BRAD NEWBOLD 0:00
Hello, everybody, and Welcome to We Measure the World, a podcast produced by scientists, for scientists,
JACLYN FIOLA 0:08
Vineyard growers tend to be cutting edge technology users, and they keep up with the scientific literature. And you know, they'll ask me about this article they just found that was published in a scientific journal. And yeah, they're always looking for new ways to try to increase their wine quality. Many, well, I won't say many years ago, but for a while, we thought that the best way to increase your fruit quality was just to limit the amount of fruit. And so if you cut off most of the fruit and just left a little bit for the vine ripened, that would be the best quality.
BRAD NEWBOLD 0:44
JACLYN FIOLA 0:45
But in recent years, we've, we've really found that that's not the case necessarily.
BRAD NEWBOLD 0:51
That's a small taste of what we have in store for you today. We Measure the World explores interesting environmental research trends, how scientists are solving research issues, and what tools are helping them better understand measurements across the entire soil plant atmospheric continuum. Today's guest is Jaclyn Fiola, hydropedologist and PhD candidate at Virginia Tech school of plant and Environmental Sciences. Her current research involves the influence of soil and vineyards in the US Mid Atlantic. She is broadly interested in soil management of specialty crops, soil physical properties, and soil health, and soil and horticulture pedagogy. Today, she's here to talk to us about her vineyard research. So Jaclyn, thanks so much for being here.
JACLYN FIOLA 1:32
Thanks for having me.
BRAD NEWBOLD 1:33
First off, give us a little background into how you got into the sciences or how you got into your field here.
JACLYN FIOLA 1:39
Sure. I started out as a plant science major in as an undergraduate student at University of Maryland. And I thought I wanted to be a plant breeder. Because I liked maths, I liked science, and people told me I should, you know, go into science. And I took a soils class and sort of fell in love with it, and decided I wanted to be a soil scientist. But I also wanted to use my background in horticulture. And so I heard about this thing called terroir, which is this French concept that the place and the soil where a vineyard is where grapes are grown affects the taste of the wine. And I just thought it was really, really cool. And so I ended up double majoring in plant science and soil science, and then coming to grad school specifically for that topic. And so I've spent the past seven years researching how soil influences grapes, and a little bit of how soil influences wine. And so that's how I ended up here at Virginia Tech.
BRAD NEWBOLD 2:51
That's super interesting. So with that history, I mean, that's probably a new term for most of our listeners, terroir. Do you know the history behind that at all, I assume, coming from France, and they've been working with vineyards and winemaking for, you know, for hundreds, if not 1000s of years, do you know where that term came from, or just kind of the history about how that science of the soil and the environment affecting grapes and wine came about?
JACLYN FIOLA 3:15
Yeah, it's actually a pretty old concept. It goes back to two ancient monks, I think in in like the middle ages, in that area of Europe, in Italy, in France. And they, they noticed that where they were growing grapes, affected how it tasted. And so you know, if you grew grapes, at the bottom of the hill, they tasted slightly different than if you grew them at the top of the hill, or, you know, down in some field versus somewhere else that the wine that they were making, because it used to be the monks and religious people who were making the wine back then it affected the taste of the wine. And so through the ages, it sort of developed into this term, I think the actual term terroir refers to land. And there's not quite a direct translation into English, but it refers to soil in the land. But it also is affected, you know, by climate. So the taste of the wine, the effects of the wine are affected by climate, culture, even you know, what variety of grape, are you growing? Does it grow? Well, in your climate? Do people want to eat that? And, you know, what are they eating? So certain places have different types of foods, their diets are slightly different. And so the wine sort of evolved with the culture and the food and certain minds parallel with certain foods. And so it's been a concept for like you said, hundreds, if not 1000s of years, and it's, it's fascinating.
BRAD NEWBOLD 4:51
That is, that's super cool. And maybe we will be able to touch back on that a little bit later, as we get into the discussion here. So you got into vineyard Your project was there a step by step process. So you talked about wanting to be interested in plant breeding, and then you got into soil and then into vineyards and vineyard management. What what caught your eye about vineyards and vineyard management at the beginning there.
