Precision Viticulture And Climate Change

The expansion of viticulture across different continents and cultures is indicative of the high adaptability of grapevines to disparate growing conditions. Nevertheless, climate change is raising high concerns within the wine industry, not only by increasing the likelihood of extreme weather conditions, but also their unpredictability. The rising temperatures are known to affect grapevine phenology (relation between natural phenomena and seasonal changes and climate), frequently forwarding harvesting time by advancing ripening, flowering and veraison. However, many other effects of climate change, often unpredictable, may have unexpected consequences in the production.

It is important to systematically understand how the weather and climate conditions affect different varieties of grapevines in order to predict the effects of climate change in viticulture and implement appropriate mitigation strategies. The emergence of technologies that allow real-time data collection, measurement, and analysis, has prompted the advance of precision farming as strategy to boost productivity and mitigate the impacts of environmental variabilities, not only regarding the weather and climate, but also air, soil and water composition and quality. Using modelling tools, software analytics and smart ICT applications to understand how all these parameters affect production, enables the appropriate selection of culture conditions (grape variety, irrigation, terroir selection, etc.) and management strategies.

Montenegro has a long tradition of grape growing, having a major role in wine production in the Western Balkans, due to its diverse climate, topography, and grapevine biodiversity. However, in order to improve sustainability and increase competitiveness while facing climate change associated challenges, the implementation of precision viticulture strategies is imperative for the viticulture sector in Montenegro.

MONTEVITIS will establish a precision viticulture framework in Montenegro to tackle climate change, bringing together Montenegrin academics and wine producers and European partners with recognized knowledge in in viticulture, precision farming and climate change.