The potential of agro-thermal heat treatment to address challenges in wine grape production that are being magnified by increasing variability in temperature and precipitation was evaluated through a two year study supported by the Farm Adaptation Innovator Program.
The project assessed the impacts of heat treatment using the Agrotherm XT™ machine, applied at different crop growth stages, on grapevine phenology and fungal and bacterial disease pressure in three vineyards over two growing seasons in the Okanagan Valley in BC. The agro-thermal machine is a gas-operated, hydraulic fan heater system that is towed by a tractor to simultaneously apply heat at 300 degrees Fahrenheit to the canopy of two rows.
Results showed that the heat therapy had few beneficial effects on grapevine performance. Overall, the differences found after heat treatment were small, indicating that there is likely no overall positive or negative effect of heat treatment on vineyards in semi-arid environments such as the Okanagan Valley.
A research summary provides a description of the trials and result highlights. The results report provides further detail on research design, data collection and findings.