JACLYN FIOLA 5:13
I like vineyards and working with vineyards because it's there's a lot of science to it. There's farming and agriculture, but there's also a certain amount of art or luck. And that's especially true here on the east coast, where our climate is, I want to say unpredictable, but it's also variable from year to year. And so it makes something like growing grapes and making good wine very challenging, right. And so we're facing a lot of challenges here that they don't necessarily have in famous wine growing regions, like in Napa Valley or in California somewhere. And I was drawn to that just because it, it's a young industry here, they have a lot of problems. And I felt like with my expertise in soils, I could help them address some of those problems.
BRAD NEWBOLD 6:10
Right? So I myself and not a wine connoisseur. So does this come into play, then when we hear about like a good year, or a good vintage or things like that, if we're talking about you know, the idea and techniques that go into making good grapes or good wines comes from the environment. But humans in the past didn't have as much technology or at least techniques to be able to mitigate for environmental factors. Is this something that modern technology might be able to help with in trying to minimize, like you said, the variability within the environment.
JACLYN FIOLA 6:44
To a certain extent, modern technology can help with that. One of our actually probably our largest concern, definitely on the East Coast, probably everywhere in the world is winter injury of grapevines. So if it gets too cold, or you know, there's an ice storm or something that can devastate a vineyard, it can kill vines, you can lose crop. And that's where technology has really helped. We put when machines, in vineyards, we've learned where to put them on the slope to sort of aid in cold air drainage, just the warmer part of the slope. And some technology has really helped with that. What technology hasn't yet really helped with is the rain. And so on the East Coast, we actually get too much rain here, because in vineyards, there's certain times of the year where you want rain, and there's certain times of the years you don't. And so in the mid atlantic here in Virginia, we talk about 2017 and 2019 as good years because we had sort of a cool, moist kind of spring, and then a dry summer. And then 2018 If you go to any vineyard, or on the East Coast, you'll you know, if you ask for 2018 Fred, they'll just laugh. Just because it was considered a bad year, because it was very rainy, we had our hurricane in the fall, and none of our technology so far has been able to predict hurricanes.
BRAD NEWBOLD 8:28
So let's talk about and I do want to come back to that idea of how things are different over there on the east coast of the United States compared to you know, the West Coast or even elsewhere in the world. We've kind of talked in a broad sense, but what are some of the more specific problems or questions that you're trying to address with your researcher?
JACLYN FIOLA 8:47
Sure, I'm, again looking at vineyards from the soil up, which is different than a lot of people look at them. But through the soil, we're looking at different soil management that we can do to sort of help mitigate the effects of that excess rainfall. And so we're looking at strategies to try to make the water go away or make the water drain faster, but only during certain times of the year when you don't want water. And like I said we're hoping that that will affect the wine quality and so affect the fruit quality and then finally the wine quality.
BRAD NEWBOLD 9:28
So it sounds like vineyard management is a pretty tricky business there that right depending on what variety that you're growing and what is the final purpose you know, are these table grapes are these wine, grapes, other things like that. Can you talk a little bit about plant stress and especially when and when not to stress a vineyard or just kind of the reasoning behind deliberate stressing of your grapes.
JACLYN FIOLA 9:51
Yeah, plant stress is a an interesting topic. Because in vineyards, we intentionally try to stress the grapes. But again only at certain times of year. Um and so usually in the spring when the flowers and the baby fruit are developing, we don't want to stress it. But at fruit set, which is sort of once the fruit is developed, it's been pollinated. And it's about to start developing as a fruit, that's what we call fruit set. That's when you want to start stressing it, because you want the grape vine to put most of its energy into ripening that fruit instead of just growing more grape vine. And so if the grape vine has access to a lot of water, a lot of nutrients, warm weather, it tends to just grow a whole bunch of leaves and vines, and the fruit may not ripen the way we want it to. And so if you stress it at that point, so if you limit the amount of water, maybe limit the amount of nutrients then the vine to personify it gets stressed. And it's like, oh, I need to put all of my effort into reproduction instead of just growing leaves. And that's, that's how we get the best quality fruit.
