Satellites will map vineyards

Staff reports

Satellite-generated images have helped Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Finger  Lakes Grape Program map roughly 8,400 acres of vineyards in the region and pinpoint where specific grape varieties grow.

Armed with geographic information system technology that relies on satellite views of vineyard blocks, the grape program uses the maps to identify trends and make projections about the region’s grape- growing industry, as well as provide growers with information that helps them plan, manage and protect their crops.

Hans Walter-Peterson, from Yates County Cornell Cooperative Extension and viticulture extension specialist for the grape program, will discuss the project March 4 at the opening session of the 60th Annual Finger Lakes Grape Growers Conference in Waterloo, Seneca County. Also speaking will be Kathryn Boor, Cornell’s new Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Alice Wise from Long Island’s Suffolk County CCE, who will speak on new clones and varieties with emphasis on Chardonnay and Merlot.

According to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the Finger Lakes region has nearly 9,125 acres of vineyards. The grape program plans to map every vineyard in  the region in cooperation with county Soil and Water Conservation agents.

To keep the maps current, the grape program asks anyone who has recently planted or removed a vineyard in the Finger Lakes to call the program’s office at 315- 536-5134.

For more information on the grape program’s advocacy and research, visit cceflgp.posterous.com.