of sustainability through your website. Click here to get inspired by three SIP Certified members who dedicate an entire page on their website to their commitment sustainability, and three more who use their blog to sprinkle in their message of sustainability throughout the year. 3. Update your tasting room sign! Your tasting room guests can learn about your commitment to the 7 Values of SIP Certified while they sit and sip in your tasting room when they see the new SIP Certified tasting room sign. You can visit the Member Resources page to print yours today! 4. Use the power of visuals to tell your story. 97% of people start their search for a local business online. When someone looks up your business, what do they find? Are your images and videos up to date? Do you show what makes your brand special? Does your imagery convince searchers to visit you? If those questions gave you some uncertainty, it may be time to update your imagery! 5. Get sustainable on social media. Now that the previous tip inspired your new photography, use this one to create valuable and pause-worthy social media content! 6. 3 steps to create a sustainable QR Tour your guests will love. A Sustainable QR Tour is a unique, educational, self-guided way for your guests to learn about your brand’s sustainable practices. When you create your Sustainable QR Tour, you will: Showcase your sustainable attractions. Explain each attraction with a short video or quick written description. Bring your tour to life by posting your QR codes and making a map. By taking your Sustainable QR Tour, your visitors will: Learn about your brand’s values. See sustainability in action. Enjoy an activity as they taste your sustainable wines. Click here to learn the 3 steps to creating your very own. 7. The best newsletter you can send. Your wine club members are more than just wine enthusiasts – they’re YOUR WINE’S enthusiasts! They are invested in and have a personal connection with your brand. Click here to learn how to use your newsletter to invite your members to form an even deeper affinity with your brand. Your story can be featured in next year’s Sustainable Stories campaign! We are looking for a brand with an innovative approach to one of these three values.: Water Management Safe Pest Management Energy Efficiency If you have a great Sustainable Story, we will help you tell it. Reach out to me at with a few quick notes! We’ll get your story ready to be featured in our newsletter, podcast, online course, and social media, and in magazine articles and influencer campaigns. Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Marketing Tips eNewsletter SIP Smart Training online course Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic The Best Newsletter You Can Send What's your Sustainable Story? Whitney Brownie | Get YOUR Sustainable Story Featured Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
04:04 12/11/23
207: Managing Catastrophic Loss in Vineyards: Lessons from Cyclone Gabrielle in New Zealand
Extreme weather events can be devastating to a winegrowing region's infrastructure, business, and in the worst-case scenarios, human life. Emma Taylor, Viticulture Consultant with Emma Taylor Viti is part of New Zealand’s Cyclone Gabrielle recovery team, helping winegrape farmers in the Hawke’s Bay region. When the cyclone hit in February 2023 just before grape harvest, flood waters reached over the top of many vineyards destroying bridges, leaving behind massive silt deposits, uprooting entire plantings, and cutting off power for one week. Growers had to evaluate how to handle their losses based on total damage, potential fruit contamination, and vineyard lifespan. A vital component of the recovery effort is the knowledge and experience of viticulturists who farmed in the region during Cyclone Bola in 1988. Resources: 2: The Goldilocks Principle & Powdery Mildew Management 79: Grapevine Fungal Diseases 103: Environmental, Social, & Governance Initiative in Spain’s Priorat Region 117: Grapevine Mildew Control with UV Light Cyclone Gabrielle Relief Fund Downy Mildew (Plasmopara viticola) Emma Taylor on LinkedIn Hawke’s Bay Wine New Zealand How lessons learned from Cyclone Bola can help deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  And with us today is Emma Taylor. She is viticultural consultant with Emma Taylor Viti in New Zealand. And today we're going to be talking about the terrible impacts that cyclone Gabrielle had on the North Island of New Zealand. And thank you for being your guests taking time and sharing your story with us.   Emma Taylor  0:14  Nice to meet you and talk to you, Craig.   Craig Macmillan  0:16  First, I want to express my sympathies to everyone in the North Island in New Zealand overall for the loss of life and tremendous devastation of property. A lot of folks were unhoused injured as well as fatalities. And we're all very saddened by the event.   Emma Taylor  0:33  Thanks for that. It was it was quite biblical in nature, we call it you know, it was it was quite extreme.   Craig Macmillan  0:39  Yeah. It was quite extraordinary. Well, first of all, what was the cyclone? What was what was the story there.   Speaker 2  0:45  So it was an extratropical cyclone. That's common to New Zealand that we do get so tropical cyclones form up in the higher in the Pacific normally around the islands. By the time they get to New Zealand, they've normally decreased in intensity to the point that they are now regarded as extratropical cyclone. And that is the same with cyclone Gabrielle when the MetService started bringing up you know, they bring up these tropical cyclones in this hour, there's one to watch. And I remember when I first heard the announcement that tropical cyclone Gabriel was forming. And I remember the way that the MetService were talking about it. And I remember thinking this sounds like it could be a biggie you know, it's been a while but it's the way that they're talking about it. They're just preparing us in a slightly different way to the other extratropical cyclones. Cyclone Gabriel, it came on our horizon, you know, as one to watch maybe about a week to 10 days before it landed.   Craig Macmillan  1:39  Okay, so there was people were aware of something was coming.   Emma Taylor  1:43  Something was coming. Yeah.   Craig Macmillan  1:44  How close to harvest were vineyards when the cyclone hit. In   Emma Taylor  1:48  New Zealand in the last few years, we have been having our harvest seasons coming earlier in earlier that a climate change thing. Most likely they I used to say that harvest and Hawke's Bay started a little bit at the start of March, but you're really into it by the 20th of March. And by the 20th of April, you're over. And then you'd have a few rats and mice after then yeah, so that the 20th of March the 20th of April was hardest in the last few years. It's that chunk of time has been getting earlier and earlier to the point that in the 2022 Vintage everything was picked before we even got to April however, the 23 Vintage I remember commenting, maybe only a week before topical cyclone Gabrielle came that it looked like we're a bit more normal. And instead of a February start to have us I was hoping for a March start to harvest. However, you know, Gabrielle came on the 14th of February and we were harvesting nine days later.   Craig Macmillan  2:47  That's what I was gonna ask was how close to harvest were vineyards. When the cyclone hit? What are the varieties that are most common in that area?   Emma Taylor  2:54  The largest planted variety in Hawke's Bay is Sauvignon Blanc and Ginsburg however, that's because New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc right microclimates of Hawke's Bay and Brisbane and due to their warmer than what Marlboro is in both regions, there's a decent amount of Chardonnay, and Hawke's Bay, especially, we have some red variety. So we have Syrar and Merlot, Cabernet, that are grown, especially on the government gravels, which is a very stony appellation that we have here mainly Sauv Blanc, good amount of Chardonnay, and then the other little bits and pieces.   Craig Macmillan  3:27  Now, what I'm amazed by is that you mentioned you were harvesting nine days later. So there were vineyards in some of the harder hits areas that could still be harvested.   Emma Taylor  3:35  When the cyclone hit it was the range of destruction based on where you were and how close to a river or how close to a stop meant that breached you. The vineyards that were harvested initially were the ones that might have been flooded, but the water receded pretty quickly in most instances. And we were able to get in and harvest though. So the fruit did not like being submerged in water. Yeah.   