BRAD NEWBOLD 11:14
Let's talk a little bit about some of the techniques than that you are have been testing out and researching to help with this issue of excess water and excess water availability to the plants. You've talked about their ideas of compacting soils, there's ideas of adding ground cover to compete or water uptake. And then also some less natural means such as using polymers or stearic acid or other things like that, can you go into a little bit more detail about those techniques that you've been trying out?
JACLYN FIOLA 11:43
Yeah, we've been throwing whatever we can at these vineyards to try to make a difference. The traditional ways of getting water out of vineyards include, you know, putting in tile drains and drains in the soil to try to make it drain better. But that's really expensive. And you can't time it. Like I was saying we it's just specific times of year where we really want to stress the grape vines. Cover crops have been pretty well researched on this side of the country. And they actually do a pretty good job. If you plant them right under the vines, they compete with the vines for water and can kind of help limit the growth of the vines. And so they put their energy into the into ripening the berries. But again, that's a lot of management, you can have issues with, you know, little animals living in the cover crops and humidity issues, and then you have to mow them, or cut them somehow you don't want to hit the vines. So it's sort of a challenge. And so we thought, what if we can just prevent the water from getting into the soil in the first place. And that's where we we've been looking into the soil stabilizers, which were developed by the transportation industry to use on dirt roads, and like the edges of highways where they're trying to plant grass, right. So when there's like bare soil, they spray these on them to prevent erosion, to like hold seeds down so that you know grass seeds can germinate. But also on dirt roads, they spray these so that the road is stronger, and the rain just washes off of it and doesn't cause erosion and doesn't make it muddy. And so we thought vineyards are usually on sloping land anyway. Just because they want that extra runoff. They they want the drainage. Okay, and so, yeah, we thought we would try these different substances in vineyards and stearic acid is a natural version of that. It's just naturally repels water. And so we included that as one of our treatments as well.
BRAD NEWBOLD 14:01
We're over here on the eastern side of Washington. And as you drive around Eastern Washington up here in the northwest of the drier parts of the Northwest, you see vineyards along with orchards and other things, but, but you do see vineyards on Yeah, on slopes and hill slopes, it never crossed my mind that Oh yeah. They're probably trying to help with drainage to help out with that. That's super cool to understand. So can you go into a bit more detail about stearic acid specifically, that seems really interesting to have these additives? Because a lot of times in the growers or plant researchers or other things they're interested in surfactants that will help increase soil infiltration, but this is just the opposite. Can you explain a little bit about about stearic acid and what it tries to do?
JACLYN FIOLA 14:01
Sure, so like I said stearic acid is is naturally occurring. You often get it in soils after wildfires, some of like the charcoal and and the stuff that's left over is water repellent and one of those is this long chained. Acid stearic acid that just naturally repels water. And then the the other soil stabilizers we're using are just co polymers. So similar, you know, long chains of change molecules that just naturally repel water. And like you said, most of the time in agriculture, we're trying to increase infiltration. And in vineyards, there are times when we would want to do that. But the benefit of these substances, hopefully, is that we can control the timing when they're applied. And then if there's an issue, you know, if we're in a drought, or if we need water to get to the vines, we can do something about it.
BRAD NEWBOLD 15:44
Right, right. Yeah, I was gonna ask you about the timing of application, like you said, there's within the various seasons in the growing stages that you would need to apply it. But then also, is there a necessary removal of that as well, for the next season? Does that become an issue?
