The Wine growing region in the Texas Hill Country AVA, (9,000,000+ acres), is the second largest Viticultural Area in the US. Rising young entrant into the region, the 290 Vinery, located in Johnson City, decided to tackle vineyard irrigation the smart way. Dedicating their first block of Tannat grapes to sub-surface drip irrigation & smart water technology control, was in line with the choice of plant material to match the growing calcareous conditions.
Caryn Walz & Patty Sipe, friends of the winery, own Plano based Heads Up Sprinkler Co. LLC, a licensed water conservation irrigation repair company. Heads Up donated the parts and installation of the irrigation system by their drip special team. Then teaming up with Rachio, Inc, they installed a really smart controller for the new winery. The controller provides weather station connectivity, ET algorithms, zone specific programming and smartphone accessibility that help complete the successful ground-breaking sub-surface drip layout.
Standard Texas Hill Country AVA irrigation practices generally encompass suspended drip or suspended point-source tubing along vine growing guide wires. This method of application delivers water directly onto the plant and drips onto the ground. Sub-surface drip irrigation delivers water below grade to the root level, minimizing wind drift & water loss due to evaporation. Well maintained sub-surface drip with properly installed pressure regulating drip filter, air relief valves, flush caps and drip indicators, will live up to and exceed manufacturer's warranties of 7 to 10 years. Sub-surface drip reduces maintenance issues from local wildlife because it is buried. Animal damages incurred in above-ground suspended irrigation amount to significant repair time weekly commitments for regional growers, a growing frustration.
With sub-surface drip, the 290 Vinery will reduce irrigation maintenance time and be alerted of real time water scheduling changes. Susan Kirchman & Warren Vilmaire, 290 Vinery owners are thrilled with the instant and accurate irrigation management communication alerts popping up on their cell phones. Susan tells everyone who walks in, "The watering is being managed because of the weather forecast! This is amazing! Look on my phone!" In addition to alerts, Rachio Iro coordinates precision water management -- key to a successful properly designed and programmed irrigation system. Communications explain "what", "where" and "why" -- taking the mystery out of smart controllers. With comprehensive graphics, accurate data and real time communications, Warren plans on growing healthy productive grapes and ultimately producing wonderful wines.
Smart Irrigation is making its way into the Texas Hill Country AVA with fellow regional vintners dropping by to inspect the Vilmaire's success in grape irrigation. Regional interest confirms recent industry Smart Irrigation Market Global Forecast that agriculture application is expected to grow at the highest Compound Annual Growth Rate. Central Texas wineries are leading the way in Smart Technologies!