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AGROTHERMAL

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2656 Napa Valley Corporate Drive
Napa
CA, 94558
United States
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(415) 745-2476
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Laura McInerney

Agrothermal Systems®

Agrothermal Systems® Thermaculture® treatment services is a patented, innovative, sustainable technology that applies heat to vines from a tractor-pulled machine to provide astounding and cost-effective results. Heat treatments are applied via the Agrotherm XT™, a tractor-pulled machine which uses its gas-operated, hydraulic fan heaters to generate a hot air stream.

Use Thermaculture to:

  • Assure fruit set and increase yields even in cold, wet weather 
  • Improve wine quality by increasing flavonoids including antioxidants and phenols
  • Decrease overall pest control costs by activating the vines self defense system to disrupt insect and fungal development
  • Reduce moisture to prevent bunch rot and fungal damage after rains
  • Add BRIX late in season when target maturity slows

Contact us at 415.PIK.AGRO or at www.agrothermalsystems.com to learn about our treatment services and machine purchase options.

 

Thermaculture® treatment services


Agrothermal Systems® has pioneered the use of Thermaculture® treatment services, a new methodology for managing crops through the application of heat with substantial, proven results. 

Improve Fruit Set 23%
Thermaculture during bloom has increased fruit set an average of 23% from 2012-2016 trials in over 50 vineyard blocks in California, Washington and Oregon and more recently in Germany and France.

Increase Yields 31%
Increase harvest yields providing more revenue per acre. In 2014, on 12 trial blocks, heat-treatments generated 31% more harvest yield per vine.

Reduce Pesticide Needs 67%
Trials have shown season long Thermaculture treatments in an IPM type program can cut costs by 2/3rds or more, reduce work delays and prevent other unintended environmental and human consequences.

Improve Wine Quality
Thermaculture has been shown to enhance fruit and wine quality through increased antioxident and phenoyl development,

Manage climatic challenges
such as drying off crops after rains, and adding sugar late in the season when target maturity slows. 

 

Heat treatment are applied to plants at various stages throughout the growing cycle through the Agrotherm XT™, a PTO shaft-driven machine to be mounted on a tractor. Developed for the usage in vineyards with row-type crop arrangements, its gas-operated, hydraulic fan heaters generate a hot air stream. While driving between the vine rows, the heated air is directed through the crops.is a propane gas heating system with a venting system.

The machine is pulled through the crop moving at approximately 3.5 MPH (5.5 KPH). The fan pulls air into the system the back of each vent, is heated to over 140 ° C by propane gas burners and expelled at a speed of 75-100 MPH (125-160KPH) depending upon the PTO settings.

Agrotherm XT Machine
Agrotherm XT Machine
The Agrotherm XT™ is a PTO shaft-driven machine to be mounted on a tractor. Developed for the usage in vineyards, cane berries and orchards with row-type crop arrangements, its gas-operated, hydraulic fan heaters generate a hot air stream. While driving between the vine rows, the heated air is directed through the crops.
Marty Fischer - CEO - Agrothermal Systems discusses Thermaculture treatment services
Marty Fischer - CEO - Agrothermal Systems discusses Thermaculture treatment services
Dr. Doug Gubler Sees “Promising” Powdery Mildew Control with Thermaculture

Agrothermal Systems® Trials in Sonoma and Napa Cut Fungicide by 50%.

Powdery Mildew, Fungicide, IPM, Integrated Pest Management, Pesticides

"Our replicated trials on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon using heat alternated with fungicide produced the same clean results as a traditional chemical only protocol but reduced fungicide use by 50%," reported Dr. Douglas Gubler, one of the world's leading experts on Powdery Mildew.

Gubler worked with Foley Family Wines to create an IPM program that incorporates Thermaculture heat treatments with less frequent fungicide use. Gubler explained, "This is the first of two years of trials using a specific protocol, but it is clear the potential for heat treatments in combination with fungicides to control Powdery Mildew is very promising and one that growers might seriously consider"

In 2016, Foley Family Wines ran tests at both Sebastiani and Foley Johnson blocks in Sonoma and Napa to evaluate the many portential benefits of Agothermal technology. According to Vineyard Manager, Mark Seifert, “We couldn’t be happier with the results we saw in 2016. Not only did we get higher fruit set and yields on our Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but we cut our pest control costs significantly from what was normally used in our vineyards. Finding sustainable solutions like Thermaculture is very important to our mission at Foley.”

After the successful trials in 2016, Foley family Wines agreed to host Dr. Gubler's trials in 2017 to verify the Powdery Mildew control results they had experienced using Agrothermal Systems technology. In addition, Foley Family Wines expanded their own use of the technology by purchasing 3 machines early in 2017.

According to Gubler, "Powdery Mildew is becoming resistent to various fungicides. This resistance increases, especially in climates and years when a lot of treatments are required. The more you use the greater the resistance conundrum, combined with the global demands to reduce chemical use, creates the need for alternatives. Agrothermal certainly respresents a very different non-chemical approach that provides short term control and has the potential of giving excellent powdery mildew control with fewer fungicide applications. The use of integrated programs such as this combination should reduce fungicide resistance issues and  potentially, provide better overall control."

Powdery Mildew, Fungicide, IPM, Integrated Pest Management, Pesticides

Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems confirmed that the Company has been conducting various insect and fungal disease experiments on wine grapes for several years. "We have known that heat can be used to disrupt most vine dwelling insects and reduce various fungal problems. In 2016, we created our Science Advisory Committee to help us work through the appropriate scientific evaluations," said Fischer. "We have seen impressive results under the scientific mangement of Doug Gubler, Richard Smart and others. There are encouraging trial results from New Zealand, the UK and here in California. I just got back from Israel this week and the work being done there on specific insects and diseases is very positive as to the potential use of Thermaculture on a wide variety of vineyard and general agriculture needs."

Agrothermal Systems is based in Napa, California and is a DBA of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. Agrothermal Systems has pioneered the use of Thermaculture treatment services as a sustainable, low cost technology to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of the technology.


News Archive


Thermaculture® produces impressive fruit set in the UK's Challenging Climate
23 August, 2017

Dr. Richard Smart "Very Happy and Excited" with Agrothermal Trials in UK

"When I joined the effort to study the use of heat treatments on vines last year, I was both sceptical and intrigued with how heat treatments might be used to improve vineyard productivity and reduce pest and disease issues" says Dr. Richard Smart  noted world expert in vineyard canopy management. "After reviewing fruit set sample data on replicated trials of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and examining the trial rows, I'm really very happy with what I see and excited to complete harvest evaluations in September, " continued Smart. "I'm encouraged by these UK results and the potential of this technology to change the way we produce grapes and perhaps other crops."

Art William Tukker, owner of Tinwood Estates  and his Viticulturist, Adam Slate have been working closely to adapt Agrothermal Systems protocols to the unique challenges of growing grapes in the cool wet climate of England. Says Tukker "We decided to get an Agrothermal machine this spring because we wanted to increase our fruit set and ultimately final yields which can be a massive problem in our industry. Agrothermal technology has shown very good yield results for grapevines in other less challenging climates. We started treatments shortly after bud break. Just last week and before veraison we measured bunch weights and berries per bunch and rachis weight and were greatly encouraged to see 41-51% more berries per bunch and 32% greater average bunch weight in our Pinot Noir test rows vs control. What makes these results even more impressive is that this season’s weather during flowering and fruit set was much warmer and drier than normal, so Agrothermal benefits on fruit set might be larger in a normal season" 

Dr. Richard Smart joined the Agrothermal Systems team to chair the Company's Science Advisory Committee in July of 2016 along with Dr. Douglas Gubler, a leading expert in agricultural fungal diseases. According to Agrothermal Systems CEO, Marty Fischer, " Dr. Smart and Dr. Gubler are making significant progress in research efforts on wine grapes. Both men have advanced our knowledge and confirmed many of our earlier research findings and anecdotal experiences regarding the multi-dimensional effectiveness of Thermaculture to improve plant health, productivity and disease control. There will be more news from their viticulture trials as the growing season progresses." Fischer confirmed the Company has experienced rapid growth over the last two seasons and has sold, or placed into viticultural research projects, some 50 machines. In addition to the US, machines are at work in Europe, the UK, Israel, Central America and New Zealand. The Company has also been conducting trials and machine development for other agricultural crops. 

