The University of La Rioja (Spain) has introduced the app vitisFlower, a Smartphone application that allows the assessment of the number of flowers per inflorescence in the vineyard, in a fast, automated and non-destructive way. 
 
This is a new technological tool in viticulture and one of the first apps available for viticulturists worldwide. This app is a remarkable technological milestone in viticulture. 
 
This app has been developed by the Televitis research group (televitis.unirioja.es) of the University of La Rioja and ICVV, in collaboration with four wine-related SMES (ActyLab, Hostaler I, Florentino Martínez y Bodegas Virgen de la Vega) in the framework of the Vinetics R+D Project, funded by the Agencia de Desarrollo Económico de La Rioja (ADER). 
 
Specifically, the Televitis group (televitis.unirioja.es) at the University of La Rioja, led by Prof. Javier Tardáguila, has developed a new algorithm based on artificial vision techniques, which implemented in the vitisFlower app, is capable of counting the number of the flowers of an inflorescence (name of the cluster prior to flowering) by processing a digital image of this inflorescence acquired with the smartphone. 
 
This way, the vitisFlower app provides the viticulturist with a novel tool to calculate the number of flowers, hence, with an early indicator of cluster size. From this information, berry set (percentage of flowers that become berries) and final crop yield can be estimated months before harvest. 
 
VitisFlower is an innovative tool that can help the grapegrower to take decisions regarding vineyard management, such as cluster thinning operations or the delineation of subzones within the vineyard according to the yield. 
 
The Televitis group at the University of La Rioja will use this new tool in a vast number of vineyards of the Rioja Appelation Board (DOCa Rioja) during the ongoing 2015 season. 
 
The vitisFlower app will be available free for Android-operated smartphones at the Google Play. 
 
More information: televitis.unirioja.es.