De Bortoli Wines

Increase Profit - Optimise Water Usage

De Bortoli Wines

During the 2018-19 season, De Bortoli Wines used Green Brain 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 Green Brain's blue shading (Figure 3). The block is split into four irrigation valves, with 600m long rows.

Informed Decisions, how can information from Green Brain imagery be used?

Green Brain'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.

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

Based on Green Brain'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. Green Brain'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

Green Brain 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.

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