Boys and Their Toys
Within the last few years, Naggiar Vineyards has become acutely aware of our water shortages and also environmental stewardship. Just about everyone in this business of growing grapes and making wine (especially in California) is aware of just how precious and tenuous the state of our natural resources is. So we are trying to do our part to preserve the integrity of not only our vineyards, but the surrounding area as well.
There are many steps that we have already taken to conserve water and to reduce impact on the environment. We have fine-tuned our irrigation practices to minimize irrigation water loss due to evaporation as well as irrigating only when necessary as opposed to watering on a set schedule. We were able to accomplish this through the use of soil moisture sensors, monitoring water pressure in the vine, using visual cues, and relying on a more well-rounded weather station. We also save water in the winery by using steam to clean equipment, which uses much less water and is less harsh than using a combination of water and chemicals. Our latest coup de grâce is where the “boys and their toys” comes in… introducing, Derek’s- I mean- Naggiar’s new fancy-schmancy, high-tekkie, electrostatic sprayer!
Hurrah! Yay! Yippee!
Wait a minute…
What the heck is an electrostatic sprayer and what does it do?!
The premise behind our new sprayer is simple, yet cutting edge in the vineyard. The electrostatic sprayers produce droplets 1,000 times smaller than those produced by conventional or hydraulic sprayers. After tiny droplets are atomized, they are given an electrical charge and then released and carried deep into the plant canopy in an stream of air. The result provides more than twice the deposition efficiency of traditional sprayers. The electrostatic charge that draws the spray towards the plant is up to 75 times greater than the force of gravity (uh oh- heading into physics territory…danger Will Robinson!) The droplets change direction and move upwards against gravity to coat all of the surfaces of the plants (ok, downgrading from danger to caution). The “wrap around” effect also causes the spray to cling to the surface rather than being blown past the target, drifting away, or falling to the ground. Electrostatic sprayers achieve greater spray coverage by combining air turbulence with tiny, evenly-sized spray droplets. All of this combined saves water, reduces material needed, reduces run-off, and reduces time in the vineyard, which in turn, reduces gas used and man hours. Derek’s favorite benefit is that it creates a lot less drift, thus sparing the beneficial insects in the vineyard. Nuttin’ better than a fun, new, fancy gadget that helps in the fight to improve the environment!