Agrothermal Systems is based in Napa, California and is a DBA of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. Agrothermal Systems has pioneered the use of Thermaculture treatment services as a sustainable, low cost technology to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of the technology.

 


Hot off the press: New answers to an old problem
24 July, 2017

Published in the July/August 2017 edition of The Grapevine MagazineAgrothermal Systems was featured in an article titled “The Heat is On: Grape Growers Look for New Answers to an Old Problem”. Fewer pests, healthier vines, and more grapes at a lower cost are just a few of the benefits highlighted by writer Jim Offner. You can read the an excerpt of the article below or download the pdf

 

The Heat is On: Grape Growers Look for New Answers to an Old Problem

By: Jim Offner, The Grapevine Magazine, July/August 2017

Mark Seifert says he has found a way to save a lot of cold cash by applying heat to his vineyards.

Agrothermal Systems, based in Napa, California, has pioneered the use of Thermaculture treatment services, a new methodology for managing crops through the application of heat with substantial, proven results, the company said. Applied to plants by their trademarked Agrotherm XT, a tractor pulled machine, the heat treatment can by applied at various stages throughout the growing cycle.

Seifert, vineyard manager of Foley Family Wines and Sebastiani Vineyards in Sonoma, California, has found success in Thermaculture trials at two of his vineyards. The results: fewer pests and more grapes at a lower cost.

“We measured increased numbers of berries per bunch, increased bunch weight, increased Brix, clean fruit, and improved phenolics in the grape juice measured in the lab,” Seifert said.

The idea of applying heat to grapevines is relatively recent. The concept was developed and patented by Florencio Lazo, a Chilean grower, in 2006. Lazo came up with an idea to apply heat for frost control then began to experiment with the notion as a potential tool for pest control.

That’s when Marty Fischer stepped in. Fischer, who now runs Agrothermal Systems, says he heard about Lazo’s work and started working with the Chilean grower to develop applications for the idea on commercial ranches.

“Thermaculture...is used for numerous grape crop benefits, including increased fruit set, creating higher levels of phenol and antioxidant, drying off vines after rains,” Fischer says. “Some of our growers have experimented with pest control for both insects and fungus – using heat by itself, and in combination with fungicide. The results have been quite encouraging, and we have begun more scientific examinations of the pest control benefit and protocol experimentation.”

Fischer notes that it has become clear that the heat blast at 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit increases plant surface temperature instantaneously and this leads to a form of thermal shock. The result is higher levels of phenol and antioxidant in the wine.

“These chemicals/ compounds are the flags that the heat has activated the natural self-defense system of the plant,” said Fischer. “At the same time, the heat level is way beyond what insects can withstand if they are in the open parts of the canopy. They heat up and, in some cases, either are damaged or just leave. The smaller the insect, the more it heats up, so tiny insects like mite and thrip populations cease to find their homes in the canopy. Those insects that are large or are protected by bark or other cover are not affected.”

Fungal control is a bit more complex, but some growers report success controlling powdery mildew, especially in rotation with sulfur compounds, Fischer notes.

“This has resulted in some producers being able to cut 50% or more of their fungicide use. We believe that the heat and natural plant self-defense component work together to accomplish this resistance.”

Heat Treatment Saves Cold Cash?

Heat treatment can save growers money, although how much can vary according to grape variety, weather conditions, and other factors. Fischer said, in general, the technology leads to more grapes at harvest time.

“Typically, if you add up the cost of the propane, the cost of the machine depreciated over 100 acres and five years, the cost of labor, the cost of depreciating a tractor and the cost of diesel – and you’re assuming you’re doing 100 acres, it ends up about $30 (per-acre) for everything,” Fischer said. “That would compare to much larger amounts of money for a pesticide treatment because of the cost of the materials. We use roughly three gallons of propane per acre. That’s $5-6 per acre. If you contrast that with the cost of pesticide, you’ll find a very big price difference. And again, it depends on the pesticide you’re using. Sulfur is quite inexpensive, but some of these other [chemicals] are costlier. It’s cheaper per pass. Historically, we’ve done eight to 10 passes per season.”

In addition heat treatments have added about 24% more berries per bunch during the fruit set period, and the average yield is about 16% more.

“So, if you’re a typical vineyard and you’re doing three tons per acre, you could pick four tons – that’s about 15 percent more revenue,” said Fischer.

Seifert says he’s not yet sure about the cost savings, however, he notes, that’s not a “big-picture” consideration. “I think when all things are said and done, there may not be much cost savings, but we had disease-free plants and fruit that rivaled plants that had conventional pesticides applied, and we increased yields and improved wine quality without the use or potential dangers or side effects of chemicals.”

The idea of applying heat to plants might seem discordant to a novice of the treatment system. It’s a relatively safe procedure though, Seifert said.

“The only danger of using heat on the plants might be if the machine operator stopped forward movement of the equipment and were to scorch the plants, or if the operator were to use too high of temperature,” he said.

Seifert also warns that Thermaculture might not fit every ranch in every climate; he only knows that it has worked for him. “We are told that if there are plants that have insects this technology is a good erradicant,” he said. “Fortunately, we have not been able to prove that as of yet because we don’t have too many insect problems.”

Fischer acknowledges that heat treatments might not be an ideal fit for all growers. Not yet, anyway.

“I don’t know where we’ll ever get to the point where it’s 100 percent of a solution for either insects or fungus. If you try to treat fungus in an environment on the East coast or in Canada, where they get more rain, it’s much more complex than trying it in the West coast, where it’s drier. So, there’s much more work that needs to be done,” said Fischer.

Heat can kill insects instantly, but it doesn’t prevent another wave of pests from doing damage. “We don’t leave any killing residue, so if it’s a highly mobile insect, it might come back a second time,” Fischer said.

A Sustainable Solution

Thermaculture is a sustainable system that is suitable to a variety of scenarios, including organic production.

”I think the use of this technology can be expanded in the agriculture industry – not just limited to wine grapes – as it becomes more widely used and experimented with. Because it is a clean technology, there are no known side effects. I would tend to believe there would be no problems in certified organic situations,” Fischer said.

Potentially growers applying heat could get healthier or stronger plants because of the stress response mechanism in the plants as they are heat shocked.

“If anything, I think this technology can be used in a lot of colder climate locations or in years when the weather is cooler than normal to promote growth,” said Fischer.

Seifert believes that Thermaculture will find wider use across the industry, even if it doesn’t push pesticides out of the picture. “In the end, this is another very valuable tool in the toolbox,” said Seifert.

Besides those going on at Seifert’s vineyards, several trials of Thermaculture are underway this season, Fischer said.

“Buoyed by grower experiences, we have initiated several trials this season to evaluate pest-control effects from Thermaculture. These are under the management of well-respected scientists. Thus, we hope to develop effective protocols whereby the effects of heat shock in combination with fungicide can improve overall pest control and with lower levels of pesticide use. In the meantime, our growers are also developing experience with their own experimentation,” said Fischer.

...Read the full article: The Heat is On: Grape Growers Look for New Answers to an Old Problem


Agrothermal Systems® Announces Agroblow™ for Fighting Rain Damage.
19 June, 2017

Agroblow in combination with Agrotherm XT™ provides a one pass process to deliver full Thermaculture® effects in wet conditions.

Dateline: June 15. Napa, CA – Today Agrothermal Systems announced a new machine solution in the battle to fight rain damage on vertically grown crops such as grapes, trellised orchards, cane berries and others. Agroblowis a double-sided fan system that mounts to the front-end of a tractor. Intended as the first part of a sequential treatment, Agroblow precedes the Agrotherm XT machine in order to blow off standing water before the Agrotherm XT heats, and dries off the flower or fruit, and canopy.