Craig Macmillan  4:01  No, not at all. In the floodwaters if I understand in some cases reached as high as the fruit zone.   Emma Taylor  4:07  Oh, yeah. And over over the top of vineyards. Yeah.   Craig Macmillan  4:11  Wow. Oh, my God, and then it receded quickly. And then obviously there will be an issue with getting in after that.   Emma Taylor  4:19  Yes. And there's two kinds of issues with getting and there was access to the vineyard and the sense that in some instances this a few were along the Ngaruroro river. So there was three main rivers that you're probably going to hear me talk about in this the Esk valley, the to Tūtaekurī and Ngaruroro, and the Hawke's Bay, we have more vineyards along the Ngaruroro than anything, any of the other two, which is fortunate given the events that happened but if you were along the Ngaruroro and you were flooded, you didn't have a silt deposit, which is what you know, then became something that people had to manage with. So if you were along the Ngaruroro you were flooded, and then the water receded, and so your issue was accessing a Vinyard. which has been completely flooded. And so you can imagine there might be a little bit of mud and stuff like that, although, to be honest, a lot of alluvial gravels in that area as well, but also accessing the vineyard because a lot of the bridges had been washed out.   Craig Macmillan  5:12  Oh, right.   Emma Taylor  5:14  In the region like 60 bridges or something had or had been washed out. And clearly the priority was to get the bulk of people moving, rather than access to a remote vineyard. That makes sense. So that became an issue for people as well. The infrastructure damage.   Craig Macmillan  5:30  I'm guessing, because we're talking about New Zealand, we're talking about machine harvesting.   Emma Taylor  5:34  Yeah, that point was predominantly machine harvesting. I mean, there was there's always a little bit of hand harvesting, that happens. And there was there was a hand harvesting that happened on blocks that have been flooded. I'm not sure that there was to tell you the truth, I'm sure. I think it was all pretty much machine harvested.   Craig Macmillan  5:50  What do you do with fruit that has had floods, silts contact? That's that's something that I have never imagined in my wildest nightmares. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? Because my understanding is that some that at least some of that fruit was usable?   Emma Taylor  6:08  Yes. For a lot of people, you have to realize that a lot of people that were affected were growers, like ma and pa growers, we'd call them you know, private growers. And they have spent all their money, you know, they have, you know, what the seasons like you spend all your money on or you're pruning, you're spraying you're mowing your hand work. And they were in that point, just before harvest where you're not spending any money, and you're just waiting for the grapes to ripen. And then harvest until you get your paycheck for a lot of our members and some of our wine companies. The motivation was just to be able to give these growers some income so that they could continue. Yeah. So you know, they've clearly lost some of their crops. And so how can we have this what we can it's something that's been flooded the big thing that for other horticultural products that you have to worry about is E. coli contamination because you don't know what's in the floodwaters. Fortunately, because we're making wine, there's lots of international research that shows that E. coli dies in alcohol, MPI, which is our Ministry for Primary Industries over here they released with New Zealand winegrowers, they released a statement that said, you could have as grapes for the production of wine, as long as you had assess the risk. They were worried not only about E. coli, or, although it wasn't a big issue, but agro chemical contamination because the floodwaters had just destroyed chemical sheds on vineyards and washed through and they were worried about hydrocarbon contamination because diesel tankers and and they were just worried about anything else that could have been in that water. What we did discover though, and so we did a lot of testing pre harvest and post harvest is that while you know, the fuel Bowser that was sitting in your vineyard has gone, you don't know where it is, the volume of water that was flowing was so great compared to the potential risk of contaminants that there wasn't anything to worry about.   Craig Macmillan  8:04  That is good news. A true obviously, you've mentioned this in many videos, this tremendous amounts of silt were deposited, which leads to a number of possible issues. Also, I saw pictures of trellises and vines that had been knocked completely over. How are growers recovering from this? Are they trying to move silt down? Are they trying to reset the floors? What happens if you have silt layers higher than the graft union?   Emma Taylor  8:30  There are so many issues and there's no one single way to solve them as every situation is, you know, as often the case, like I was mentioning the East Valley and the Tūtaekurī rivers, there was a lot of salt deposits, and some vineyards were completely buried. So once the flood water receded, you couldn't see the vineyard anymore. We called those catastrophic vineyards. They are catastrophically affected, they needed to think about what they were now going to do with those that land use. For those ones in one regard, it's easy, because you're not saying to them, you can recover your vines. You're saying, Okay, you no longer have a vineyard, but for the ones that were in between. So they had a silt deposit, but it wasn't catastrophic. So there's two parts. Your question here that I think I'm asking is the ones that had the silt deposit, but it might have been above the graft union. And so we then urged those growers to contemplate the lifecycle of the vineyard and where they were sitting. So is the vineyard getting towards the end of its life, say 20 to 25 years old, because in New Zealand, especicially Sauvignon Blanc vineyards we manage very hard for trunk disease, but can 30 years old or so a vineyard will have a lot of trunk because they've done it. So if your vineyard was 20 years old, and you probably only had 10 years of useful life yet. We were saying you could probably leave that salt and place it flatten it out to the point that you can now grow on it but you can leave that because you're probably We'll get you we'll get scion rooting. But the phylloxera will take a while to reinvest in the vineyard, the roots of your original vine is still there, the scion roots have to take over the phylloxera has defined, you've probably got seven to 10 years before you're even seeing the first signs of phylloxera damage on your vignette.   Craig Macmillan  10:17  And there is phylloxera in those areas?   Emma Taylor  10:20  Because 95% of vineyards in New Zealand on grafted rootstock, we don't know. We have not studied phylloxera in New Zealand for a long time.   Craig Macmillan  10:32  That's a good thing because I was afraid I was gonna have to apologize on the part of all growers in North America for going back going back to the 1790s, or whatever it was.   Emma Taylor  10:41  We love the American rootstocks. Yeah, you American rootstocks? Yeah.   Craig Macmillan  10:45  Well, I don't think America can take credit for everything. I think the French and the Germans and the Italians have all done a great job to,   Emma Taylor  10:52  We don't know what the phylloxera status is, we have the the vineyard and goods board that I know about that is on its own roots. And it's, I don't know, 30 years old and still going strong. And then there was a nursery and Bisborn that was trying that tried to put its mother vines on own roots to try and keep the integrity of the plant. And they started seeing phylloxera in that planting seven to 18 years after planting. So we know it's still there. What we did discover throughout this whole process is that phylloxera research has kept continuing overseas, especially in Australia. And there's lots of species of phylloxera and we don't even know what species we've got. Because we haven't done a survey for the last surveys in New Zealand were done in the 80s I think it is.   Craig Macmillan  11:36  Talking about catastrophic losses, is there an estimate of like what percentage of some of those areas or what how many, or how many hectares were lost completely?   