Case Studies

Learn how GAIA can improve your business.

GAIA Case Studies

Read our case studies to learn how GAIA has helped Tamar Ridge and De Bortoli Wines.

Shown potential benefits include:

  • check Reduced variability and increased profit.
  • check Guidance in making informed decisions.
  • check Help in performing effective resource deployment.

Tamar Ridge

Reduce Variability
Increase Profit

Brown Family Wine Group used GAIA during the 2019 vintage to optimise profitability for their Tamar Ridge vineyards. Located in the Tamar Valley of Tasmania, the Tamar Ridge vineyards’ 133 hectares produce premium Pinot Noir.

Profitability is limited by variability in the vineyard’s vigour and yield. This is partly because undulating hills in the region provide different soils, slopes, aspects and microclimates.

Figure 1. Areas of variable vigour at Tamar Ridge.

Spatial Imaging

GAIA’s spatial imagery was used during the 2018-19 season to identify areas of variability within the Tamar Ridge vineyards. The imagery highlighted areas of high and low vigour, providing additional insight and confirming what was observed on the ground. Access to GAIA’s information helped make strategic management decisions easier and more informed.

Effective Resource Deployment

GAIA was also instrumental in highlighting irregularities within the vineyard — helping direct staff to check irrigation systems within the variable blocks for pressure and blocked drippers. Adopting targeted application and precision viticulture techniques, composted grape marc was spread under low vigour vine to improve growth and yield for the following vintage.

Figure 2. The effect of trees and roads on vine vigour. Areas marked up on GAIA.

GAIA’s imagery also demonstrated the effect that a row of trees was having on vine vigour — with up to 5 rows affected in each 20-row vineyard block. The trees were initially planted between the vineyard blocks to provide a windbreak. As 20% of the vineyard block was affected by the tree line and road, tree removal was necessary to improve yield in these areas.

With the ability to look at historical imagery, and multiple images through the one season, we can really focus on identifying block variability, eliminating this variability, improving vigour and improving fruit production in these blocks with minimal costs to the end user.

Ben Peitsch – Viticulturist Tasmania, Brown Family Wine Group

Improve Yield
Increase Returns

GAIA helped the Brown Family Wine Group to identify and reduce variability within their Tamar Ridge vineyards, as well as informing strategic management decisions and optimal resource deployment.

Table 1. Estimated changes in return per hectare of Tasmanian Pinot Noir due to tree removal and targeted marc application, based on GAIA’s insights.

GAIA is an ideal tool for monitoring variations in crop health, and providing feedback on the implementation of management changes, to make better decisions throughout the growing season.

GAIA has been really useful in identifying different vigour areas in the vineyard. We have 133 hectares so being able to micromanage those zones, understand what is affecting these areas, and how to overcome it, is crucial. GAIA has been instrumental in helping us make strategic decisions to manage our premium Pinot Noir.

Ben Peitsch – Viticulturist Tasmania, Brown Family Wine Group

De Bortoli Wines

Increase Profit
Optimise Water Usage

Figure 3. 25 hectare Semillon site with variable vigour. Blue represents high vigour, yellow represents low vigour. Areas marked up using GAIA.

During the 2018-19 season, De Bortoli Wines used GAIA and on ground auditing to understand how their irrigation system was operating; with the intent to optimise water usage. Based in Bilbul NSW, De Bortoli Wines own and operate 270 hectares of wine grape vineyards. Thus, there is a heavy reliance on irrigation scheme water for commercial wine production.

De Bortoli Wines’ flagship premium wine — Noble One — is produced with botrytis-infected Semillon grapes. For this dessert-style wine, the botrytis infection is of significant economic benefit. The botrytis requires adequate water, high humidity, and good canopy development.

GAIA’s spatial imagery is the perfect platform for feedback about what you are doing and the inputs that you have in your vineyard.

Rob Glastonbury – Operations Manager, De Bortoli Wines

There is high variability across the 25 hectare Semillon block targeted for Nobel One production. Only the high vigour areas of the block are suitable for the production of botrytised Semillon, as indicated by GAIA’s blue shading (Figure 3). The block is split into four irrigation valves, with 600m long rows.

Informed Decisions
How can information from GAIA imagery be used?

GAIA’s spatial imagery provided a clear visual representation of the vigour variability within the Semillon block. The irrigation sub main is positioned through the centre of the block. Pressure tests on the irrigation system revealed that the last 150 metres of each row were underwatered, leading to sun damage, yield loss and low-level botrytis infection.

Figure 4. Representative areas for soil moisture monitoring, with neither too much or little vigour.

Based on GAIA’s insights, and backed by onsite audits, it became immediately obvious that more water needed to be delivered to the end of the rows. Thus, reducing variability across the block. The first step was simple: an extended line cleaning and flushing program needed to be conducted post-vintage, and field filter and valve servicing was required. The field audit also recommended that the irrigation laterals should be replaced based on age and on being under-sized. GAIA’s imagery gave direct feedback on the effect of irrigation practices. The recommended management changes are expected to minimise the variability across the vineyard, increasing fruit yield and value per tonne. as well as increasing fruit yield and price per tonne.

GAIA helped us to identify how our vineyard practices and systems were working across our home vineyards. In this case, GAIA enabled us to focus on what was not working, fix it and create a better crop across the entire block.

Rob Glastonbury – Operations Manager, De Bortoli Wines

Correct Positioning
Effective Irrigation

GAIA can also inform the correct placement of soil moisture monitoring equipment. Positioning this equipment correctly enables more effective irrigation monitoring and water usage — thus, optimising yield for reduced water costs. This creates an additional opportunity to sell excess High Security water when water restrictions apply, increasing overall returns per hectare.

Table 2. The potential economic return of selling unused water during the 2019 vintage.

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