 

Agroblow was created to better deal with rain events than is possible with Agrotherm XT alone. The combination helps increase fruit set and protects against mildew and rot development during periods of rain.

 

According to Tim Matson, Director of Field Operations at Agrothermal Systems “In California we rarely have to deal with rain, so our Agrotherm XT can have full effect on dry or slightly damp vines. But, in climates like Canada, Oregon, the UK, Northern Europe, and other cooler, wetter locations, rain can disrupt the effects of heat by blocking heat transfer to the plant surface. The wetness actually can reduce the effect of Thermaculture on fruit set, heat shock and disease control. With the addition of Agroblow, we expect our customers to see much better results in these challenging climates.”

 

The Company also announced an introductory promotional price of $6,000 for Agroblow, now through the first of September. After the first, the list price for Agroblow will increase to $8,750 plus shipping and applicable taxes. There is also an optional hydraulic pillar lift for height adjustments which, costs an additional $1,000.

 

Additional summer specials are also available. According to Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems, “For those who decide to order an Agrotherm XT for delivery by end of year, they can get the Agroblow for only $3,000. This is a heck of an incentive to order Agrotherm XT.” To take advantage of this offer, just visit the Company’s website at agrothermalsystems.com/summer-specials-2017. Certain restriction apply.

 

Agroblow is produced in Wittlich, Germany by Clemens GmbH who also manufactures the Agrotherm XT machine.

 

Agrothermal Systems is based in Napa, California and is a DBA of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. Agrothermal Systems has pioneered the use of Thermaculture as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of the technology.

 

 

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The Proof is in the Glass!
17 May, 2017

Philip Goodband, MW began working with Agrothermal Systems® in 2013. It was clear he could provide an impeccable expertise to evaluate what if anything Thermaculture® treatment services can provide towards wine quality.  Since 2013, Philip has blind taste tested over 50 different wines made from matching blocks of control and heat treated wine grapes and many of these multiple times, and the results are overwhelmingly consistent.

 

These blind tastings most recently have included Foley Family Wines, Windy Oaks Estate and Scheid, all of which you can read, including tasting notes, in the links below:

Foley Family Wines: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon
Windy Oaks Estate: Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay
Scheid: Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Syrah

We asked Philip to write a testimonial to tell the wine world what he has experienced in regards to the impact Thermaculture has on wine sensory perceptions. When it comes to the efficacy of heat treatments on wine quality, the proof is in the glass!

"Since 2013 I have provided Agrothermal Systems with professional, objective, blind taste assessments of wines produced using grapes from Thermaculture treated blocks vs those from untreated control blocks.

My first set of samples came from Adelsheim Estate in Oregon, well known for its vineyard disciplines and attention to quality. The 2012 vintage Pinot Noir bottlings were tasted under strict Master of Wine conditions in the UK from bottles labeled simply A and B. I found a greater expression of fruit and an extra vibrancy in what was revealed to be wine made from treated vines. Blind tastings of subsequent vintages in California, and in Oregon, with the Adelsheim winemaking team further underscored the positive impact Thermaculture was having not only on fruit set but also on the quality of wines produced.

Since then I have blind tasted many wines of all major varieties, made in a variety of locations from cool New Zealand and very cool coastal Santa Cruz, Microvinifications at Fresno University to multi block full scale trials at Scheid Vineyards in Monterey. Most recently premium quality 2016 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Sonoma and Napa have all shown very well indeed.

Tastings made independently and with the winemakers and their teams have consistently shown a positive impact on appearance, better fruit definition and, for the reds a more textured mouth feel which I firmly believe is due to improved levels of antioxidants and balanced tannin structure. Where, in isolated instances no significant difference was noted there was no detrimental effect on overall quality.

 

The tasting journey with Agrothermal has been a revelation, not only due to the pioneering nature of the treatment but most importantly because of the possibilities I see ahead for wine quality and consistency."

Get Started Today

Learn how Agrothermal Systems can help improve wine quality with Thermaculture® treatment services


Achieving successful results despite the weather
05 April, 2017

Jason Domingos, owner of JD Farming Inc, is driven to provide cutting edge technology and cost effective resources to his vineyard services clients. This drive provided Jason with the opportunity to pioneer Thermaculture® treatment services on the Central Coast.

Jason has seen it all, the good, bad, and ugly. If you will recall, 2015 was bad. “First we had damp, cool weather early in bloom, and then the necessary temperatures to have nature set fruit just didn’t happen,” Jason recalled. He decided to treat his crops several times during bloom to make up for the lack of sufficient climatic heat and to assure good fruit set.

Things were going well when the unthinkable (and ugly) happened, over 3 inches of rain in July. While his neighbors all experienced rot, mildew, and fruit drop, Jason was able to dry off his vines with Thermaculture and avoided all of these afflictions.

Despite the tumultuous year, Jason experienced an exceptional harvest, ”we saw over a 40% yield advantage in the 100 acres of heat-treated blocks vs. control blocks where I used conventional viticulture practices.” For comparison sake, his neighbors saw an average of 25% of a normal crop or one third of Jason’s yields.

All 6 varietals responded to Thermaculture. The treated blocks averaged 5.2 tons per acre (tpa) for Syrah, 5.1 tpa for Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.5 tpa for Mouvédre, 4.8 tpa for Merlot, 8.5 tpa for Zinfandel, and 6.5 tpa for Tempranillo.

Now you may be asking yourself, “What about the good years?” In 2014, a great year for yields, Jason provided heat treatment trials at Scheid that averaged over a 30% yield advantage on 7 different varietals. “Good year or bad, this really works...” Jason concluded, “I more than tripled in revenue what I paid for my machine in just one year!”

Marty Fischer, Agrothermal CEO comments, “We love seeing our partners succeed and achieve an immediate return on investment...the ability to protect crops against unpredictable weather is one of the core benefits of Thermaculture, and one that we hope more people will take advantage.”

Jason has really proven that a bad year doesn’t have to be bad, and a good year can be truly great if you are prepared with the right tools in your arsenal. To increase fruit set, yield, and improve wine quality, Jason continues to use Thermaculture® treatment services to treat his own crops as well as his customers acreage.


Foley Family Wines Impressed by Thermaculture™ Trial Results
14 February, 2017

Results showed better yields, less pesticide use and better wine quality 

 

Up in Napa and Sonoma counties, Mark Seifert of Foley Family Wines saw what he considered “amazing results” from Thermaculture trials conducted at two operations, Sebastiani and Foley Johnson in Rutherford. Seifert, who manages 8 vineyards for Foley Family Wines stated “We couldn’t be happier with the results we saw. Not only did we get higher fruit set and yields on our Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but we cut our pest control costs significantly from what was normally used in our vineyards. Finding sustainable solutions like Thermaculture is very important to our mission at Foley.” 

 

Al Wagner, Vice President of Vineyards at Foley Family Wines also shares Seifert’s enthusiasm for what they experienced and is excited about the potential of this new and sustainable technology. “We are off to a great beginning with our evaluation of this technology. Not only did we see yield and pest control benefits, but significant taste advantages were very evident when we blind tasted the wines made from heat-treated grapes compared to control wines from the same blocks. Not only was our viticulture staff impressed but our wine making team also experienced clear preferences for the wines that resulted from this heat treatment process.”

 

The Foley wines were further evaluated for sensory differences by Philip Goodband, Master of Wine who has evaluated sensory differences for over 30 different Thermaculture treated test and matching control block wines since 2013. These include wines from New Zealand, Oregon, Chile and multiple California vintners.