Emma Taylor  11:46  So there's about 4000 to 5000 hectares and holes, and depending on how people are choosing to manage and it's still coming out as, as we come through the season, there's about 300 hectares that we think will be lost completely. So it's not a huge amount in terms of the region, but it's one of those things, you know, it's a different scale of damage that you've had. And for some people, it means that they just lost the vintage from 2023. And now they're moving forward. But for the people that are the catastrophic so as the one you know, everyone's recovery is at different stages, depending on the scale of the damage and those that are worse affected obviously are still in a recovery phase with those that are were affected but not so badly. They've you know, got to the point they've prune the vines they're looking for forward to bad break this year. And it's it's move on and forget that cyclone.   Craig Macmillan  12:37  When would bud break be expected.   Emma Taylor  12:38  I saw bud break last week. Oh, wow. No, it's too early.   Craig Macmillan  12:44  Of course, it's too early No, but like, just just as a time point, it is August 8 2023. Today, which is your early spring.   Emma Taylor  12:53  So when to really the ski season is in full swing down here in New Zealand, we had a bout of warm weather, which got some the set flows going and a little bit of early bad breakout and Bayview. But we've now into some beautiful frosty morning and blue sky days. So that'll slow things down. You're saying it's the ninth of August. So hopefully, it'll be the end of August before we see too much more about movement.   Craig Macmillan  13:20  We're talking about Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc very prone to Botrytis and other fungal diseases. I'm not sure what your fungal disease situation is like where you are. Was that was that an issue? Was there a big explosion and fungal problems with that nine or 10 or 14 days before you get in?   Emma Taylor  13:36  Actually, so one of the issues we had in Hawke's Bay this year, and especially, you're talking about Sauvignon Blanc, but I suppose and other varieties, which was more more prevalent was we had downy mildew, we've not really experienced a lot of downy mildew in New Zealand. So whereas this year, I did see canopies that were completely defoliated. And partly that was a response to what when the cyclone happened and those first 10 days after the cyclone. We were still in a state of emergency, the bridges were down, communication was down because the cellphone towers all went out power was down for Napier, which is the urban environment that was down for a week and so people couldn't get on if your vineyard was a later ripening variety. So a Sauvignon Blanc or or red, Chardonnays earlier if your vineyard was a later ripening variety you couldn't get on and do some of those last protective sprays that showed in some of the canopies.   Craig Macmillan  14:34  I worked in the Central Coast California and I've only seen Downy Mildew once and it was it was amazing. It was really scary does tremendous damage and quickly that's the other thing downy mildew can strike and really do a lot of damage really fast. What about vines that were knocked over, or those vines salvageable. Can you push them back up?   Emma Taylor  14:53  Yeah, you can and this depends on how much silt you have. So if they got bent over and then there was a lot of silt that was a little bit trickier. But if they were bent over and you might needed to replace your posts, then that happened and those vines are actually that was where there was a little bit of hand picking that happened to tell you the truth. Yeah, they were salvageable. So get in quick, lift them back up again. And nets it we found that Vinyard nets, they often acted like a giant sail. If you were perpendicular to the river with a net on, you're almost guaranteed to be flattened.   Craig Macmillan  15:28  And so I'm guessing that that work started right away. And then there probably were vines that were just completely ripped out at the root.   Emma Taylor  15:35  Vines that were completely ripped out tangled mess with the nets, the posts, the wire, the irrigation. And so actually dealing with the waste of that became a big issue because we don't like burning waste in New Zealand. We only like to recycle. Telling someone that that big mess of nets and posts and wire you need to sort through and pull it out for recycling. That wasn't   Craig Macmillan  15:57  No Yeah, no, that's a really difficult thing to do. There's no doubt about it. And then if it's an older vineyard, and if it was twisted around the cordon and wire then can't chip it and on and on and on and on and on. This is not the first I'll call it a super cyclone that's hit before. In 1988 There was a Cyclone Bola  and it also did tremendous damage to vineyards I understand as well as property in human life.   Emma Taylor  16:24  Yes, and that cyclone and it hit slightly further north. So Bisborn was worse affected than Hawke's Bay, and back then in 1988, Bisborn one was New Zealand's largest wine growing region, and that hit later hit March. Oh, it really March. Sorry, the dates just elude me now. But it hit early March. So the vines were further closer to vintage. Yeah, had a had a very catastrophic, catastrophic effect. But it was 35 years ago. And it's amazing how much we had forgotten.   Craig Macmillan  16:57  That's what I was going to ask were there lessons that were learned?   Emma Taylor  17:00  What I've since you know, what I said, to add a grower meeting the other day of what we've learned is a cyclone is a cyclone and actually, some of the damage was pretty similar in some of the things that we're having to deal with in cyclone Gabriel, we had to deal with in cyclone Bola. Cyclone Bola in the 1980s. It was very much especially in New Zealand and mentality, we just got on and did it. And there wasn't a lot of reflection afterwards about what worked and what didn't work. And there was certainly no record keeping. After 35 years, one of the first things we did is that we called all together on a Zoom, all of the viticulturists that were around, in Bola. And we said can you remember what you did? And actually getting them together on a team's call was one of the best things we could have done. And because they feed off each other now that's right, we did this and yeah, so it was a different slightly different time. You know, because harvesters in 1988 weren't four wheel drive where they are now. And they were towing harvesters through vineyards to try and get the fruit off.   Craig Macmillan  18:02  Is that turning into outreach to growers today?   Emma Taylor  18:07  Lessons learned from Bola became a factsheet that was distributed to members. I think we managed to get it out nine days after the cyclone we had a grower meeting, we handed out to them and said this is what happened in Bola. We can't guarantee that this is exactly what's going to happen this time. Because the 1988 Bisborn, I think the largest variety planted was Monukka. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, we didn't have the rootstocks in New Zealand like we had back then. And all that kind of stuff. So we're like, we can't guarantee this is what's going to happen. And to tell you the truth, we're going to be monitoring this spring, just to see if our predictions that the vines will be okay. Fingers crossed, is correct, because it's what happened in Bola. But everything else that we learned from those people, from those viticulturalists from Bola has happened so far. And so that was a very worthwhile thing to do.   Craig Macmillan  18:57  You mentioned we, who's we?   Emma Taylor  18:59  So the New Zealand winegrowers got funding from the government. Not not not a lot of funding but funding from the government straightaway, to get a group of viticultural experts together. And we went round, and I was lucky to be part of this and we would go around to the growers and visit them and, and help them out and, and give them ideas or just listen to them really just to reach out and see that they were okay. It was a very interesting process, because at the start, the people that wanted to see us were the ones that were flooded and they weren't sure if they could pick. It was definitely the first lot of visits were definitely focusing on what we could still harvest what we could still salvage any income we could get for the grower. And then the second stage was the people that couldn't harvest but they knew the vines were going to be okay for this vintage and it was how to manage those to best prepare them for the season. Next season. And then the last lot of visits we did were the catastrophic owners. That links So how the individual growers were coping with the stresses as well, at the time, it was a really good support to provide to the growers.   