JACLYN FIOLA 15:58
We're not sure yet! That's a great question! And that's one of our research questions is: How long do these last and vineyards because, you know, in vineyards, you still have tractors going up and down the roads, and you have workers walking on it. And, you know, we have a lot of rain here. So how much rain does it take to wash this away eventually, and we still don't know the answer to that we have some results. But so far, we we think that they're lasting at least a couple of weeks, if not a couple of months. And so the thought is to apply these right after fruit set, like I said, so once we see those little tiny green berries, and we want to start stressing the vines, we can apply it and then we think the efficacy, the water repellency sort of decreases about the time when we want it to which is when the very start to change color. So usually that's late summer about right now, actually in August in Virginia. And so if the if the soil is still shedding water, if the materials are still working, and the vines are too stressed, you can go through and till under the vines, just go through with a hoe and, you know, make sure that water can get under, or you can turn on your irrigation and just overwhelm the system and make sure that the vines are getting some amount of water with kind
BRAD NEWBOLD 17:31
of the the wetter environments. You mentioned irrigation, out here in the arid West irrigation is a big deal right? I would assume it's not as much back east, I would assume there's still some but but maybe not as much with it being as humid and wet an environment. Is that a correct assumption?
JACLYN FIOLA 17:46
You're absolutely correct, most vineyards here do not have any irrigation installed, a few do and young vines, especially in their first couple of seasons often do need some amount of irrigation. So for those, if anyone wants to start a vineyard on the East Coast, I do recommend putting an irrigation just in case for your young vines. And if there ever happens to be a really bad drought. But in general, we're completely rain fed, which is what makes it challenging because on the west coast and in dry areas, sorry, in dry areas, where they're they're growing grapes. If you want to stress the vines and give them less water, you can just turn off your irrigation and then turn it back on when you want them to have water versus here where we're totally dependent on rain. We can't just turn it off.
BRAD NEWBOLD 18:39
Right, right. Yeah, there are pros and cons to both right. So in dealing with trying to figure out the amounts of you know, infiltration and water availability, and those kinds of things, what are what are some of the measurements that you're looking at, to really tell you and where you can gauge you know, higher low infiltration and water content, water availability, that kind of thing?
JACLYN FIOLA 19:06
Well, the first thing we do is characterize the soil. And so soils will have different capacities to hold the water and different different rates at which the rain will go into them. And so in our study, we we've looked at soils with different textures, we looked at sandy soils, which rain will go into them very quickly, but it tends to drain out pretty quickly as well. And so it doesn't hold on to that water that the vines can then access later. Versus a lot of our sites in the mid atlantic tend to be pretty clay-ey. And so water might not infiltrate as quickly into the soil, but once it does, it tends to stick around for a while. And so that's one of our big questions. So we've installed some of METER. Water volumetric water content sensors so, so the amount of water in the soil, and we've monitored that over time to see what the water content of the soil is doing. And then the big thing we measure is infiltration rate. And so we've used a couple of different methods for that, including those fun little Mini Disk Infiltrometers, that METER makes, I love them, so they're adorable. And we've done a bunch of measurements of that. And so just on the soil surface will measure how long it takes for water to move through the surface of the soil into the subsurface.
BRAD NEWBOLD 20:37
What are some of the challenges in trying to take these measurements? Is there an issue with the number of measurements or where you're taking them from? Do you have things that are installed all throughout the season? Are you doing spot checking? You know, how does that that working out for you?
JACLYN FIOLA 20:51
field research is always challenging. Every time I go out in the field, I feel like there's some challenge that I wasn't expecting. We've had our our wires cut a couple times by mowers in the vineyard activity. So that's been challenging to try to keep them just in the field. The other thing I mentioned that vineyards tend to be on sloping lands, measuring infiltration on a slope is much more difficult than measuring it on flat. And so we've sort of had to set up these apparatus ring stands and all this fancy equipment to try to get infiltration measures on this, these little slopes. But then we also have, you know, we have to watch the weather and the spray, schedule the vineyards and try to make sure we're not entering the vineyard when it's just been sprayed. And we want the soil to be a little bit moist when we do the measurements and not too dry. But so trying to get the proper timing to do the measurements is challenging. And then doing enough of them and within a certain amount of period or a certain timeframe, just because you don't want to measure one soil in the morning and one soil in the afternoon. Because even that temperature difference might affect measurements we're getting.