 

According to Goodband, “The Foley Family Wine trials produced the same directional differences between test and control wines as seems characteristic of the Thermaculture differences we have tasted since 2013, though the dimension of the differences seemed greater than most earlier trials. My notes from the blind tasting, to which I’ve later added the Thermaculture and control designations, were as follows;” 

 

Chardonnay 

Thermaculture - Bright well defined fruit with a soft fleshy palate, full and long finish.  High quality Chardonnay. (Clear Pref)

Control - More aromatic with greater apparent acidity, less body and shorter finish. Different enough it seems it could be from a different batch?

 

Pinot Noir

Thermaculture - Great colour vibrancy and definition, very floral aroma, intense floral and fruit on the palate with a lot of sweet fruit, maybe high alcohol could very well be some residual sweetness. (Clear Pref)

Control - Colour darker and less well defined. Nose whilst similar is more earthy and with less intensity. On taste, evidence of CO2 and duller, the tannins in particular seem more rustic and overall the length was shorter.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon

Thermaculture - Even more colour intensity, with a degree of increased richness on the nose, very powerful palate with good balance of key elements and greater length. (Clear Pref)

Control - Very intense colour, vibrant black and red fruits nose clearly very ripe with soft tannins and good length on the palate.”

 

Looking ahead to the 2017 season, Al Wagner and his team have made the decision to purchase three machines from Agrothermal Systems and to expand their trials to three different geographies within the Foley Family Wine operations. “This will provide us with a learning opportunity to see if we can reproduce these kinds of results in different locations and attempt to solve problems specific to each location.”

 

According to Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems, “The Foley Family Wine trials in 2016 were the first time we have incorporated fruit set and wine quality protocols with a pesticide reduction protocol and the results are very encouraging. They show the full scope of benefits that growers can achieve with Thermaculture. We are very appreciative of Foley Family Wines willingness to help prove the scope of benefits Thermaculture offers and look forward to working with them to build their use of Thermaculture in the years ahead.”  

 

 

Agrothermal Systems is based in Napa, California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. Agrothermal pioneered the use of Thermaculture as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of the technology. 


21% increased yields with notably better tasting wines. Demonstrations at World Ag Expo!
08 February, 2017

Please stop by our booth at World Ag Expo and see the new AgrothermXT machine in action. We will be located in the Clemens booth (F6, F8). While you’re there, enter to win our grand prize, a magnum of wine and a Yeti cooler.

 

In 2016, Agrothermal customers saw outstanding results, upwards of 21% increased yields, with notably better tasting wines. Don’t miss out on another potentially amazing season, stop by our booth and learn more about the benefits Thermaculture provides.


Winery has over 20% increase in yield from heat treatments
02 February, 2017

Having experienced several years of yield shortages, Jim Schultze, owner of Windy Oaks Estate in Corralitos, began to seek technology solutions that fit within their sustainable, minimal intervention approach to winemaking.

After discovering Agrothermal systems in an industry magazine, Jim met with CEO Marty Fischer at a tradeshow, who was able to show him the machine first hand and gave a good sense of the technology’s potential. “I was intrigued with the idea of Agrothermal Systems in that it could maintain and improve wine quality while increasing yields. The pest control aspects of the technology also meant that I could potentially reduce pesticides or possibly even chemical free farming.”

Jim then called a number of Agrothermal Systems current customers and concluded that, “If (Agrothermal) works the way other people have found it to work, then even with a 10-15% increase in yield we’d have a realistic payback period of about a year. “

According the Marty Fischer CEO of Agrothermal “Jim and I really hit it off. It’s nice to see a multi-talented entrepreneur who just does everything the way it should be done and approaches the decision-making process with an open mind. Philip Goodband and I visited Windy Oaks along with our CFO Rich Griffith before he bought the machine. When we tasted his wines they were all impressive. It’ll be a challenge to see if our heat treatments can improve upon them”.

Jim decided to purchase a machine and begin treatment on 4 blocks of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. There was a brief learning curve but, Jim and his team found the machine very straightforward. They treated the blocks during flowering, and up to veraison as Agrothermal had recommended. “I perceived a visual difference in terms of cluster size for the heat treated rows vs. the non-treated rows…the heat treated clusters were visibly fuller,” Jim observed.

At harvest, Jim saw increases in yields between 12-31%, with an average of 21%, performing at and above the level they had hoped, “Just that increase in production alone justifies having the machine.” According to Fischer. “I walked the blocks a week before harvest and it was real clear that the treated bunches were bigger and fuller. Jim’s increase is pretty much what we experienced at most other vineyards this year. What’s great is the return on investment for Jim. At $50 plus a bottle, this kind of increase means a lot to Jim’s financial success and that is very nice to see.”

The heat-treated vintage is currently going through fermentation, and both Jim and Marty are eager to try the wine to taste the difference. Marty explains, “A lot of people believe these kinds of increases in yields will reduce wine quality, but we have seen the opposite. The heat treatments shock the vines and we get higher levels of phenol and antioxidant as a result. We have seeing as much as 35% higher yields, and the resulting wine is consistently preferred during blind taste tests vs. control. I for one can’t wait to taste the test and control block wines at Windy Oaks.”

Next season Jim plans to use heat treatment throughout the 16 acre vineyard, and will be testing one whole block without the use of any pesticide sprays. Jim plans that “If the test works well using no spray materials, we will certainly build on that and push the envelope to find the point where we can minimize the use of sprays throughout the vineyard… It would be great to have the pesticide and fungicide benefits in addition to yield benefits.”

According to Fischer, the Company was originally focused on pest control, but found the capability to control pests challenging, especially in cooler wetter climates. “After several seasons of trials, we are very close to two protocols that seem to work well in most climates. These are being tested in New Zealand. If they work well there, they should work everywhere in California.”

Looking into the future Jim sees many benefits, both tangible and intangible, that he hopes to take advantage of. Increasing yields, decreasing pest control, and safely drying off crops after rain are all a part of the sustainable approach the Windy Oaks brand strives to achieve. Jim concludes, “Sustainability is really important and gaining more and more visibility. (Agrothermal Systems) could be a great part of that story and one that consumers would be very responsive to. It will be a part of our future promotional activities if successful.”


Chad Vargas Creates Agrothermal Systems Applications Service for the Willamette Valley
12 January, 2017

Oregon viticulture veteran and experienced Thermaculture™ developer to offer application services and expertise to regional growers

Chad Vargas, President of newly created NewGen Vineyard Services in Newberg, Oregon and Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems of Napa, CA jointly announced their strategic partnership to expand Thermaculture use in the Northern Willamette Valley region. Vargas, in his capacity as Viticulturist and Vineyard Manager for Adelsheim Vineyard began using Agrothermal technologies in 2012 and was one of the initial development partners for this innovation. While Vargas is leaving his fulltime role he will consult for Adelsheim.  Effective January, 2017 he has formed NewGen Vineyard Services to bring the benefits of Thermaculture and other proven new technologies to area growers seeking innovative and sustainable viticulture practices and vineyard management services.

 

According to Fischer “We are delighted to see Chad take the lead for Agrothermal in Oregon since very few people know our technology better. Chad saw the potential benefits of in-field heat treatments in 2012 and was the first to prove its effect on wine quality improvement. Since the 2012 vintage of Pinot Noir, Agrothermal has enjoyed serving Adelsheim heat treated and control block wines to demonstrate the differences Thermaculture can make in wine flavor and aroma. Chad also pioneered the use of heat to dry off clusters after rains and to improve BRIX levels with heat.”

 

Vargas is a well know Viticulturist and involved with many industry groups. He has served as Chair of the Board of Directors for Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE), a third party certifying group of vineyard and winery sustainability. Vargas was honored in 2015 with the Oregon Wine Industry’s Annual Outstanding Industry Service Award. He worked with Adelsheim beginning in 2006 after starting his career with Kendell Jackson and holds BS and MS degrees in Crop Science and Plant Pathology.

