Irrigating the vineyard in the dry seasonThe month of July heralds the arrival of summer, bringing the sun and heat with it! Depending on the years, our wine growers have to deal with drought issues in the Ovalie vineyard. Many of them wonder about the use of irrigation.
It is known that hydric stress (lack of water) can affect the yield and quality of the grapes, due to dehydration just prior to picking.
Current regulations on irrigating vines
Depending on the production sector, regulations are not the same for irrigation of AOP (Appellation d’origine protégée), IGP (Indication géographique protégée) or wines of France. Indeed, irrigation remains banned for all vines between 15th August (when ripening begins) and the grape harvest.
For IGP or Wines of France, irrigation is permitted between the grape harvest and 15th August the following year.
For AOP, the wine growers of Ovalie can irrigate only between the grape harvest and 1st May. The ban on irrigation between 15th August and harvest can however, depending on the gravity of the drought situation, be reviewed by the appellation d’origine trade association, which can make a request for irrigation over a precise period to the director of the national institute of appellations d’origine.
Localised (drip) irrigation, the best alternative for our wine growers in Ovalie
There are many different vine irrigation techniques, but the localised drip technique has proved to be the best compromise for Vinovalie wine growers.
Indeed, in drought conditions, the qualitative efficiency (when little water is wasted and the water arrives efficiently at the plant) of this technique is excellent. Below are listed the main advantages and disadvantages of this technique.
→ Low cost of pumping because the system does not require a great deal of power.
→ No spraying on the leaves which means there is no impact on fungal pressure (diseases) and the need for phytosanitary treatments is limited.
→ No problem with access to the plots because the drip irrigation pipes are located up against the foot of the wine.
→ Water must be easily available because the system has to be used regularly since only a relatively small amount of water is delivered.
→ The water must be properly filtered upstream to avoid blocking of the drip irrigation pipes.
Today this optimised irrigation system is used regularly in the Ovalie vineyard. Our wine growers are aware of environmental issues and therefore adopt localised, reasoned, economic and efficient irrigation which, due to its precision, limits the amount of phytosanitary treatments.