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Agrology & UC Davis Partner to Study Smoke Risk Thresholds in Vineyards

Agrology & UC Davis Partner to Study Smoke Risk Thresholds in Vineyards

Agrology and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) have announced an expansion of their partnership, with a new research project aimed at determining smoke risk thresholds in vineyards. Using Agrology’s sensor technology, the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology team led by Dr. Anita Oberholster will study the effects of varying smoke concentrations on wine grapes.

UC Davis researchers recently simulated a wildfire smoke scenario in a vineyard to test the impact of different smoke levels. The study utilized Agrology’s Sentinel System to monitor volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and volatile phenol concentrations in real-time.

Dr. Anita Oberholster, Vice-Chair & Professor of Cooperative Extension in Enology at UC Davis, explained the motivation behind the project. “Our goal in this research is to determine thresholds for wine grapes and how vintages can be impacted by varying levels of wildfire smoke,” she said. She added that through their investigations, they are gradually understanding how different smoke intensities affect fruit while still on the vine.

Adam Koeppel, Co-Founder and CEO of Agrology, expressed his company’s enthusiasm about the partnership. “This project confirms that our sensors can keep growers updated on real-time smoke risk in the vineyard and can alert them of thresholds when wildfires threaten their vintage.”

During the recent smoke simulation, the team constructed a controlled environment where they pumped varying levels of smoke. Agrology’s sensors were placed inside the tent at different levels to imitate ground, middle, and top of the canopy situations, while two control sensors were placed outside. UC Davis simultaneously collected and analyzed air samples, complementing the real-time data generated by the Agrology sensors.

The collaborative venture is set to continue with UC Davis planning further research on smoke risk. One of the upcoming trials will examine the effect of barrier sprays and smoke on fruit.

For a deeper insight into the study, Agrology and Dr. Anita Oberholster will host a free webinar, “The Art and Science of Smoke Taint Analysis and Prediction,” on August 10, 2023. The webinar will cover topics like types of VOCs that create smoke taint, preventative measures for smoke taint risk, and the surprising findings from recent research, among others.

Photo by Boudewijn Boer on Unsplash 

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