Viticulture in Tuscany represents about 8% of UAA but produces about 30% of the regional agricultural income. Impact of viticulture on the habitat is generally high, as morphology, hydrology and soil characteristics are often modified to enable agricultural practices. Also, viticultural areas are often in hilly locations, more prone to soil erosion. A proper soil management when designing new vineyards and during their whole lifetime is crucial to guarantee that viticulture is environmentally sustainable, of high quality and terroir-related. Many Tuscan wineries want to understand the distribution and the characteristics of their soils, in order to direct vineyard management and wine production towards high quality, terroir acknowledgement and sustainability. Negative impacts of climate change, with increasingly frequent and longer drought periods, contribute to increase this wine growers’ need, which is not met by land zonings and maps developed so far in few wineries, as they are difficult to read and to match with other agricultural and environmental information.
Even if decision support systems (DSS) to manage plant-health risks and to plan treatments exist, few platform is available to suggest proper soil management. Moreover, there is no webgis tool enabling wine growers to know variability and characteristics of their terroirs and thus to promote and enhance the wine-terroir connection.
The project develops an online digital platform including cartographic information layers on soil, and conceptual models helping wine growers properly manage soil in their vineyards. After a preliminary collection of territorial information layers already developed in Tuscany region, the project develops in two pilot areas, Montefioralle in Chianti Classico and Val di Cornia in Maremma, sharing similar needs and opportunities. Land zonings and terroir identification are still limited, both in Val di Cornia but also in Chianti Classico, with no defined land zoning at wine growers’ consortium level. Wine producers show a strong interest in developing specific competences and engaging in local network actions on this theme.
In these two areas the project involves in the pilot 16 wineries (in all 280 hectares), consisting in in-depth analyses, varied soil management based on DSS, and quantitative and qualitative monitoring on plants and products for at least 2 growing seasons. Innovation will be introduced in the wineries with technical seminars, and with training actions (short-term classes and practical workshops).
Final results is a detailed digital map for the 280 pilot hectares, available on an online platform with associated decisional models. Other wineries or wine growers’ consortia in Tuscany region will be able to use this structure and replicate the pilot model.
Thus, the project includes many informative actions targeted at wineries and wine producers of the whole region, with dissemination conferences, farm visits at the wineries participating to the GO, and cross-cutting communication actions (technical publications on Edizioni L’Informatore Agrario, newsletter, project website, information materials). The choice of Informatore Agrario as communication medium guarantee wide dissemination at national level (20.000 contacts only in Tuscany region), and it’s strategic to boost Tuscan wine growers’ interest in the project.