Ramon Pulido has been growing grapes on Mt. Veeder for 34 years. The first 20 years he managed Domaine Chandon's 1200 acres of vineyards on Mt. Veeder and in the Carneros appellation. For the last 7 years he has managed Camalie Vineyards, Konrad Vineyards and Rubissow Vineyards on Mt. Veeder.
His years of experience are evident when you look at his vineyards and see and taste the fruit they produce. The cultural practices used in grape growing have to be tuned to each vineyard and type of grape. It takes years to discover what works best at a particular site. An expert manager like Ramon develops an intuition for what needs to be done but at the same time is always trying different approaches to further improve each vineyard. He also knows his limitations. Water and nutrient status of the vines require quantitative analysis.
Complementary to Ramon's experience is collaborator Mark Holler's expertise in high technology acquired during 25 years of working for Intel Corporation in various roles from Device Physicist to Neural Network Chip Designer to Computer Vision Researcher. Mark's contribution has been to gather data from the vineyard in real time using wireless sensors and make it available in real time on the web. He has also acquired a GIS system and generated scale maps of the vineyard and its features including cultivar and rootstock placements, irrigation layout, topography, vine vigor and infrared imagery. See links below. In addition Mark stays up to date on the latest developments in vitaculture by attending industry forums like UC Davis' "Recent Advances in Vitaculture and Enology" and the Wine and Grape Symposium. Finally, Mark is Camalie Vineyards winemaker, with 10 vintages under his belt he has applied his experiences with the Camalie and Konrad grapes in winemaking to vineyard practices. Being able to control both the grapes and the winemaking enables Camalie to produce a superior wine.
Mark's latest research is into the application of very low cost and low power wireless sensing to the vineyard to enable the placement of dozens of sensors per acre rather than just one or less. More precise soil moisture sensing for irrigation control is his current focus. In 2012 he added valve actuation to the capabilities of the eKo Pro wireless system he sells and supports as owner of Camalie Networks.
Last Edited 9/26/12 M.H.