One of the main objectives of the Soil4Wine LIFE + project is to develop a new decision support tool that can guide vinegrowers in soil management in the vineyard through four simple steps:
The new decision support tool guides the winemaker through consecutive steps and actions: a checklist of attributes for a first characterization of the site; a calculation module that based on the characteristics of the site previously inserted returns potential risk indexes for the various threats of the soil (erosion, loss of organic substance, compaction, hard-pan, contamination, water shortage, loss of biodiversity and water stagnation) classified on the basis of the seriousness of the impact of the threats on the vineyard considered; each potential threat is accompanied by a verification / confirmation form that guides the user through monitoring in the vineyard to confirm its real presence; a decision-making module that suggests mitigative actions to be taken to improve soil conditions while also providing technical indications for their implementation; a registration form that allows you to record the activities performed in the vineyard and a verification / comparison sheet to evaluate the effectiveness of the mitigative actions implemented in the vineyard.
The instrument, which is currently at the ICT test version stage, was developed by researchers at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Piacenza and Horta srl, the University's spin-off, thanks to the contributions provided by local companies, the Demo farms. This group consists of nine wineries located within the protected areas of the "Parchi del Ducato" of Parma and Piacenza (Valter Colombi Vini, Az. Agr. Carrà Stefano, Az Agr. La Pagliara, Azienda Monte delle Vigne, Azienda Agricola Palazzo, Azienda Agricola Podere le Lame, Az Agr. Res Uvae, Azienda Vitivinicola Visconti Massimo e C. and Azienda Agricola Vitivinicola Barbuti Giuseppe), which are actively collaborating in the implementation of the project actions and using the solutions provided by the tool in their vineyards. In the coming months the tool will be presented and tested by other companies in the Emilian, national and European territory (the Living Labs) and the feedback received will constitute a database of useful elements for the calibration and validation of the instrument in order to make it accessible to all interested parties starting from the next wine-growing season.