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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Developing a Site Selection Tool Using GIS and Grapes As a Model System

Location: Horticultural Crops Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Compile a GIS database of existing grape production areas in the inland Pacific Northwest (PNW; WA, OR, ID). 2. Evaluate inland PNW production areas for site suitability to different grape species/varietals. 3. Establish GIS for grape site potential selection.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
This project proposes to utilize Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to evaluate site selection criteria for variety specific grape suitability in inland areas of the three Pacific Northwest states Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Existing data can be compiled into data layers in the GIS and GIS tools will also be used to calculate additional layers. Once compiled, data in the GIS base will be extensively analyzed and compared with information from existing literature on both species and varieties and their historical site optima – largely temperature and latitude criteria (e.g. Gladstones, 1992; Jackson and Shuster, 2001) and soil texture and depth. This will provide a first iteration of site potential by species and variety. The data will be further refined by gathering data on both successful and unsuccessful variety establishment in existing vineyards in these growing regions using a standardized method of measurement to evaluate varietal success. Upon completion of development of the viticulture site selection GIS database, there is the potential to develop a website will be for public access to this information. Documents Grant with Washington State University.


3.Progress Report:

This research was conducted in support of objective 1 "Determine effects of water management on wine grape productivity and fruit maturity" of the parent project. Map layers representing environmental variables influencing likelihood of success of both juice and wine grape vineyards in eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon and around the Snake River Valley in Oregon and Idaho have been compiled into a searchable GIS database. The layers comprise climatic, topographic and soil factors. The layers are composited to produce overall site suitability scores with climatic data informing recommendations for wine grape cultivars by ripening potential categories. The data layers have been organized by county into map documents accessible with ESRI ArcGIS software (Redmonds, California). Users can locate and query locations for overall suitability and examine specific factors that may be beneficial or limit a site's suitability. Preliminary validation efforts indicate soil characteristics in the model generally concur with growers' perceptions. The model is currently being used to help answer queries by potential growers as a preliminary site evaluation tool. As such, it gives a “Not Suitable” or “Worth Further Investigation” answer. Further efforts are being made to evaluate new data sources to improve the weather and climate data layers of the model, given the importance of weather on grape growth and development.


Last Modified: 4/21/2014
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