The Goals of Viticulture

The common goal of viticulture is to make a profit but strategies that maximize vineyard profits can vary among growers, vineyards and regions and depend on:

  • the cost and availability of resources including labour and water;
  • vineyard environmental conditions (climate and soil) which affect vine performance and impacts of cultural practices, and cause periodic damage to vines such as frost and freeze damage;
  • regional marketing forces and winery business goals which affect grape prices and payment incentives for quality;
  • the value placed on environmental sustainability, and regulations related to environmental protection;
  • the scale of the vineyard operation.

In most grape-growing regions, growing high-quality fruit has become the most profitable to growers, and thus modern viticultural techniques tend to focus on producing quality rather than high yields. However, as yield is an important determinant of revenue, yield is a goal to be balanced with fruit quality. Balance, in fact, underlies many viticultural principles because balancing the positive and negative effects of any resource input or viticultural practice is important for optimizing vineyard performance.

Pat Bowen, Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre Summerland BC V0H 1Z0