 

According to Vargas, “This just seems like a natural step for me to take at this point in my career. Bringing my Vineyard Management experience to other Oregon wine grape growers and introducing them to new technologies like Thermaculture is both exciting and challenging.” In talking about the benefits of Thermaculture, Vargas went on to say “my experience with Thermaculture has resulted in better fruit set that increases yields. Research has shown that heat treatments create abiotic stress and this leads to increased phenol and antioxidants in the wine to enhance flavor and provide greater human health benefits. At Adelsheim we have seen consistent wine characteristic differences from heat treated wines that we prefer in blind tastings over control block wines. This is really exciting technology and it will benefit growers in Oregon’s unpredictable climate.”

 

Vargas will also be working closely with Agrothermal Systems to pioneer the use of heat treatment for other Oregon crops for which past trials have shown grower benefits from the use of Thermaculture. These include cane berries, cherries and various trellised orchard crops. “Chad can be a big help to us beyond wine grapes. We hope to interface him with our various operations and science development efforts in both hemispheres”.  In addition to the US, Agrothermal has equipment in the EU, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa and expects to expand to other parts of the world in 2017 and beyond.

 

Agrothermal Systems is based in Napa, California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. Agrothermal pioneered the use of Thermaculture as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs, manage crop damage from inclement weather events and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of heat treatment for agricultural crops.

 

 


Heat application is now available to growers through Mexico based AgroNatturaliaHeat
27 July, 2016

AgroNatturalia becomes Importer/Distributor of Heat Technology – Thermaculture™ to Mexico and Central America

AgroNatturalia CEO, Adrian Teo Rivera Felix, announced his company’s role as importer/distributor of Agrothermal Systems’ Thermaculture™ technology in Mexico and Central America.  Located in Queretaro, Mexico; AgroNatturalia is well positioned to introduce and distribute this innovative patented technology – Thermaculture, the use of heat application - to growers in this region.  Over the last ten years the company has specialized in supplying ecologically based fertilizers to Mexico, and other Latin American countries. With more than twenty years in the food and agriculture sectors, Mr. Rivera has been involved in the produce industry since 1992, with a background in Plant Science Engineering from ITESM campus Queretaro, and with graduate studies in Post-Harvest of fruits and vegetables from U.C. Davis.  He has been a grower and distributor of fruits and vegetables, as well as, representing numerous USA commodity groups to market their product in the Mexican market.  His main focus, over the past decade, has been his fertilizer company that specializes in working with regional distributors throughout Mexico and the Southern Hemisphere to supply natural and organic certified fertilizers for animal husbandry and crops.

I have an in-depth understanding of the berry and grape grower export issues in Mexico and know that they will be keen to embrace this new technology,” Rivera continues. “This could be a real benefit to the grower as not only will they save costs by reducing the amount of pesticide used on the crop, but it will also help with the exports as pesticide residuals can kill an export program.”  With the announcement, Agrothermal Systems’ CEO, Marty Fischer expressed, “We are excited to have him join our team and look forward to developing this geographic region with Mr. Rivera’s expertise and knowledge.”

 

Thermaculture has been used primarily in the vineyards to manage fruit set and pest control, and has been highly effective in drying off the crop after unseasonable rains.  Recent studies done on wines produced from heat treated grapes showed higher levels of antioxidant and phenol, compounds that aid humans to fight disease and are important contributors to improving wine taste.  Both Messrs. are highly confident that the expansion of Thermaculture will result in a positive outcome for growers in Mexico and Central America.


Noted “Vinedoctor” to further develop Thermaculture for wine grapes
20 July, 2016

July 18, 2016 Walnut Creek, CA: Today Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems, announced that one the world’s foremost viticulturists and widely published wine industry authors, Dr. Richard Smart, will be working closely with the Company to further develop the science of ThermacultureTM, the Company’s patented technology. Thermaculture is credited for improving fruit set, yields, increasing phenol and antioxidant levels in wine grapes leading to better wine flavors and nutritive values as well as helping to reduce pesticide use.

“Richard joins us as a Consultant and at a time when our commitment to wine industry research projects is expanding and our user base is rapidly growing. He brings to us world-renowned research expertise and the knowledge to better apply our technology, for the benefits of grape growers’ worldwide,” says Fischer. “I believe Richard shares our vision for this technology and the potential and dramatic change it can bring to the management of wine grape crops and the potential improvement of wine quality.”

“When I first heard of this technology it seemed too good to be true,” said Dr. Smart, “but the more I studied it and talked with the Company, its users and other scientists it became increasingly clear this could be a sustainable breakthrough the wine industry has been seeking. I want to be an integral part of this revolutionary work.” Dr. Smart (http://smartvit.com.au/)

 

is arguably one of the best-known viticulture scientists in the world, having received numerous industry recognitions and honors. Smart is major author of the classic book Sunlight Into Wine published in 1991 as a guide to winegrape canopy management. It is today one of the widest read viticulture publications in the world. With over 400 articles and publications to his credit, Smart has received two doctoral degrees, one from Cornell University in 1976 and another from the University of Stellenbosch in 1995. He has been a research scientist, educator and consultant who has worked in over 40 wine producing countries in a career spanning over 50 years.

Says Smart, “I’ve studied many approaches and techniques for canopy management to get more sunlight into the canopy to improve yield, wine quality and reduce important diseases. Enter Thermaculture, a novel technique with a different approach with some of the same benefits. The effect of hot air movement through the canopy appears to have significant effects on both disease control and flowering and fruit development as the Company has seen in numerous trials. The concept of instantaneous heat shock is a true innovation. How the plant reacts and our ability to manipulate this response is another fascinating area of study and potential crop management, for wine grapes and other agricultural plants.”

Says Fischer, “We are thrilled to have Richard working with us and know he will help expand our knowledge. His work will help us to improve upon the effectiveness of a technology that is already creating major benefits for growers who are pioneering its use.” One of Dr. Smart’s first projects is to study botrytis control at flowering, work that he plans to initiate this season in the UK. In addition, he will be involved with genomic expression research underway in Bordeaux and several pest control projects in California.

Agrothermal Systems (www.agrothermalsystems.com) is based in Walnut Creek California and is a DBA of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. Agrothermal has pioneered the use of Thermaculture as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on Thermal Plant Treatment for agricultural crops.


Vintners look to HEAT to get any edge on improving yield
07 June, 2016

Vintners are looking to get any edge on improving yield this year. Buckland noted that some growers resort to strategically timing the spread of fertilizer, while others pinch vine tips to energize the vines.

“There are a lot of little tricks and other things we can do to increase our odds,” he said. “In the end, Mother Nature bats last.”

Over at Kunde Family Winery in Kenwood, vintners are attempting a relatively new procedure in which a tractor drives through vines with a heat blower that shoots out a quick blast of heat — up to 350-degree air — to hasten the  ... READ FULL STORY


AgroThermal Systems’ Thermaculture™ Saves Crop from Rain Damage
04 January, 2016

It is either “Feast or Famine” in California’s Central Coast wine country. In July Paso Robles was hit with a heavy thunderstorm dropping two to three inches by noon. AgroThermal Systems’ Jason Domingos, certified Thermaculture applicator, discusses his positive experience using the heat application after this unseasonal heavy rain fall. Improved fruit set, greater harvest yields, sustainable pest control and improved wine quality are a few of the many benefits shown in three years of trials treating the crop with heat. However, with crops getting drenched from this much rain, Jason was concerned about the reduction in his crop due to this damaging rain event.

Severe rain mid-season can contribute to bunch rot and lead to greatly reduced yields “I treated 35 acres of the most disease prone varietals as test blocks and matched the test blocks with non-treated blocks,” explains Domingos. “After making a pass treatment with the Thermaculture unit, I was able to dry out all the rain water with the clusters that were susceptible to bunch rot. This resulted in dropping very minimal fruit with the treated block coming in at 70% of normal, while the untreated was 25% of normal.” By treating for bunch rot, in the treated block, Jason was able to save 50% of his crop that arrived at a savings of approximately $70,000. “That savings more than paid for the machine,” Domingos concluded.

