A Spatial Decision Support System for Expanding Viticulture in Northcentral Kentucky and Southern Ohio

  • Kurtural, Sahap (PI)
  • Strang, John (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


The goal of this project is to provide high-resolution visual tools for potential grape growers, extension personnel and land-use planners to evaluate land for vineyard suitability in northcentral Kentucky and southern Ohio (study area, see Figure 1 in Appendix). Increased awareness of viticulture potential in the study area has increased the demand for analysis of private land suitability for viticulture. Much of the viticulturaly suitable landscape in the study area remains uncharted due to the relative youth ofthe industry. Successful and sustainable viticulture begins with selecting an excellent vineyard site. Site selection is the most important decision a prospective grower makes as the decision will affect the profitability of the vineyard in the study area, where the continental climate proposes a challenge for this industry. The geography of viticulture created its own niche within agricultural geography (deBlij, 1981). Climate, soil and slope are the key physiographic factors in viticulture. Boyer and Wolf (2000) in Virginia, and Kurtural et al. (2005b) in Illinois utilized Geographic Information Systems to evaluate macro and mesoclimates of the terrain using historical climate data and digital elevation models to derive high-resolution vineyard suitability maps. Historical climate data has been used to generate region-wide macroscale maps for spring frost events, length of growing season, and precipitation (Boyer, 1998; Boyer and Wolf, 2000; Badcock, 1998; Kurtural, 2005a). The digital elevation models were also used to conduct surface analysis to derive composite suitability maps for mesoclimate modeling that was composed of absolute elevation, slope and aspect of a given site (Boyer, 1998, Kurtural et aI., 2005b); soil properties and current land-use scheme were also included in these models (Boyer and Wolf, 2000; Kurtural et aI., 2005b ). Youth of the industry coupled with the continental climate is a hindrance to define optimum regions for viticulture based solely on coldhardiness zone maps or soil properties maps that the extension personnel currently use; as the region is prone to advective and radiational freezes on a frequent basis. The specific objectives are to: 1) Generate digital maps of the study area including minimum temperature occurrence, the length of the growing season, heat unit accumulation and the precipitation regime during ripening. 2) Generate digital maps of the study area containing absolute elevation, slope, aspect, soil properties and current land - use classification. 3) Develop a cartographic model that will arithmetically combine the afore-mentioned map layers and create high-resolution digital maps of 'predicted suitable vineyard sites' based on a 100-point score system. 4) Validate the cartographic model by comparing the 'predicted suitable vineyard sites' to existing commercial tree fruit enterprises e.g. apple and peach orchards, and vineyards. 5) Publish the digital vineyard suitability maps on an internet map server where interested parties can view the potential of their land simply by typing the US Postal address.
Effective start/end date7/1/056/30/07


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