Balancing sustainability and productivity: Striving for sustainable vineyard fertilisation

In recent years, winegrowers have observed a significant challenge concerning nitrogen, a crucial element in soil essential for maintaining acceptable grape production. However, nitrogen also poses a substantial contaminating potential due to washing and denitrification.

Efforts to stabilise nitrogen in the soil, keeping it bound for longer in its most readily assimilable form by vine roots, offer a promising solution. This approach could lead to more efficient nitrogen utilisation and less water pollution.

In one of the studies conducted under the NOVATERRA project, we tested the efficacy of Nitrapyrine as a nitrogen stabiliser over two growing seasons in a vineyard plot. We compared the results of standard nitrogen fertilisation (100% N) with those of fertilisation containing 70% N combined with Nitrapyrine, and another treatment using 60% N with Nitrapyrine.

The results obtained over two years in our vineyard have been encouraging. Surprisingly, in plots where 30% or 40% less nitrogen combined with Nitrapyrine was applied, not only was there no reduction in yield compared to 100% nitrogen, but there was even a slight increase in yield. Moreover, analysis of must quality parameters revealed no significant differences between the treatments.