Craig Macmillan  20:09  That is so important. And I'm very happy to hear that folks immediately went back to the, what we call embodied knowledge. You know, it's experience, I lived this and it's vivid, some of its vivid, some of its not, but that I lived this and then being able to share that, and then being able to continue that process forward. Because you now have been really, really good about connecting with the community. And everybody's learning from that, you know, you're having that you're having that translation of experience now across all kinds of folks. And that's just absolutely critical. And I think it's fantastic. And I hope that that kind of thing continues for all kinds of things. I mean, we have that we have that with all kinds of pest issues as well. Sometimes the best thing to do is just get a bunch of growers together. Tailgate meetings and conferences and coffee meetings, we've we've had a number where it's just show up at Joe's diner, and we'll just talk about whatever you know, and it is really beneficial.   Emma Taylor  21:07  It is. One hundred percent agree and it's part of that very expert group says exactly what what are the series was we called them, shed had meetings, and they were located in all the different sub regions, and people could just come along, we feed them and we gave them drinks and just that connection.   Craig Macmillan  21:23  Food helps bring people out. I've learned that, If there was one thing one takeaway from this whole experience for growers around the world we have we have listeners from all over, what would it be what what one insight, idea piece of advice observation would you have.   Emma Taylor  21:40  Because it had been 35 years since we had had cyclone Bola in New Zealand. And I don't know if this is globally, but in New Zealand, we had got a little bit relaxed about areas that might be deemed as flood prone or have a risk of some sort. That is because for the most part in New Zealand, we deal with drought. You know, two, three years ago, if we've just had three kind of wet seasons prior to that, if you had to talk to any grower one of the big concerns, they would have said water, we're we're worried we can't get enough water. And so we had got a little bit relaxed about some of our planting places. After looking at the cyclone. I still think some of these places, they are still good for planting. But be cunning and be intelligent about how you plant if you're planting close to a river, plant with the river, not perpendicular to it, put your frost machines on plants, bury your irrigation don't have a very expensive shed down there. Keep your tractors and equipment on high ground. Some of them are the best soils, right, which is why we're tempted to plant on them. Because yeah, it's right. But be be wise, when you're doing the investment, that would be one of the things that I would say.   Craig Macmillan  23:01  Yeah, so this kind of thing is just another factor to take into account when you're designing a vineyard.   Speaker 2  23:07  Yes. And if it's only once every 40 years, it makes it a little bit harder to remember. Yeah, because we've certainly had planted on areas that had been destroyed and Bola, and they leave, they will leave fallow for a few years while people were like, oh, you know, they were hit by the site. And then all of a sudden someone's like, oh, that's some pretty cheaply. And I can put a vignette in via and then the venue does well. And so therefore it raises the prices of the land and everyone plants and we forgot.   Craig Macmillan  23:28  Well, I want to thank you for your time. And thank you for sharing your story. We wanted to talk to you because this kind of thing is probably going to happen again, in other parts of the world. So it might have been 40 years between those storms, there may be major storms coming to other places. Doesn't hurt anybody to kind of think about that as a possibility. I mean, we have as growers, we have plenty to keep us up at night already. But it is something to think about.   Emma Taylor  23:54  Yeah, I 100% agree. And even looking at how this impact of Cyclone Gabriel was further down in New Zealand, you know, into Hawke's Bay more than Bisborn just shows that that's the trend that's happening, isn't it? Climate is changing. And so it doesn't take long to think gosh, that'll just go a bit further south and it could have happened in Marlboro. So that's the same I agree with you about it'll happen in other regions of the world too.   Craig Macmillan  24:18  Well, I want to thank our guest, Emma Taylor, viticultural consultant with Emma Taylor Viti, thanks for being on the podcast, Emma.   Emma Taylor  24:24  You're welcome. Nice to talk to you, Craig.   Nearly Perfect Transcription by
27:54 12/7/23
206: The Best Newsletter You Can Send | Marketing Tip Monday
Your wine club members are more than just wine enthusiasts – they’re YOUR WINE’S enthusiasts! They are invested in and have a personal connection with your brand. Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. Newsletters invite your members to form an even deeper affinity with your brand. It's an opportunity to share your brand’s history, current projects, and behind-the-scenes details that aren’t available through other channels. Need Content? You Got It! A multi-page newsletter gives you more space to work with. While the idea of having several pages to fill and decorate can be exciting to some, others may be intimidated by the task. Being a brand that’s passionate about sustainability means you always have something to talk about. Having a handful of Sustainable Stories on deck can be a great asset to your newsletter! SIP Tip: Adjust the amount of detail you go into to fit the space you have. For longer pieces, consider breaking them up into serials. Today we will share two examples of SIP Certified members whose newsletters feature their dedication to sustainability in engaging ways. There are some great images to go along with these, so I highly recommend going to the show notes and clicking on The Best Newsletter You Can Send. Ancient Peaks Ancient Peaks invites their members to understand their deep relationship with the land and their community through their May 2021 newsletter’s Feature Story, For the Love of Land & Community. The article shows how and why Ancient Peaks embodies sustainability through colorful photos and specific examples that touch all 7 SIP Certified Values. A QR code on page 4 of the excerpt transforms this newsletter into a multi-media experience! Readers can scan the code to watch a thoughtful explanation from the ranch’s owner, Doug Filipponi, on what sustainability is and how they address all three legs of the three-legged stool. Niner Wine Estates Their Spring 2023 newsletter opens with A Note from Winemaker Patrick Muran, giving readers the sense that their shipment was crafted with love and devotion from the entire team at Niner Wine Estates. After providing a rundown of the wines included in their shipment, Niner announces their 2023 Green Medal Sustainability Leadership Award. They explain what the award is, and provide several specific examples of their sustainable practices. Several members of Niner’s team are featured in the newsletter, giving it a personable feel and inviting readers to become familiar with the faces behind the wine. More Tips As you saw from these two examples, there are many ways to create a newsletter that’s unique and authentic to your brand. Here are three elements both of these examples have in common: Sustainability: Thoughtful “whys” and descriptive “hows” invite your readers to: Make a deeper connection with your brand. Better understand what it means to be sustainable. Teamwork: Quotes and opinions from team members: Give your newsletter a personable feel. Familiarize your readers with your team. Food and Wine: Pairing notes and recipes specific to the wines included in your shipment give: Utility to your readers. A reason to keep your newsletter around for longer! What’s YOUR Sustainable Story? We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program. This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, download the worksheet, watch the videos, and you are ready to tell your Sustainable Story! We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about how your peers fulfill the 7 SIP Certified Values as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing them! Your story can be featured in next year’s Sustainable Stories campaign! We are looking for a brand with an innovative approach to one of these three Values.: Water Management Safe Pest Management Energy Efficiency If you have a great Sustainable Story, we will help you tell it. Reach out to me at with a few quick notes! We’ll get your story ready to be featured in our newsletter, podcast, online course, and social media, and in magazine articles and influencer campaigns. Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Resources: *** Tell Your Sustainable Story Online Course *** Marketing Tips eNewsletter SIP Smart Training online course Sustainable Story | Print Sustainable Story | Electronic The Best Newsletter You Can Send What's your Sustainable Story? Whitney Brownie | Get YOUR Sustainable Story Featured Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year  Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member
