from more cottage-like vineyards to
as the wine industry expands, Freese
said it may become harder to avoid or
affordable to smaller growers.
quality has held up “remarkably well.”
Despite these changes, Freese said fend off disease. That is why he
He attributes this to the region’s
stresses the importance staying “a step
little “pie in the sky” but which is
Another idea—which he admits is a
success in avoiding harmful pests and
already being investigated—is an
electronic nose that would tell growers
diseases. exploration of new technologies and
And it is the development and when to pick. It would require finding
Okanagan that we have been relatively
“We are very fortunate here in the methods for dealing with pests, while
an analog to the human nose and
using it to create perametres to
disease freee — hopefully we can
improving efficiencies and maintaining determine picking time. He said this
continue to keep it that way,” he said,
quality that is of great interest to micro-chip technology would be useful
pointing the infestation of mealy bugs
Freese. In other words, he said, finding in numerous industries from
last year, which was mitigated due to
ways to take the “drudgery out of the restaurants to farmers fields. However,
the timely introduction of a new
work.” he said, the problem would be keeping
believes more growers should employ
One such piece of technology Freese the costs down.
adding that other regions such as Italy
“I think we were lucky,” he said,
is moisture probes. While he said Freese suggested could be explored for
Another area of scientific study
have not been so lucky in battling the
growers will ultimately still have to rely quality improvements in wine is
ravages of disease.
on their own senses, moisture probes
can assist with assessing the site
genomics. Admittedly, however, he
said this is very controversial and
Food Inspection Agency play a role in
While regulations from the Canadian
conditions by telling the grower not many people have strong options on
avoiding such catastrophes here, some
just how to water but when to irrigate. the issues.
of the Okanagan’s good fortune comes
from the valley’s climate and specific
involves pruning technologies and
Another area of interest for Freese
be a compromise there,” he said,
“I’m hoping that one day there will
harvesting. He believes more of these
processes could be mechanized. While
adding however it may be up to the
market to decide. “I think the public
to curb the spread of phylloxera (the
The sandy soil, for example, helped
larger vineyards already machine will decide.”
grafting of vitis vinifera scion onto vitis
harvest up to 80 per cent of their
labrusca was also a major factor). But
vineyards, he said the introduction of
co-ops might make this technology
where he sits on the issue of genomics,
Although he wouldn’t ultimately say
Freese did say his “mind is open.”
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British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2009
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