Vineyard Prospecting

GIS provides many tools to assess a site’s suitability for growing wine grapes. Here are a few of the things I have my Intro to GIS students do for their work on “Vineyard Prospecting in Washington’s Okanogan Valley”. More to come…

Air Drainage


A Relative Topographic Position raster may be used as a proxy for local air drainage. In this image, RED indicates relatively high areas (well drained), BLACK indicates low areas (cold pooling), and WHITE indicates areas transitional between the two. The corresponding break values used here, though arbitrary, are 0.480, 0.525, and 1.000. Learn more about Relative Position in the Topographic Roughness lesson.

Dominant Aspect
Growing Degree Days
Solar Radiation Within a Day (Area)
Geologic Map (parent material)
Extreme Weather Events Potential
Summer/Winter Climate Normals (temp, ppt)
Shoulder Season Frost Hazards (elevation controls)
Soil Survey Unit Descriptions, Management Suggestions, General Suitability
Detailed Soil Mapping w/ Backhoe Pits
Soil Surface Texture
Available Water Capacity Contour Map (inches)
Depth to Restricting Layer/Rooting Depth Contour Map
Zoning & Permitted Uses
Utilities Cost Estimate
Property Boundaries / Ownership
AVA Petition Checklist and example petitions



GIS and Wine Geoscience Canada article LINK
NY Vineyard site evaluation LINK
VT Mesoscale site characteristics LINK
Cold hardiness modeling in WA LINK
Okanagan (BC) wine industry value chain report LINK