NASA research provides out-of-this-world benefit for grape growers

L_102910-cals-wineVirginia’s wine grape industry has really taken off over the past 20 years. Now NASA is helping the state’s grape growers find new ways to meet the growing demand for wine grapes and vineyards.

The agency is using satellite mapping techniques to analyze the best land for planting future vineyards.

“NASA teamed up for this project with the state agriculture department and the Virginia Wine Board,” said Todd Haymore, Virginia secretary of agriculture and forestry. “Grape growers will combine that location data with information about the soil, slope of the land, angle of the sun, frost dates and so on to make a determination about where to plant new vineyards.”

The state’s wine industry has grown into a $750 million-a-year business. State law requires a minimum of 75 percent Virginia fruit be used to label a bottle as Virginia wine, and demand for that fruit continues to grow.

“Just to keep up with the demand, we are seeing many wineries in Virginia using juice from other wine grape-growing states like New York,” said Alexander Morgan, general manager at James River Winery. “This study will help us locate the best place to continue to plant and other places to start production for wine grapes in Virginia. It can be a real game changer for the entire industry in the state.”

Setting up a vineyard can cost up to $16,000 an acre, in addition to the cost of purchasing the land.

The satellite mapping project was conducted from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton. It’s one of several NASA programs that could help Virginia farmers, including a study aimed at improving the efficiency of agricultural water use.

Virginia is ranked fifth nationwide for number of wineries and is the nation’s fifth-largest wine grape producer. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported that wine grape production grew by 17 percent in 2014, thanks to an increase in grape-bearing acres and an improved growing season.



augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.