Planted in 2015, the research vineyard at NIAB EMR will produce its first crop this autumn. This is a critical stage for a young vineyard and a time when soil management becomes even more crucial.
The challenge for UK wine producers, many of whom grow on sloped and/or chalky soils, is to maintain a healthy soil and reduce erosion, these two being amongst the most critical factors affecting the long-term sustainability and profitability of a crop.
Tours of the research vineyard will demonstrate what NIAB EMR is researching, including looking at the effects on soil health, including physical properties, weeds, crops phenology, microclimate, quality and yield, of different soil management practices.
During the tour, visitors to the research vineyard will also be able to assess the impacts of late frosts experienced in 2017 at East Malling. How have they affected the balance of fruits verses growth on the varieties and clones being trialled?
Dr Emma Tilston
Emma Tilston’s research focuses on plant-soil-microbial interactions with the aim of improving sustainability of both soil-based and containerised horticultural systems.
She is specifically interested in the microbial ecology and allied decomposition and nutrient cycling processes occurring near plant roots and in the wider soil.
Dr Julien Lecourt
Julien studies how pre-harvest factors and management affect plant physiology and post-harvest fruit quality. His key research area is developing new growing systems in the orchard by studying how canopy structure affects light interception and resource partitioning in trees. He is also developing research on “new crops”, especially on grapevine physiology.
Julien holds a BSc in Plant biology (Caen University, France), an MSc in Plant Physiology and Biotechnologies (Caen University, France) and a PhD studying the rootstock effect on nitrogen use efficiency in grafted grapevines (University of Bordeaux, France).