Marty Fischer, Agrothermal CEO, now believes that drying crops off after a rain will be a major benefit to growers facing climate change. “ We saw a similar benefit in Oregon in 2013 when a late season rain was able to be dried off adding some 2-3 BRIX to the harvested crop. There has never been a tool up until now that allowed a grower to combat rain damage. Now Thermaculture provides that capability at a treatment cost for propane of only $4-6 per acre per pass!” continued Fischer “ Fighting rain damage with the unpredictable weather patterns we are seeing is a great additional benefit to the technology’s ability to improve fruit set, wine quality and pest control” From 2012-2015, Thermaculture has produced greater fruit set averaging 24% more berries per bunch on over 35 trials conducted in the US, New Zealand and more recently in Germany and France. “In 2014 harvest yields on 12 US trial blocks showed a 31% increase in harvest yields per vine,” states Fischer.

AgroThermal Systems (www.agrothermalsystems.com) is based in Walnut Creek California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. AgroThermal has pioneered the use of Thermaculture as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on Thermal Plant Treatment for agricultural crops.


Washington State Grower Reduced Pest Control Costs Using Thermaculture
31 August, 2015

Washington State grower Shane McKibben purchased an AgroThermal Systems’ Thermaculture machine early in March with the goal to improve wine quality and was hopeful that he could use heat to reduce chemical applications on his 240 acre vineyard, Les Collines, located in Eastern Washington in Walla Walla. They began treatments shortly after bud break and treated every 7 days covering all of their 240 acres each week.

We were very happy with the early season control of pests especially thrips, mites and powdery mildew,” stated McKibben. “In total we decreased our pest control passes in half and might have done better had it not been for machine and tractor issues that prevented us from frequent enough treatments about mid-season.” McKibben and his viticulture consultant Rick Trumbull calculated that they saved about 75% in expense for each pass when Thermaculture replaced spray. “In addition, you fill up the propane tank and you get 8 hours of uninterrupted treatment with... CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE


Vineyard heating innovation improves fruit set and wine quality
12 August, 2015

Encouraging EU Trial Results for AgroThermal Systems

AgroThermal Systems CEO Marty Fischer, today revealed results from preliminary 2015 trials in Bordeaux France and 2014 & 2015 trials made in Germany. "The results we have seen during a trip to France and Germany in July were very consistent with results from US trials in California and Oregon starting with 2012", stated Fischer. "In France, we saw significant increases in berries per bunch and average bunch weight and in Germany we saw excellent fruit set and tasted three trial and control wines from 2014 trials."

The work in Bordeaux was done at the well-known Chateau Reynon, part of the Denis Dubourdieu Domaines. "We decided to try this new technique to set more fruit on Merlot, a varietal that is always difficult to obtain adequate yields,explained Fabrice Dubourdieu, who manages the various Dubourdieu Estates. We were quite pleased to see fruit set improvement with 20% more berries per bunch and 25% heavier bunches as a result of the heat treatments. This was especially impressive in a year when we had excellent weather for fruit set". Fabrice Dubourdieu considers these results to be preliminary and plans to conduct greatly expanded trials of AgroThermal's Thermaculture in 2016 in cooperation with the University of Bordeaux. "If we can duplicate these kinds of increases next season", continued Fabrice Dubourdieu, "this technology would be a very profitable investment for our wine estates."

In Germany, wines produced from the 2014 trial and control blocks at Oppenheim University were blind tasted by Matthias Porten among others including Marty Fischer. According to Porten, a well-known Enologist, "All three trial wines were preferred over matching controls. The advantages of trial block wines over control were significant as to wine color, aroma, flavor and complexity. I much preferred the wines treated with heat" said Porten.The test wines included Riesling, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Muller-Thurgau (a Riesling and Madeleine Royal Hybrid) originated in Switzerland but are widely grown in Germany.

This season in Germany trials were expanded to the Ludger Veit Winery in Osann-Monzel in the famous Mosel River Valley. According to Marty Fischer, "We saw excellent fruit set on 3 of 4 varietals led by Riesling with 48% more berries per bunch vs. control, St. Laurent with 27% more berries and Chardonnay with 13% more berries." Dornfelder did not react to the heat treatment.The Ludger Veit Winery trials are more focused on wine quality that will be evaluated after harvest and winemaking is completed. According to Fischer, "We are very pleased to see results in Europe that confirm the kind of results experienced in the US since 2012." Clearly the Thermaculture technique is effective in various climates and on most if not all varietals."

AgroThermal Systems (www.agrothermalsystems.com) is based in Walnut Creek California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. AgroThermal has pioneered the use of Thermaculture as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on Thermal Plant Treatment for agricultural crops.


AgroThermal Offers Big Savings on Flash Heat Treatment Machine
26 May, 2015

For a limited time, AgroThermal Systems offers a 15% discount for machine order placed prior to August 30, 2015

With three years of consistent successful trials, AgroThermal Systems offers a 15% discount on machines ordered prior to August 30, 2015.  Expected delivery is December 2015.  This is the machine delivering a new technology, thermal heat applications in the vineyards.   Winemakers involved in the trials have commented on the positive impact it had on enhanced flavor profiles, increased fruit set and pest control.  
By placing your order now, you are guaranteed a price of $39,950 plus taxes, shipping and training.   Regular price on this Clemens built three-point hitch machine (normal retail price - $47,500) with full season vents and 120-gallon propane tank.  Options include early season grape vents at an additional $1,500, Hill Side Stability Wheels (plus $1,500) and a trailer package (Plus $5,000) for highway towing and trailer use.
Shipping charges are charged from CA to your location and training expenses include only actual travel costs for an AgroThermal Systems technician to set up your machine and train personnel on site.

Convenient payment plan:
1) 10% due at order
2) 40% due by August 15th
3) 50% due 15 days after delivery
Alternatively, you can arrange a 5 year lease for as low as $900 a month for orders placed prior to August 30, 2015, with your first payment in January 2016.  Offer available only in the U.S or Canada.

For further information or to place your order call Agrothermal Sales:
Kim Boyarsky - (209) 221-5545
Marty Fischer - (925) 247-4192
RIch Griffith - (519) 565-2684


Rainbow Valley Enterprises Appointed by AgroThermal Systems for Treatment Service
30 March, 2015

Generational Oregon winemaker, Pierre Paradis will provide heat treatment applications in Willamette Valley

 

Dateline: March 27, 2015 Walnut Creek, CA – Today Marty Fischer, CEO -AgroThermal Systems,  announced the selection of Pierre Paradis of Rainbow Valley Enterprises, to the Company’s growing list of certified application services. AgroThermal CEO, Fischer is enthusiastic expressing, “Pierre will play an integral role for AgroThermal, in the Oregon Willamette Valley, working as a certified applicator for the company’s patented technology. He will be responsible for applying Thermal Plant Treatment (TPT) in the vineyards and for helping to develop our growing list of vineyards eager to see the benefits of our technology.”
Pierre grew up on 50 acres of family owned wine grape vineyards, located outside of Silverton, Oregon.  He has broad experience in viticulture having worked in vineyards and wineries in Australia, New Zealand and Chile.  Closer to home, he has worked with some of Oregon’s elite wineries Oregon Winemakers LLC., Adelsheim Vineyard and Goschie Farms.  Three years ago, he launched a custom vineyard farming company, Rainbow Valley Enterprises. “Introducing AgroThermal’s Thermal Plant Treatment technology will be a welcome growth opportunity to my existing services of leaf removal, hedging and hauling service,” says Paradis.  “I am excited to work with AgroThermal and the potential that this new technology can bring to the local winegrowers increased fruit set, pest control, and enhanced wine quality.”    
Recent grower trials conducted in Oregon, during the 2014 seasons have shown for the third consecutive years of trials, that grapes treated with TPT result in consistently greater fruit set and yields and improve the taste and quality of wine.  The company is now proceeding to offer treatment to the broader industry through local custom vineyard farming services like RVE as a way for smaller acreage wine grape growers to access the technology and for larger growers to trial the technology. AgroThermal has similar existing relationships in California with North Coast Vineyard Services of Santa Rosa and JD Farming in the Paso Robles and Solvang growing regions of California.
Marty Fischer is enthusiastic about the growth of the company and looks forward to expanding the heat technology application to other states. “Pierre brings both hands-on vineyard experience and knowledge of growers and the local challenges they face in this area.  His vineyard management experience will be a big asset to AgroThermal as we expand our service capability to this important wine growing region of Oregon,” states Fischer.  
AgroThermal Systems (www.agrothermalsystems.com) is based in Walnut Creek California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. AgroThermal has pioneered the use of in-field heat treatment as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on Thermal Plant Treatment for agricultural crops.