BRAD NEWBOLD 22:15
So what are some of the results that you're seeing from your various projects here?
JACLYN FIOLA 22:21
We've actually had really good results, one of the soil stabilizers has been excellent at reducing infiltration. And so we've we figured out just how to use it in a hand sprayer. So we have a backpack sprayer where you mix water and this material, and then we just sprayed it under the vines and sort of saturated the soil with it and then it it cures. That's I guess, their term for what these do. And it actually turns purple, which is fun. And then once it's cured it, it's completely clear. And the same with the stearic acid. So that actually comes in like a powder or flaky form. And then we dissolve it with water and some soap, and then just spray it under the vines. And the stearic acid just we've had some trouble with the rate, we're not quite sure how much to apply. So we're still working on that. But some of the commercial stabilizers have done really well at preventing infiltration. And we've seen that in the the soils data, the soil water content data as well. The challenge we had last year was, as soon as we applied our treatments, we immediately went into a drought. And so we didn't, we harvested fruit and we checked the quality and looked at fruit chemistry to see if we had made a difference by using these things. And there was there were no differences. And we're pretty sure it's because there was no rain, right or about two or three weeks after we applied them. And so we're repeating the experiment this year. And again, the stabilizers are doing what they're supposed to at the proper time. They're preventing infiltration of rainwater and so we're hoping we'll see some differences in the fruit chemistry this year.
BRAD NEWBOLD 24:17
Cool. Well, good luck with that!
JACLYN FIOLA 24:19
BRAD NEWBOLD 24:21
It's always tough like, like you said, you are at the mercy of the environment and mercy of that, that years of precipitation and and other things.
JACLYN FIOLA 24:31
Yeah, with grapes. We only get one chance per year.
BRAD NEWBOLD 24:34
Right. Yeah yep!
JACLYN FIOLA 24:36
It's a challenge.
BRAD NEWBOLD 24:37
That's probably extending your research out, potentially.
JACLYN FIOLA 24:40
Yeah, but it's fun. You know, I get to work with vineyards and vineyards tend to be great cooperators they're usually really curious and what we're doing
BRAD NEWBOLD 24:49
and maybe this is something you can speak to a little bit as well but I mean usually these vineyards are a pretty large cash crop for a lot of these vineyard managers and and other larger or companies and other things like that. So I would assume that they would be wanting to invest a bit more into, you know, r&d when it comes to vineyard management and the various new technologies that might be coming out to help them increase their crop yield, or how good that vintage might be.
JACLYN FIOLA 25:16
Yeah, absolutely. vineyard growers tend to be cutting edge technology users, and they keep up with the scientific literature. And you know, they'll ask me about this article they just found that was published in a scientific journal. And yeah, they're always looking for new ways to try to increase their wine quality. Many, well, I won't say many years ago, but for a while, we thought that the best way to increase your fruit quality was just to limit the amount of fruit. And so if you cut off most of the fruit and just left a little bit, for the vine to ripen, that would be the best quality. Right? Right. But in recent years, we've, we've really found that that's not the case, necessarily, that you know, getting a good balance between the amount of fruit and the amount of, of green stuff that leaves in the vines is really what gets the quality to be higher. And so looking at the soil, and the varieties and matching the variety to the site, and the soil types are really important. And growers are definitely interested in having those conversations and, you know, testing things, a lot of growers will have their own little research plot where they're testing new varieties, right, and new management techniques. And so, being in viticulture, right now is is really fun, especially here on the East Coast.
BRAD NEWBOLD 26:38
That's cool. That's super fascinating. So what are some of the, I guess practical things that you might be able to suggest to vineyard managers about how they can improve the quality of their products.