04:18 11/27/23
205: Get More Funding Faster for Land Conservation Projects
Since the time of the Dust Bowl, landowners have worked with Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) to conserve water, improve soil, preserve natural habitat, and prevent erosion. However, it can take two to three years to secure funding to begin a sustainable initiative. Devin Best, Executive Director at the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District, and Michael Larcher, North American Solution Lead at cBrain have partnered on a new system that drastically decreases that timeframe by matching a grower’s land conservation needs with grants in a database. Landowners can participate in the Sustainable Land Initiative by submitting a short form that includes their location, acres, and goals. Technical staff from the RCD will follow up with a sight visit to determine all potential conservation projects including healthy soils, cover cropping, beaver dam analogs, and carbon farm plans. Through a database, the RCD can pull a report on all landowners interested in similar projects and connect them with funding and permitting. By aggregating data, the RCD can fund more growers, advise grant agencies on what conservation programs are most effective, and spend more time helping growers on the ground. Resources: *** Register 12/6/2023 | Prepare for 2024: CA DPR Changes, Bulk Wine Trends & Funding Sustainable Projects*** 181: Can Applying Compost Reduce Water Use? 122: Preserving Agriculture Land to Combat Climate Change 58: Barn Owls cBrain Devin Best Michael Larcher on LinkedIn San Luis Obispo County Beaver Brigade Sustainable Land Initiative Upper Salinas-Las Tables Resource Conservation District Vineyard Team Programs: Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship - Donate SIP Certified – Show your care for the people and planet   Sustainable Ag Expo – The premiere winegrowing event of the year Sustainable Winegrowing On-Demand (Western SARE) – Learn at your own pace Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at   Transcript Craig Macmillan  0:00  And our guest today are Devin Best is executive director of the upper Salinas, las tablas Resource Conservation District. And Mike Larcher, who is a North American solutions and sustainability lead with a company called cBrain. And today we're going to be talking about a very interesting idea called the sustainable land initiative. Thank you both for being here. Thank you.   Devin Best  0:19  Thanks for having us.   Craig Macmillan  0:20  Actually, before we get into that, let's kind of set the stage for those folks that are not aware. Devin, can you tell us what is a resource conservation district?   Devin Best  0:28  Sure. So a resource conservation district is a non regulatory, nonprofit local organization that works with growers and local community to help provide resources and technical assistance for their management of natural resources.   Craig Macmillan  0:41  And there are RCDs throughout the state, correct?   Devin Best  0:44  That's correct. There's about 95 of us or so. And they're organized around watersheds, watershed political boundaries, sometimes county boundaries. So it there's a little bit of a mix of how they're organized, but they were formed out of the dust bowl er, and some of them have combined, so you might get a little bit of those sort of things. Originally, the idea was that a federal government had the Natural Resource Conservation Service. And that was a entity that was focused in on dealing with the Dust Bowl and how to help farmers with their resource issues, but they recognize that the federal government didn't really have the best working relationship with local growers. So they formed what was originally known as soil water conservation districts, and here in California, are called RCDs, resource conservation districts, primarily same sort of mission, but they're more directed towards not just water, but also other things as well. And so California, if you look, you'll see this sort of conglomeration of some our cities have combined like ours is upper Salinas and Los Talas, this was to our cities that combined to form one but our counties actually shared by two our cities, the other one is being Coastal San Luis, our city.   Craig Macmillan  1:43  And Mike, tell us what is cBrain? What does the brain do?   Mike Larcher  1:47  The C brain is a process company, we specialize in redesigning processes, typically for government agencies, to make them as efficient, effective and transparent as possible, so that the government can do the work and arrive at the appropriate decisions very quickly. And so citizens get better services.   Craig Macmillan  2:06  And you two are working together on this thing called the sustainable land initiative. Is that correct?   Devin Best  2:10  That's correct.   Craig Macmillan  2:11  Devin, what is that?   Devin Best  2:16  So that actually started with Michael coming into my office and saying, you know, I'm really interested in this beaver brigade and beaver dams, and how can I help to get more of those? And I said, Well, that's great. But I'm also working on this thing called the carbon farm plan. And I need to get more of them done. But it's really tough. They started talking a little bit more about like, what does it take to actually do a carbon farm plan? Why is it takes so long? Why is it so expensive? Why are people not, you know, sort of gravitating behind these things. And as I started explaining, to Michael and his company, how it works, it was really apparent that we, as RCD staff don't spend that much time actually working on the plant itself. Most of it is there's these stop gaps between when we meet with somebody, and when we actually get something done. either. It's funding permitting something staff turnover, sometimes whatever it may be. And Michael's company actually sort of dealt with this particular instance of how do we make sure that we sort of streamline that whole process from start to finish, and get it down to the bare sort of essential parts, but make sure that there's tracking things along the way. So the sustainable land initiative really just focused more on how can RCDs be better at when I meet with the landowner getting resources to them, and I'm not spending all this time chasing grants and looking for permits. And so the example I've been given people is if I was to go meet with the landowner, and they're asking about, let's say, cover crops in vineyard rows, and they're looking for funding for that, usually, I'd go look into CDFAs, you know, list of programs that they have grants and stuff. That's one landowner, and I'd have to write one grant, and I have to wait three to six months until we got announced if we got awarded or not wait for the contract, then the resources, it's so we're talking almost a year or two. And if there's permitting, you're almost talking three years from the day I meet them. That adds some long amount of time between when we meet and actually get something done. And that's not beneficial to the landowner. It's not really the best use of our time. And so we started looking at like, but that's just for cover crops, I might meet with that landowner and say, you know, actually see you have some riparian corridor stuff that we can be doing to and you know, you have an oak woodland, we actually have a program for that. Well, in that one hour to two hours, we might meet that landowner, we lose a lot of information, a lot of potential projects, because now I'm off chasing after the cover crop grant and say, I don't get it. Well, all those other projects sort of fell by the wayside. Well, what if we were able to take all that information, put it in a streamlined sort of database essentially, and then tie those things in and aggregate them with other landowners, so I might be able to say, hey, in addition to that one landowners interested in cover crops have 10 other people I know that are interested in the same thing. Now I'm applying for a larger grant for 10 people all at one time, rather than one and competing against the other. And if I see a grant for my period restoration, I I can combine those together. So it's taking a lot of that information we get in a short amount of time and put it in a place where we can make it the most useful.   