Managing a vineyard through best-practice methods and adoption of innovative processes can assist in improving productivity, quality control and enhancement, sustainable land management and natural resource use – ultimately ensuring a viable business in the long term.
The wine sector has been faced with a number of uncontrollable forces affecting the revenue from winegrapes. However, the opportunities to influence profitability through productivity, quality and process efficiency within a vineyard operation are significant. Many vineyard enterprises have already adopted practices such as mechanisation to improve operations, reduce inputs and increase profitability.
The performance of the Australian wine sector is sensitive to mismatches between expected and actual grape intake. These mismatches generate inefficiencies that result in foregone revenue and extra costs in vineyards, wineries and distribution chains. Winery intake planners seek accurate estimates of likely grape production from vineyard managers at various stages in advance of harvest. However, inaccurate forecasts continue to persist.
Yield forecasts can be 33 per cent inaccurate. Even experienced vineyard managers who have worked for decades with established patches can find it difficult to forecast production reliably, particularly in patches where the yield fluctuates greatly from season to season.
Within the context of increasing competition on the international wine market, there is an emerging recognition in the Australian wine sector that the quality and reliability of its grape supply must continue to improve during this decade and beyond.
Substantial cost savings and revenue gains could be realised if the volume of grape intake did not fluctuate so much and the intrinsic composition of grapes could be more reliably matched to desired wine styles.
Accurate yield prediction is an essential first step to successful yield regulation. There is a strong demand for improved systems to forecast yield, as yield prediction is an essential first step to successful yield regulation.
The resources in this section discuss how to assess forecasting performance, describe sources of variation in yield and outline what is needed to make and evaluate best practice vineyard forecasting.