Kyle Freedman is a doctoral candidate working with Associate Professors Mark Hoffmann and Ricardo Hernández at North Carolina State University. He recently shifted his focus from Philosophy to Viticulture, and his current research focuses on optimizing supplemental light intensity and rooting conditions in greenhouse-grown containerized grapevines, with the aim of increasing grapevine fruiting capacity and condensing vine establishment in a vineyard into one season.
In pursuit of this research endeavor, GE Current provided supplemental LED lighting systems for the research. Freedman’s aim was to develop a grapevine transplant that can be planted and cropped in the same year in a commercial vineyard. The process of conditioning vines for fruiting is called Precise Indoor Vine Conditioning (PIVC).
In typical production systems, the establishment of young grapevines occurs in the field often beginning with one-year-old bare-root vines. Especially on the East Coast, with colder winters and hot and humid summers, field establishment can be slow. This can be due to weed, pest and disease pressure, damage from animal browsing, as well as unfavorable environmental conditions.
The research team hopes the PIVC system will fill a niche to manipulate grapevine physiology and architecture, and serve growers as well as research as a new platform, potentially reducing a three-year establishment period in a vineyard to a single season.
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