Published in Good Fruit Grower
By Ross Courtney
October 29, 2020
A Washington State University plant ecologist is trying to take his water-saving subsurface wine grape irrigation system to the market.
While still collecting research data, Pete Jacoby has begun to commercialize his method with a $50,000 university entrepreneurial grant, a fabrication facility in Colfax, Washington, and a few interested buyers in California and Texas, where water demand is higher than in Washington, he said.
Interest in his approach is high “where water is really expensive or rare,” he said.
His subsurface system simply diverts water from a vineyard’s drip system to a line that connects through PVC pipes into the root zone of each vine. This direct-to-the-roots approach allows vines to produce a full crop on 60 percent of normal water with no apparent penalty in subsequent years, according to his research findings.
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