Horticulture and Crop Science Department
BS in Wine and Viticulture
Michael J. Costello
The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is an important area for California pinot noir. To develop a pinot noir vineyard requires a substantial amount of research to be done before any planting occurs in the soil. The purpose of this project was to study the facets of planting a vineyard from a fallow field and then construct a design for the finished vineyard. The site is located on an unused portion of a ranch property in roughly the middle of the AVA. Climatological data places the potential site within acceptable parameters for growing pinot noir. The soil on site is Arnold sand of low fertility, with high probability of nematode presence. Hybrids of rootstock varieties Vitis berlandieri and Vitis rupestris or hybrids of Vitis champinii will pair well with pinot noir and the sandy soils on site while providing some nematode resistance. Spatial data and Geographic Information System (GIS) software were instrumental in creating layered maps of the site containing soil and zoning information. The GIS images were also used for illustrative layouts of the vineyard row orientation, irrigation system, and site overviews. With further detailed analysis of soil and water properties to back the recommendations this design will be a fruitful vineyard in the future.