Adelsheim Vineyard 2014 Heat Treated Pinot Noir Given Innovation Recognition
06 March, 2015

AgroThermal Systems Technology Produces Third Year of Preferred Wine

On March 4th, Adelsheim Vineyard poured several demonstration wines for various wine quality techniques it has advanced at its Newberg Oregon winery. These wines were among 20 selected by Wine Business Monthly to feature at its inaugural Innovation+Quality Show held at Charles Krug Winery in Napa. Winemaker David Paige and Head Viticulturist Chad Vargas have been experimenting and expanding their use of the Agrothermal Systems patented thermal heat technology since 2012.

According to Dave Paige, “The 2014 heat-treated Pinot Noir we are pouring at the IQ show expresses the same characteristic differences versus the control wine that we have consistently seen since 2012. The heat-treated wine is more youthful, the tannins are richer and more vibrant, and the wine has a fresher fruit flavor yet still true to the terroir that makes our wines unique. These characteristics are the ones we value in Oregon Pinot Noir and focus to create at Adelsheim Vineyard”. 

Marty Fischer, CEO at Agrothermal Systems, expressed his gratitude to Adelsheim for pioneering this revolutionary treatment in Oregon. “Both Chad Vargas and Dave Paige have helped us enormously, not only to produce wines that we know the technology is capable of creating, but they have helped us understand how to evaluate the differences the technique creates. We are delighted that they submitted the 2014 trial and congratulate their willingness to take the risks associated with this kind of innovation.”      

AgroThermal Systems also exhibited at the IQ show in Napa along with some 80 plus exhibitors and poured Adelsheim 2012 and 2013 Pinot Noir Heat treated and control wines. According to Fischer “It’s hard to argue about whether a technology works when you have three consecutive years of consistent results to taste. We are here to prove our technique to other wineries that seek to improve their wine quality and to realize the other benefits of this sustainable technology.”

In addition to the wine quality improvement, Adelsheim has also realized greater fruit set and yields using the Agrothermal technology. According to Chad Vargas, “We have seen fruit set increases of up to 30% more berries per bunch and though we aggressively drop fruit and thin, we have averaged about an 8% yield advantage. In addition, when it rained at harvest in 2013 we were able to dry off the trial block using the Agrothermal machine and gained about 2 Brix in the process. We are very excited about this technology and each season we learn something new and valuable about the benefits of heat treatment.”

AgroThermal Systems (www.agrothermalsystems.com) is based in Walnut Creek California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. AgroThermal has pioneered the use of in-field heat treatment as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on Thermal Plant Treatment for agricultural crops.


Meet the ATS Team at the Unified Show - Booth D1
16 January, 2015

What is all the talk about using Thermal Plant Treatment in the vineyard?  Come find out about this revolutionary new technology.  It helps to manage pests and save on pesticide use, increases berries per bunch and consistently gives an enhanced flavor to wine, in particular Pinot Noir.   We look forward to discussing your viticulture needs at Booth - D1


AgroThermal Posts New Video with Winemakers Discussing TPT Results
14 January, 2015

2014 marks the third year that AgroThermal has trialed its patented heat technology, Thermal  Plant Treatment in select vineyards.  Hear what winemakers using the technology in trials discuss the positive impact it has had on increase of berries per bunch - on average 30%-40% increase, reduced pesticide use with pest control, richer tannins giving the Pinot Noir a "brighter fruit definition" and the advantages of using the heat treatment in rainy climates, Oregon.

 

Solving Vineyard Problems

Uploaded 4 days ago

 

 

Heating Up The Vineyard


Agrothermal Systems Introduces North America Sales Manager-Kim Boyarsky brings wine industry marketing experience to Agrothermal Systems
10 November, 2014

DATELINE: October 27, 2014 Walnut Creek, CA –Today Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems, introduces Kim Boyarsky  as the newly appointed North America Sales Manager, beginning November 1, 2014. This announcement comes as the company begins to expand operations in both the European and North American markets.

Kim has an extensive background on the supply side of the wine industry.  She has spent ten years in customer development representing packaging and cooperage companies in the wine industry.  For the last three years, she was Territory Manager with Barrel Builders, Inc. in St. Helena, California, where she was responsible for consulting with winemakers on barrel selections for current wine vintages in California, Oregon and Washington.   Ms. Boyarsky commented, “I am pleased to join Agrothermal Systems and bring my expertise to help build the customer base for Thermal Plant Treatment.”  CEO, Marty Fischer added, “As the benefits of Thermal Plant Treatment become well understood in the wine industry, Kim will be a valuable asset for us to develop business with new and  existing clients.”

Kim reports to the CEO, Marty Fisher.  Her responsibilities include growing the customer base for TPT through wine sensory evaluation, customer relations, managing sales/lease of TPT machines and representing the company at trade shows.  Clients can meet Kim at the upcoming Napa Valley Growers Expo on November 13th, along with the Sustainable Ag Expo in San Luis Obispo – November 18th & 19th.

The AgroThermal Systems technology has shown consistent results for improving fruit set, harvest yields, pest control and improving certain wine sensory characteristics in various trials conducted in the US from 2012-2014.

AgroThermal Systems (www.agrothermalsystems.com) is based in Walnut Creek California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. AgroThermal has pioneered the use of in-field heat treatment as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on Thermal Plant Treatment for agricultural crops.


AgroThermal Systems Announces Entry to EU Market - Clemens GmbH to Distribute & Service in EU
07 October, 2014

DATELINE: October 3, 2014. Wittlich, Germany and Walnut Creek, CA – Today Bernd Clemens, Managing Director of Clemens GmbH and Marty Fischer, CEO of AgroThermal Systems jointly announced that Clemens and its network of dealers in the EU will be distributing and servicing AgroThermal Systems equipment throughout Europe and the Middle East starting immediately. Clemens began designing equipment for AgroThermal Systems earlier this year and will be supplying AgroThermal in other markets outside of the EU and Middle East. Machine availability is planned for the Northern Hemisphere 2015 season.
Bernd Clemens stated, “We look forward to a long and productive relationship with AgroThermal and believe we can provide the distribution and service needs to grow this innovative technology quickly and effectively in the EU.” Fischer added “We have seen a great deal of interest for our patented technology in preliminary discussions with wine industry leaders in the EU and the various vineyard problems it can solve. In particular we expect to conduct vineyard trials in Germany, France, Italy and the UK during 2015.” Fischer went on to say that the equipment designs developed jointly with Clemens are a great leap forward from earlier designs  with additional features that make it far easier and more efficient to use.
More details about the equipment will be revealed at the Vinitech Sifel in Bordeaux December 2-4. The AgroThermal Systems technology has shown consistent results for improving fruit set, harvest yields, pest control and improving certain wine sensory characteristics in various trials conducted in the US from 2012-2014. Fischer further said, “We also expect to initiate sales for certain produce crops in the US and EU where we know we can improve fruit quality and reduce growing costs. Having Clemens distributors to service equipment is a big help in our expansion not only to the EU wine industry but also for produce.”
Clemens GmbH (www.clemens-online.com) is an engineering and manufacturer of viticulture and other agricultural equipment that are marketed through an international network of offices and dealers.
AgroThermal Systems (www.agrothermalsystems.com) is based in Walnut Creek California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. AgroThermal has pioneered the use of in-field, patented Thermal Plant Treatment for agricultural crops with a focus on viticulture.