Craig Macmillan  5:08  You are probably more likely to get funding when you can come to a funder and say, Hey, this is going to affect 10 properties is going to 1000 acres as opposed to one person, 100 acres, one person 100 acres, you know, and it's probably also going to increase the efficiency of the actual implementation, I would guess, because you set up your team to do whatever it is, and then you can do a lot of work.   Less administrative oversight. Yes.   Now, Mike, I want to go back the way that Devin made it sound was you were just walking down the street one day and said, Hey, look, there's a sign these guys look cool. I like beavers. And you just wandered in. And I very, very quickly the beaver brigade and whatnot. I'd like you just to touch on what that is. Because that's an interesting thing in and of itself. What brought you to Devin went right to the RCD.   Mike Larcher  5:52  Sure, I wasn't. I wasn't walking down the street. But I was driving. I I grew up here on the Central Coast. And I spent a long time away last couple of decades, actually, the pandemic silver lining was I got to start working remotely. And so I came back home was on my way to the MidState fair, my wife and we looked out the window and I said, I don't remember the river looking green and lush in the middle of summer. I know what's going on what's changed. And that was how I stumbled across the slo beaver brigade. So for those who don't know, this is a nonprofit organization focused on trying to bring back Beaver and educate people about the benefits that they create. And they do so much cool stuff. Both Beaver and the SLO beaver brigade. But they are they're known as what is a keystone creature that can create entire habitats that benefit farmers, as well as the biodiversity in the overall ecosystem by slowing the water down, helping to improve soil moisture, reconnect with the underground aquifers. I think I saw some statistics that round about 90% of species in California depend on these wetland habitats. And so the more that beaver started coming back, the more water that is available for fish habitat for agricultural purposes, etc.   Craig Macmillan  7:16  So you had an interest in this you knew about the importance of the Beaver? And then what brought you then to the RCD, you had an idea.   Mike Larcher  7:23  I started actually with a quick Google search. And I found a call a Cal Poly graduate student who had just done his graduate paperwork on land that was suitable for beaver habitat in and around San Luis Obispo County. And Devin was one of the supervisors overseeing that and providing advice. So we had an introduction I was very excited about about the beaver. And Devin said, Wait, I'm really excited about what you guys do, you can make things so much more efficient and effective. Let's talk about doing that for beaver. But let's do that next. And so our first conversation was, how do we help landowners spend more time in the fields and less time at a desk dealing with government bureaucracy, let's make it really easy for them.   Craig Macmillan  8:08  So the sustainable land initiative, this was the two of you having a conversation and this is your project. This is your idea.   Mike Larcher  8:13  It started with the two of us. But we actually had feedback from the Farm Bureau from landowners throughout the region, city, county officials, everyone coming together and realizing that everyone actually wants the same thing. landowners want to become more sustainable. They want to maintain the legacy of their land. They don't want to spend a ton of time dealing with government bureaucracy to make it happen. How do we make it really easy for landowners to do what they already want to do? And to connect them with the immense amount of funding sources that are out there.   Devin Best  8:44  And I think the one thing I'd add on to that was that when I go to my RCD counterparts, one thing we always talked about was the limitation of our capacity. It's always funding and permitting. And yet we spend all our time doing just that is going after funding and get trying to get permits. And so we're not being a resource to the local community. It's like we want to be we're sort of hindered by those two other processes. So when Michael came to me, it was like, Well, if I can make the ways, that we're getting more funding to us quicker, that's churning the way that we're moving that technical assistance more towards helping the farmers we're talking about, hey, I'm not waiting for this grant. But this is a cover crop, I think it's really good for you. What I think's really fascinating is because because as Michael said, we started got a lot of feedback from other people was that this turned in from just the two of us to really be brought in much broader we have Cal Poly involved. We have three other RCDs involved as well. We have a lot of other incident entities and organizations, NGOs, municipalities. And so we've quit calling it like so much of a program, but it's more of a platform.   When did this begin?   I think we launched in 2022.   Oh, wow. You've done a lot of work in a short period of time.   Yen-Wen Kuo  9:33  Yeah.   Craig Macmillan  9:33  This is October of 23. For listeners, as you've done this, you've talked to growers, you've talked to all these folks, what are the top priorities in terms of implementation, project practices that people have said, Hey, these are the things that we want to do, what are the things that seemed to be the most I don't want us popular, but were the most interest is   Devin Best  10:10  BDAs Beaver Dam Analogs. That's one of the big ones, which is not a standard practice with vendor NRCS or CDFA. Is this the climate smart agricultural practices, it's something that's still kind of out there and still new enough. And that's one of the reasons why this is working really well is we can go forward and have sustainable land initiative and be sort of that platform for us to go outside of that. Those are the list of practices, developed the tactic, goal practices, the actual techniques, the implementation, the funding, the monitoring, the ecological benefits, all that information that goes into feeding into those to make them a standard practice, we can do that, and still provide that information under SLI. So that when it does become a practice.   Craig Macmillan  10:51  I want to come to back to Mike. But one thing that I want to clarify, because I don't feel like people understand this, the National Resource Conservation Service has a list of conservation practices, they are numbers, much like the code that you'd get diagnosis code and hospital, everything is tracked by that. And if it's on the list, then you maybe find a place where you can fund it. And if it's not on the list, well, then you're not far as the federal level goes, which can make it kind of tricky beaver brigade. That was kind of what got you into this. I'm guessing it must be very gratifying that a lot of folks are now interested in the same thing. Two questions for you on this. First of all, what is a beaver dam analog? We know about the benefits, but how does it fit into this, this this process? You know, do we need permitting? How do we go about it? What are the costs? Like how do you find people that have land that want to do this? I mean, you had the graduate student that sounds like they did the mapping? How is this? how's this working?   Mike Larcher  11:53  Yeah. So a couple questions there. To start with, like what is a BDA? Do you remember when you were like four years old, and you wanted to put some rocks and sticks in a little creek or something and slow the water down and hold it up?   Craig Macmillan  12:06  Too old? I don't remember when. But 14, how about that? But yes, yes, I do. Remember? Yes.   