Crop forcing is based on moving the grape-ripening period from hot summer months to a cooler month later in the growing season. This is achieved by making an additional pruning, stopping the natural cycle of the plant and “forcing” it to restart its phenology (bud break, bloom, fruit set and so on). Shifting the ripening to a cooler month couples sugar accumulation with flavour and aroma development improving the quality of the grapes
This June, crop forcing has been successfully applied in our Spanish Demo site in Raimat in order to move the grape-ripening to October. According to VISCA DSS, performing the crop forcing at the beginning of June will move veraison from the last week of July to the mid October. In our Mediterranean climate, summers are characterized by hot and dry weather conditions, with temperature values that can be as high as 40 ºC. In Autumn, the temperature drops. The cooler weather conditions allow an optimum balance between sugar and flavor in the berry.
The VISCA DSS tool is presenting this phenological cycles of the vineyards and taking into consideration the applied agronomic technique which is fed by the end-users:
VISCA DSS shows the phenology stage before crop forcing
VISCA DSS shows the phenology stage after crop forcing
What would happened if this forecast is not available (Business as Usual scenario)?
Without a tool like VISCA DSS, we cannot explore the optimum pruning date to implement the crop forcing. Having a seasonal forecast linked to phenological models provide a useful guideline to decide the optimum date to perform the crop forcing.
Which impacts are expected taken into consideration the predictions of VISCA DSS?
We expect to avoid the extreme temperatures that usually take place during the maturation and compromise berry quality. The high temperatures speed up the sugar accumulation and limit the aroma development, but with the crop forcing we can shift phenology to an optimal period with cooler weather conditions.
Crop forcing in the field at the Spanish demonstration site in Raimat
You may also watch the video of crop forcing on VISCA YouTube channel.