On selceted areas of Kloster Pforta vineyard, climate-adapted production methods and cultivation techniques will be tested, e.g. non-pruning or minimal-pruning systems. This sort of vine training system is rarely used in Germany and not known in the Saale-Unstrut region until now. This cultivation technique allows the vine plant to grow naturally as liana, contrary to the normally used spur-pruned technique. Positive effects of the new technique is a vitalization of the grapes, a loosening of the grape structure that should decrease the disease tendency and therefore could reduce pesticide input. Higher foliation will increase root development, leading most probably to higher drought resistance of the vine plant. An additional advantage of this training system is the reduction of labor costs.
(responsible partner: Landesweingut Kloster Pforta)
Against the background of the expected climate change, we are aiming to compile seed mixtures that develop into vegetation types with high water retention, good erosion protection and high humification. The resulting vegetation should provide nectar and pollen sources for butterflies, hoverflies and wild bees and the flowering aspects should be of high aesthetical value. The use of local ecotypes of wild plants guarantee an optimal adaptation to regional site conditions, and ensure suitable feeding habitats for native animal groups. In selecting undemanding, low growing calcareous dry grassland species, we are trying to minimize the water stress for the vine plants.
On the study site Köppelberg vineyard (near Schulpforta), we installed a large-scale trial in complete block design with three variants (sowing of two wild plant mixtures and one commercial mixture between vine rows) in four repetitions. To study the effect of ensuing vegetation types, we are planning to measure e.g. water stress and vitality of the vine plants as well as grape quality and quantity. In addition, different parameters with regard to vegetation and soil development and erosion potential, as well as abundance of selected animal groups (butterflies, hoverflies, wild bees) will be monitored regularly on all sowing variants.
(responsible partner: Hochschule Anhalt)
In using sheep grazing with robust breeds, we want to decrease the use of machinery on steep slopes. To avoid erosion, we plan to establish a calcareous dry grassland between the vine rows by sowing seed mixtures from regional seed propagation of wild plants (see above). The incorporation of an adjacent orchard in the grazing concept will keep the orchard in a favorable conservation status and allows flexible use of sheep in the vineyard. The sheep will be responsible for canopy management on the one hand and should defoliate the grape zone when the grapes are still sour on the other hand. Defoliation by sheep could be most effective because the sheep will remove leaves inside the vine rows whereas defoliation machines remove leaves only from the outsides. Most probably, this will result in a distinct reduction of fungus infection of grapes.
On the study site Saalhäuser vineyard (near Bad Kösen), a trial with two management variants (grazing, mowing) and three repetitions will be installed. Different parameters regarding e.g. vegetation and soil development, erosion potential, vitality of vine plants, and grape quality and quantity will be measured in regular intervals to allow comparisons between grazed and mown variants. In addition, comparisons between vine plants defoliated by sheep and by machine will be made.
(responsible partner: Hochschule Anhalt)
We want to create high-resolution soil maps of the demonstration areas (Saalhäuser vineyard, Köppelberg vineyard, and Naumburger Paradies vineyard). In a detailed scale these maps will provide precise information regarding soil type, soil depth, carbonate content, water and nutrient retention capacity. For the mentioned trial sites in the project area, the erosion risk will be estimated and a vineyard-specific risk prediction tool will be developed. On the trial sites Köppelberg and Saalhäuser, specific soil-plant-interactions for comparisons of the different sowing and management variants will be measured.
(responsible partner: Jena Geos Ingenieurbüro)
Effects of different methods for re-vegetation and management of inter-rows in vineyards will be compared concerning their impact on biodiversity and selected ecosystem services: provision (e.g. grape production and quality), regulation & maintenance (e.g. pollination, pest control, water retention capacity, erosion control) and cultural (e.g. education, tourism, aesthetics). Selected indicators are e.g. number of flowering pollen and nectar plants, number of butterflies, hoverflies, and wild bees, different soil parameters, rooting, soil loss, water stress of vine plants, vine vitality, acidity and suger content of grapes, harvest volume). In a second step, we want to include the expected climate change in the equation, calculating the advantages of climate-adapted management measures in vineyards with cost-benefit-analyses.
(responsible partner: Landgesellschaft Sachsen-Anhalt)
In the long-term the success of VinEcoS significantly depends on the efforts to transfer successful tested methods and results. Thus we will implement target group specific events and publications; e.g. workshops and on-site excursions, school lessons in the vineyard, as well as presentations on third-party events.
(responsible: all partners)