Australia’s National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) has launched a new smartphone app to measure and track the development of grapes in vineyards.

Called WineOz Smart Grape, the Android mobile app was designed to track the size and colour of grapes. It was created using funding from Wine Australia.

The app will collect data to help growers and vineyard managers make harvest and vineyard management decisions.

NWGIC’s director and lead researcher Leigh Schmidtke said: “This smartphone app allows growers to quickly measure and chart the colour and size of the berries.

“A probe around the size of a single grape is inserted into the cluster to act as a reference point for size in the app.

“The app will also allow grape growers to make improvements to irrigation.”

“You then take a picture of the grape cluster. The algorithms in the computer programme calibrate the distance from the camera to the berries. The software will also take the probe measurement in pixels then relate it to the size of the surrounding grapes.”

Developed by researchers at Charles Sturt University (CSU), the new app is available for use in the next harvest season.

Wine Australia’s research, development and extension general manager Dr Liz Waters explained that the new application has translated Australian-based research on sequential harvesting into a simple tool.

Dr Waters added: “The app will make it easier for grape growers and winemakers to use objective measures, proven for Australian conditions, to determine the optimum fruit picking window to suit desired wine styles by tracking the evolution of fruit colour (white varieties) or volume (for red and white varieties).

“By measuring berry volume, the app will also allow grape growers to make improvements to irrigation scheduling to control vine water status, which will assist in avoiding berry water loss and shrivel, enhance fruit quality, and improve bunch consistency.”