JACLYN FIOLA 26:53
We're still working on the soil stabilizers, but it looks like they're, they're definitely working. My my usual advice to, to growers is to keep the soil covered. And so growing cover crops or grass between rows, something that is going to compete for water, hopefully at the proper times of the year, and prevent erosion of the soil. And you can also get, like some negative effects of erosion, even on drainage, you can get like little reels and you know, topography of the soil where it holds water. So you really want to, to be kind. The other big thing that we've been trying to work on is making the vineyards more uniform. And so one small vineyard we usually call a block. So block has like all the same variety of it's managed the same way and in that one block of vineyard. And so within one vineyard block, you can still have variation. And if you're managing it the same way, you might have, you know, different ripening different amounts of growth in vines on the north side versus the south side. And so you can change your soil management within that one block of vineyard to try to make it more uniform. And so that helps with harvest, it helps with management, it's slightly less labor, if you can get really good at it. And so managing your soil properly and strategically, can can really help improve your wine quality and your bottom line.
BRAD NEWBOLD 28:41
We've got a PhD candidate who's been working with vineyards for a couple of for a few years coming up against a tradition of 1000s of years; you mentioned that you felt that growers in the grape world seem to be on the cutting edge of technology. Have you come up against any difficulties in introducing new technologies or anything that where your research and your findings are kind of butting heads with tradition.
JACLYN FIOLA 29:07
You know, I haven't really experienced that too much, at least on the east coast here. And that's one of the benefits of being in a young industry is that we don't have sort of the rules that some other industries may have. We have a few varieties that are very popular, but you know, we don't have to grow certain types of grapes in this region. And in my experience, the growers have been pretty receptive. Traditionally, in you know, the East Coast and the West Coast of the US. You would just have bare soil under the vineyards, the whole vineyard would be bare except for the grape vines. But we've really come a long way. And you know, putting a cover crop putting grass in the aisle rows, you know, to kind of improve soil health and and prevent soil erosion, right. And that's really been adopted in the the East Coast. And it's starting, at least most of the time in the West Coast, we're not just seeing completely bare landscapes with with grape vines planted in them. And so yes, there's a huge tradition of, of wine growing. And Virginia specifically, was the first place in the US where we started growing vineyards. Because Thomas Jefferson was trying to grow grapes, he failed. But he tried and so we have a long history in Virginia of trying to make wine. And in general, everyone seems to be very receptive to new ideas and trying out new things.
BRAD NEWBOLD 30:47
That's good to hear. I was gonna ask also, like, Do you have any special or specific techniques that you're using to help educate growers in the field?
JACLYN FIOLA 30:54
While we do a lot of field days here in Virginia, Virginia Cooperative Extension, which is joint between Virginia Tech and Virginia State University has a bunch of extension specialists and extension agents who can help out in vineyards. And so I've talked to a bunch of them about my research and findings. And we'll have demonstrations and commercial vineyards. The Viticulture industry tends to be very cooperative. Everyone, you know, shares ideas. They're not competing the way some industries are. And so growers will have meetings, sometimes informal industry meetings, and then there's the more formal conferences, where we'll share ideas. I also have a website. It's called soilsom.com like soils, Somalia.
BRAD NEWBOLD 31:45
Okay, all right,
JACLYN FIOLA 31:46
Where I mostly share pictures of vineyard soils, because that's. And then social media is a big thing that I keep in touch with the growers I'm working with as well as different vineyard and soil experts around the around the world.
BRAD NEWBOLD 32:04
Do you see any applications for what you were finding and your research in Viticulture, having any application to the world of agriculture at large?
JACLYN FIOLA 32:16
Yes, I think so. vineyard research is definitely unique in that we're trying to limit water at certain times of the year. But certain other specialty crops are like that as well, Hops have very interesting soil requirements so does cannabis and hemp, which are relatively new crops over here. But even in orchards with apples and pears and peaches, I think it can be useful. And just soil management in general has been changing as we're trying to, you know, sequester carbon and keep our soil health and soil quality really up. And so I think soil management for good water management and nutrient management is is always pretty important.