Mike Larcher  12:12  I have a three and a five year old and they still love to do it at its core. That is what a BDA is, we're basically pretending to be little kids or beavers again, and you're slowing the water down the same thing that the beaver would have been doing if it was still in that area. And what that does is it holds the water in the watershed longer. And so it can actually recharge and go into the ground, it's incredibly low impact shouldn't have any negative environmental consequences. However, when you're talking about doing anything in a riparian corridor, or in California, it's going to involve eight permits, Sequa, from six different agencies at three levels of government   Craig Macmillan  12:58  SEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, by the way, thanks.   Mike Larcher  13:01  So when you think of it that way to do something that a three year old would do, or a beaver would do on his own, is going to take $10,000 in permitting and three years. So that's one of the values of the sustainable land initiative is that we're trying to take an approach where we can aggregate this across property owners. And instead of permitting each individual one, we can actually go after this as a region or as a watershed. Devin, you want to add something to that?   Devin Best  13:27  I do. And then the point being is that as a practitioner, somebody that's actually having to go after and get these permits, they typically will permit one feature at a time. So if you're looking at Beaver Dam Analog, you can only do one feature one permit. And that takes three years, well, we're talking about doing hundreds to 1000s of BDAs. And so as an organization, we wouldn't be able to keep up with that level of detail and information and processing of data, to be able to relate that to the regulatory agencies and make sure that we're tracking all these things without something like the sustainable land initiative, which is what we have.   Craig Macmillan  14:02  And I think that's where you come in. So this is process and process tracking and process design. I'm guessing that's where your expertise would come into this, Mike.   Mike Larcher  14:12  Yes, that's right. So the way the sustainable land initiative works is that any landowner who is looking to adopt more sustainable practices or to find additional funding and would like the RCDs help, they would submit an intake form that takes no more than five minutes. They can do this from their mobile phone. I've we've even had people submit this while driving, which we do not recommend.   Craig Macmillan  14:34  Do not recommend.   Speaker 3  14:35  Don't recommend that no. If it's, if it's a long light, all you have to do is say here's where I live, how much acreage we have, what our vision and goals are for our property. And then RCD staff come out and say this is your vision. We will try and help connect you with funding and permitting to make that happen so that you don't have to spend time going after grants or going after an Dealing with permits yourself will do the heavy lifting. What my company does is we designed a process so that it's really easy and efficient for RCD staff to do this. It's that five minute intake form. And then typically about a one to two hour meeting with the landowner where they'll walk your property, understand your needs, identify appropriate NRCS practices that have been approved and tried and trued. And a couple of things like BDAs, that aren't yet a standard practice, but that might have an appeal to that landowner. And if the landowner wants to do them, the RCD keeps that information. And when a funding opportunity avails itself, the RCD can go after that with a number of properties at the same time, so drastically increasing the RCDs capacity to help landowners here in the region.   Craig Macmillan  15:45  One of the things that I think is interesting here is this is this is a new model. I haven't heard of anything quite like this before, at least in Agriculture and Land Management, you guys are doing stuff already. I mean, you're making things happen. How has the world of funders reacted to this because this is not their norm? This isn't what they're used to.   Devin Best  16:04  Yeah, actually, so one of the best case studies was, actually there's the SB 13, Senate Bill 1383, which is about reducing the amount of green waste that goes to landfills. And it was a you know, it's a mandate, and everybody was scrambling to try and figure out how to make this happen. Our local county slo county Waste Department reached out and said, Hey, RCD, you guys work with landowners? How can you maybe help us as well, you know, and actually, this works out really well, with our sustainable land initiative, I can actually, one identify a number of people that we've already talked to that are interested in compost, I can give you the acreage is I can already have a way to track how that that resource would be dispersed and monitored and reported in a very efficient way. So what would have normally taken us a year or even two years to get a scope of work and figure out all the details and how many landowners etc. We turn that around in three weeks, but that was only three weeks, but I was doing other things. That's not really like three weeks they spent doing it. But that's how quickly we could get the information to them. Right up the scope of work, get a contract, we are already doing it. We're meeting the goals for SB 1383. Here and still counting for 2022 and 2023.   Craig Macmillan  17:09  What about federal funders, state funders, how's that been going?   Devin Best  17:14  So that is something in the process of developing one of the programs we're really hoping to actually make this more attractive for a lot of people is there's the CDFA Healthy Soils block grants that was originally sent out for solicitation we put in two grants for healthy soils, and also for the state water energy and efficiency program. Our thought was that if we had those funds, we would actually be able to give as much as $5 million of funds directly to the landowners. The main thing that was a problem, and I will just say this, honestly, a lot of our cities were hesitant, because we're not administratively designed to have that much capacity for that much money really. And meaning that many that much demand. It was only because we had sustainable initiative, I was like, Well, this is perfect, because not only can we receive those funds, and get those to directly to landowners, but we can actually report it very quickly back to CDFA. And track all that information where it's not on a spreadsheet or someone's notebook somewhere or something like that. It's in a centralized database for us to use. That was one of the things I was really looking forward to getting those funds to sort of see the true power of the platform itself.   Craig Macmillan  18:21  That's fantastic. And that leads them to the next part of the process. So we've we've we've brought people into the system, we then have put together an application for funding, we now have a way of making that efficient, and getting to the funders hopefully funding that then comes in which it sounds like it has now there's a lot of reporting, having worked on grants the past, there's a lot of reporting that's involved, and it takes every form from where how many pencils Did you buy to how many acre feet of water did you move? I mean, just everything. So Mike, this sounds like where the data management is really, really powerful.   Mike Larcher  18:58  So often, when you think about writing a report, if you're starting with a blank piece of paper, that's going to take you a very long time.   Craig Macmillan  19:06  Oh, yeah.   Mike Larcher  19:08  But in reality, you probably know a lot of the information already. And that's what we've done by using standard process is that all of that information that was captured during the original site visit and from the landowners intake form, including what their vision, their goal is, how many acres are on an orchard, how much or natural and all of that valuable data is available at a click of a button. So as you go through the process, you've actually had all these conversations, you've had all that you've discussed that and you've probably even written those notes down. Because all of those components are now digitized. All you have to do is click one button or at least RCD staff just has to click one button within the slides system and it will generate a word report pulling all of that information in and having it look and feel like the report that's necessary for the grant. It really makes it It's easier for monitoring and for tracking, Devon.   