Vineyard Field Trial with Biochar and Compost_ 3rd Harvest Report

Here we share the Oasis Vineyard Field Trail with Biochar and Compost, 3rd Harvest Report.  The Executive Summary is pasted below and there’s a link to the full PDF below that.

Biochar and compost applied deep in the soil profile down the planting row has produced an average of greater than 30% yield increase with the same amount of water and fertilizer.  Three harvests, all diligently measured, have provided a robust data set to work with.

Oasis Vineyard, Monterey County

Excerpt from Report

County: Monterey 

Appellation: Monterey 

Vine Type: Pinot Noir 

Executive Summary: Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC) and its several subcontractors initiated the Oasis Vineyard Biochar Field Trial in 2016 to study and document how biochar and compost treatments impact soil water use, soil health, vine growth, harvest yields, and grape quality in a newly planted vineyard outside of King City, CA in the Salinas Valley managed by Monterey Pacific Inc. SEC administered and oversaw this project, funded by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). Researchers from the University of California, Riverside and Pacific Biochar, as well as the winery that has been using the grapes, provided important support. 

This vineyard field trial used several replicates in which biochar and compost treatments were applied separately and in combination during soil preparation activities prior to planting ‘Pinot Noir’ (Vitis vinifera) vines. We observed significant increases in harvest yield compared to that in control plots for both compost and biochar treatments in all three growing seasons: 2019-2021. The highest overall yield resulted from the compost-biochar mixture. Total combined yields for all three seasons were seen in the compost-biochar plots (21.5 tons/acre) compared to both the biochar alone plots (19.7 t/ac), the compost alone plots (20.1 t/ac). In contrast, the control plots produced 15.8 t/ac combined over all three seasons. Increased pruning weights and higher cluster counts were observed for all compost and biochar treatments. Throughout this field trial all treatment plots received the same irrigation regime, demonstrating improved water use efficiency (fruit yield per unit of water applied) in both the compost and biochar treatment areas. 

Results from this field research trial indicate clearly that biochar and compost treatments can improve water use efficiency, vine growth, harvest yields and soil health for vineyards newly planted on low organic matter sandy soils. While the data presented here show trends early in the life of this vineyard, clearly ongoing monitoring is warranted to evaluate the results over its entire 20-year production period. 

Full Report PDF

Link to the full PDF – Vineyard Field Trial with Biochar and Compost, 3rd Harvest Report

Presentation Video now Live

On January 12, Doug Beck and Josiah Hunt presented the field trial information in a webinar that is now available as video on youtube, you can view the video here.  In the webinar, Doug presented valuable information on practical applications not covered in the report.  It is highly suggested viewing!

Pinot Noir

Naturalist by nature