BRAD NEWBOLD 33:06
Any fun or interesting stories from the field or elsewhere? Do you have any stories of the unexpected, there always seems to be, especially with field research and other things where you got one day and like nothing works, it turns out to be like a Friday the 13th type of situation where just everything goes wrong, or anything funny or exciting?
JACLYN FIOLA 33:25
So one time we were working in a vineyard, and we were trying to measure bulk density of the soil. So like how compact the soil was. And usually you do that with soil cores. And so there's a little core that you pound into the soil and then you dig it out. But these vineyard soils are so rocky that we couldn't get it to work. And so it was me and my undergraduate helper, we were, you know, jumping on this hammer, trying to get some soil out of the ground, and we just couldn't so we ended up using like a butter knife to try to get the rocks out of the soil and measure like the volume of this hole that we had dug and then ended up spilling water all over ourselves. But it was fine because it was a hot day so it was nice. But doing anything in vineyards is remarkably challenging. And we often have the vineyard owners come out and end up helping us try to get the soil samples out of the ground, just because it's so difficult. Doing doing soils research is always challenging, but soils and vineyards are very, very challenging.
BRAD NEWBOLD 34:45
What's your research are you doing blocks that are privately owned are these research vineyards from the university.
JACLYN FIOLA 34:53
Most of my research has been in commercial vineyards I've just reached out to people in the industry and said, Hey, can I come do some research at your vineyard? And so far everyone has said, Yes, we did do some testing of the soil stabilizers and infiltration in the lab and just in a field near the university on university land, but all the vineyard work I've done has been in commercial vineyards.
BRAD NEWBOLD 35:22
That's good to hear. It seems that at least with vineyard management, and viticulture, that there is a good collaboration between researchers and growers themselves, like we mentioned earlier, sometimes depending on the crop or depending on the region or location, you might buttheads between current researchers and growers who have that tradition and things that have worked for them, you know, for dozens, if not decades, or hundreds of years, depending on on the place and the the crop. What do you see in the future for viticulture research and vineyard management?
JACLYN FIOLA 35:52
I think the future is very bright for vineyard research. And we've just sort of scratched the surface on soil management, because not many people are doing that kind of research. And so I think there's a ton more research to do on soil management, but also cover crops and nutrient management. One thing that's come up recently is sulfur management and vineyards. There's a lot of sulfur that we apply in pesticides and fungicides, right, right. But we're also not getting as much sulfur deposition from the air as we used to. And so that's something that's come up because we don't have good guidelines for growers to use for applying sulfur fertilizer and whether or not it's needed, right. Some of my other research for my PhD has been on potassium, and how much potassium the vines need and how to measure it in the soil and how to measure it in the vines. And so there's a lot of really basic research as well as really applied research on, you know, how we can improve our wine quality and try to minimize the effects of those bad years. And so we can figure out how to, you know, reduce the rain, how to, you know, recover from a hurricane or prevent a hurricane. All of that would be really, really useful. And I think there's a lot of room for more research in the future.
BRAD NEWBOLD 37:24
Great. Anything else that you'd like to add or share with the audience when it comes to your research or viticulture at large?
JACLYN FIOLA 37:32
Well, I'm very grateful to all of my cooperating vineyards, and to my group here at Virginia Tech, with my advisor, Dr. Stewart, and very grateful to METER for providing a bunch of the equipment I've been using for the past couple years. I was the winner of one of the fellowships that provided me some of this equipment that I've used over and over and it's been invaluable to my research. So thank you to METER thank you to the vineyards and everyone who's helped with my research.
BRAD NEWBOLD 38:02
Right. Well, thank you, Jaclyn. Our time is up it looks like, um yeah just thanks again Jaclyn, for taking time to share your research with us. It's been super fascinating. And for our audience. If you have any questions about this topic or want to hear more, feel free to contact us at metergroup.com or reach out to us on Twitter @meter_env. And you can also view the full transcript from today in the podcast description. That's all for now. Stay safe, and we'll catch you next time on We Measure the World