Devin Best  20:03  So going back to our original discussion about carbon farm plants, this is where we're really seeing the benefit, where before it would take my staff, many, many months to write a carbon farm plan one, and then to this the funding to be able to get those in place and everything else. Well, so now that we're, actually, I am going to use the word I do not know if its actually true, templatetorizing our businesses, it is now so we're actually taking what we do in our site visits. And we call these resource conservation profiles that collects all this information, we put it into a document for the landowners to have just as a living document. But because Michael's been involved in helping us kind of move these things forward, we're taking all that information and fitting it into carbon farm plans. So now what was taking me a year to write a carbon farm plan, I'm now getting my staff basically a day. And they're getting close to actually writing a full carbon farm plan in a day because we have all that information gathered. And it's just fitting the site visits and the resource conservation profiles, to these templates into these requirements for carbon farm plans. So that's in place, we're also doing the same thing with forest management plans, and conservation plans. So we have a way to make it so that my staff isn't spending all their time writing documents, they're just getting information, putting it in a format that's useful for everybody, whether it's the funding agencies, regulatory agencies, the landowner themselves, but then really transitioning in our conversations away from planning, and assessing, and actually implementing and doing and monitoring what's actually working on the ground. Yeah, go ahead, Mike.   Mike Larcher  21:28  The nice things about working with the rscds is they have this immense expertise and knowledge, they can write a carbon farm plan, I can't do that, all I can do is build the process to make them more efficient and effective. And so we'd still take all of that expertise from people who are highly trained. And we simply turn it into actionable results as quickly as we possibly can. You still have to know how to write a carbon farm plan, you have to be trained and have the understanding, and the scientific and agricultural backing to do it well. But now let's just make all of that information actionable, so that it can go into a plan, yes. But a plan just sits on a shelf? How do we unlock all of that data so that it can easily flow into a grant. So it can easily be tracked over the course of the next five years to say, here's what its real impact was. And that's the power of digitization.   Craig Macmillan  22:21  And that then brings us to, we've gone through the process. Now everybody's concerned about the final outcome. What about monitoring? What about evaluating? Did this work this work better here than better there? Can we improve is that part of this whole process is the post implementation part.   Devin Best  22:38  It is 100%. So that's one of the things when early on, we're designing this processes that we amend to make sure that we're one transitioning RCD staff role from being an administrator. Secondly, being more informative and providing that feedback loop. The other thing too, is if we're doing more of these sorts of things, we can be more informed to CDFA and NRCS, about what practices people like one, what are useful, and Intuit is again, sort of the biggest bang for the buck. At this point, if you look at all this healthy soils practices, I couldn't quite tell you which one is the best one for them to continue pushing forward and Central Coast versus maybe in the northern part of California. But if we do enough of these, we have the monitoring, and I'm shifting my staff time away from administration to on the ground monitoring and reporting and actually talking to people and having that conversation. And I think the main thing I can almost point to is, if you look at what we're doing, we're really sort of putting ourselves back into what they were originally designed to do. You know, back in the Dust Bowl era, not these administrative, let's go chase grants, but really being a resource, a local resource for growers and sort of taking their input and providing it to a higher context, whether it's the state agencies and saying, This is what you should be supporting. This is why we're gonna move this direction, maybe it's BDAs. Maybe it's biochar, maybe it's how these forest management plans fit into a larger context of our secret document, whatever it may be. But we can't have those conversations. When I'm going, Gosh, I really got to get this grant written. And I'm holding my fingers and crossing, hoping that we get something that comes up. So   Craig Macmillan  24:08  The same question, Mike, where now that we've gone through the process, where are we headed? From your perspective? Where are we going to go?   Mike Larcher  24:14  I want to see this really start to expand. It starts with the individual landowner. No one knows what's appropriate for their land as well as the landowner. As as much as a farmer or rancher who has been working that land. They know what they need, what they want. The sustainable land initiative exists just to help them achieve that as quickly and as effectively as possible. I want to see this start to scale. And when we start talking, we can talk about one individual landowner and helping them that's amazing. But when an entire region starts to do it, or when an entire state starts to do it, you start to see some really incredibly impactful outcomes. So we've actually deployed a solution that's quite similar. This is actually bottoms up working with individual landowners, we've done a solution very similarly in Europe from the top down. So within the the nation of Denmark, it allows landowners to select what fields they're willing to follow. And this is very specific to Denmark because it's such a low lying land mass, that's only a couple 100 feet above sea level. Well, they have a lot of agricultural land that is that has been completely drained from wetlands, and is very low yielding. It's only existing because it's already government subsidized. Well, what if we subsidize them to return it to wetlands instead? It is, landowners have been so excited about this initiative that they've had to continue to increase the funding year over year. And this one process on its own, is actually on track to reduce greenhouse gas for Denmark as an entire nation by 20%.   Craig Macmillan  25:52  Wow.   Mike Larcher  25:53  I mean, that's huge. And California is 10 times larger than Denmark.   Craig Macmillan  25:59  And also has its own goals. Yeah, there's a lot of potential here.   Mike Larcher  26:04  So my goal is to help landowners achieve their individual vision. But to do it at such a scale that we're really actually impacting the entire environmental the state.   Craig Macmillan  26:14  On this topic, is there one thing you would tell growers and landowners   Mike Larcher  26:17  take five minutes, open your phone or your browser   Craig Macmillan  26:21  Not while you're driving!   Mike Larcher  26:22  Look for stainable land initiative, not while driving, don't do it while driving.   Craig Macmillan  26:25  If we if we if you search a sustainable land initiative, we'll find you. And we will also put a link.   Mike Larcher  26:30  search sustainable land initiative, let your local RCD know what it is that you want to do with your land. And they'll try and help you fulfill your vision.   Craig Macmillan  26:39  Perfect.   Mike Larcher  26:40  They'll they'll try and make it so you don't have to deal with bureaucracy. And you can spend more time working your land. They'll figure out the permitting in the grants.   Craig Macmillan  26:49  Mike, where can people find out more about you?   Mike Larcher  26:51  You can google us at cBrain, the letter C and then brain like what's in your head. It stems from corporate brain. We designed a software to help enable all this in conjunction with the Danish government about 15 years ago. And we are now the back end of 18 of 21 Danish ministries part of why they're considered the most digitized government in the world.   Craig Macmillan  27:11  That's really interesting. Mike, thanks for being a guest.   Mike Larcher  27:15  It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.   Craig Macmillan  27:17  Our guests today have been Devin Best executive director of opera Salinas Las tablets resource conservation district located in San Luis Obispo County, California and Mike Larcher is a North American solution sustainability lead for cBrain and we talked about amazing, really fascinating model process that they've been implementing called the Sustainalbe Land Initiative.   Nearly Perfect Transcription by
31:41 11/16/23

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