Clemens GmbH To Design and Produce AgroThermal Equipment
22 September, 2014

Dateline: September 22, 2014 Walnut Creek, CA  and Wittlich, Germany – Today Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems and Bernd Clemens, Managing Director of Clemens GmbH jointly announced that they have signed an agreement under which equipment is being designed and manufactured by Clemens for Agrothermal Systems use in the EU and other worldwide markets.
Clemens stated, “We are fascinated by the potential of the Agrothermal patented technology for several promising viticulture applications including reduction of pesticide needs, assuring adequate fruit set and improving wine quality.”  Clemens went on to reveal that they have worked with AgroThermal to establish field trials that are nearing completion in Germany to determine how the technology affects Riesling wine grapes, the primary varietal of Germany.
“Clemens is THE innovator of viticulture equipment in the world today” said Fischer “We are very grateful to be working with them on our next generations of equipment”.  Fischer went on to say that the goals of the next generation of equipment are to produce machines that are grower friendly, easy to operate, durable for agricultural use and flexible for various row widths and planting configurations.
Machine design work has been underway since early June and both companies are planning to produce line equipment for the 2015 Northern Hemisphere growing season. According to Fischer, “the first generation of equipment we have used for trials since 2012 were essentially prototypes. These helped us to understand what features were needed for commercialization of the technology.” According to Fischer “there are other potential synergies between Clemens and Agrothermal that are being discussed”.
Clemens GmbH (www.clemens-online.com) is an engineering and manufacturer of viticulture and other agricultural equipment that are marketed through an international network of offices and dealers.
Agrothermal Systems (www.agrothermalsystems.com) is based in Walnut Creek California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. Agrothermal has pioneered the use of in-field Thermal Plant Treatment on agricultural crops with a focus on viticulture.


Heating Up The Vineyard Creates Sustainable Results
29 August, 2014

Helping Mother Nature by applying Thermal Plant Treatment shows beneficial results from bud to harvest 

tpt-machineEveryone in the business of growing crops understands the importance of adequate climatic heat to bring plants out of dormancy, into and through production. Plant growth, fruit set, yields, photosynthesis, disease development and fruit maturity are dependent upon adequate ambient heat ranges. Heat is a primary, if not THE primary factor, necessary for agricultural success…and up to now it’s the one factor that growers couldn’t control.

Agriculture depends upon the cooperation of Mother Nature to provide necessary heat inputs at the point in time they are needed but she doesn’t always cooperate. Thermal Plant Treatment (TPT) in its most simplistic definition is the application of instantaneous heat (IH) onto crops from an in-vineyard machine. What this technology allows is the opportunity to utilize +200ºƒ IH levels to modify climatic shortcomings and thereby accomplish desired agronomic benefits. The biggest question this budding new technology faced was whether IH could equate to long-term climatic heat delivery. After several years of intensive study and numerous trials, the answer is “yes” in most cases. In other cases we have discovered that the plant can be manipulated by IH to produce its crop with somewhat different characteristics than those achieved by climatic heat. This result of IH is now under intensive study by Agrothermal Systems.

Some of the benefits of TPT that are easily understood include drying off dampness after a rainstorm thereby lessening fungal development and damaging or desiccating insects at their larval, egg or even adult stages. Despite the Infancy of the technology, early scientific study has shown that TPT works in two ways, with benefits to the canopy environment and quality of wine. The technique is relatively new and the actually scientific study of TPT and IH is still in its infancy.

1. Plant Environment: Machine delivered hot air surrounds and blasts through the grape vine canopy at a wind speed that can be varied by machine settings. The momentary blast disrupts and replaces the ambient canopy temperature that the grape vine normally maintains at 70-80ºF. This produces several beneficial effects. First, the wind blows old leaves, twigs and other debris from the canopy thus reducing insect and fungal habitats. Second, the very dry heat blast reduces or eliminates most moisture and humidity within the canopy. Third, microscopic organisms are immediately raised to the air temperature surrounding them. Bacteria, fungus and fungal spores are heated to the treatment temperature, an instantaneous change of more than 100ºƒ.

Remember the old physics principle “little things heat up faster than bigger things”?  Exposed tiny insects, eggs and larva are killed or badly disrupted by the IH blast while bigger insects heat up far less from the brief exposure. The IH change kills or severely damages exposed pests…smaller ones more so than larger ones.

Termites are eliminated by 30 minutes of hot dry air at 120ºƒ. Bed bugs, adult larvae and eggs are killed at 115ºƒ when exposed for 7 minutes. Extermination companies thrive on killing insects as large as termites and hardy as bedbugs with hot dry air.  So why should there be any surprise that +200ºƒ heat kills or greatly damages smaller insects, tiny eggs and larva? In agriculture, it is widely observed that most hardy grape insects head for cover when the ambient heat reaches 95-100ºƒ. Powdery mildew does not develop above 95ºƒ.

One customer just completed a TPT trial of leafhopper crawlers in an organic vineyard. Heat was able to reduce the crawler population to almost zero over 8 weeks, while pesticide took 10 weeks to get the numbers down to that level. If leafhoppers can be managed, just about any insect should be controlled using TPT with the correct temperature and protocol.

2. Plant Systemic:  In addition to affecting the plant environment, TPT creates systemic reactions that are quite remarkable. The grape vine canopy surfaces instantly heat up 15-20ºƒ above ambient. This would not be a big increase if it happened gradually over several hours as would normally occur in nature. The plant regulatory system is accustomed to slowly heating or cooling and it functions normally when heated over time. However, 15-20ºƒ instantaneous canopy surface changes don’t happen in nature, and there are many indications that the vine regulatory system interprets the instantaneous change as a threat and activates its self-defense system.

There are two key benefits we have seen from the plant systemic response to IH; 1) fruit set, defined as number of berries set per bunch, is increased and 2) the taste characteristics of the resulting wines are different.

We have observed fruit set for two seasons (2013 & 2014) using a specific protocol of treatments during bloom in both California and Oregon. Both seasons were warm and drier springs so fruit set was naturally good. Even with good climatic heat, TPT catapulted berries set per bunch an average of +24.3% in 2013 and +23.2% in 2014. This even occurred in a Central Valley California block (+23%) that traditionally yields 8-10 tons per acre! It is no secret that set requires heat and drier weather and that is what TPT provides when it is needed. It will be interesting to see how much fruit set can be pushed when weather gets cool and wet during bloom. TPT can create the ideal effect to set fruit even when Nature is working against that outcome. While some people feel they don’t want big crops, set fruit can always be thinned. But you can’t paste berries onto bunches if the set is weak.

The second effect we see is what we have valued as “better wine”, but that is perhaps not an accurate description. It is more accurate to say that TPT creates “different wine characteristics” than conventional growing methods within the same block. The differences lead to preferences for TPT wines in blind tasting comparisons resulting from their more youthful complexity, fruitier aroma and greater length on the palate.

The first TPT wine was a 2012 Pinot Noir from Adelsheim Vineyard that provided different sensory characteristics versus control block wine. Yet, chemistry analyses showed no differences other than higher resveratrol, an indication of self-defense system activation. Ultimately a different balance of tannin was found. Buoyed by the 2012 wine quality, in 2013 wine making was undertaken at a major University and test wines were produced and analyzed from 12 different treated and 12 matching control blocks (8 varietals) in California. As part of the evaluation, Philip Goodband, a Master of Wine with spectacular global tasting experience led two blind tasting events, one in October and another in December of 2013. Except for 1 of 8 varietals, the TPT wine was preferred over its matching control wine and there were definite sensory differences. There was no doubt that the TPT produced wines with different and preferred characteristics. However, no significant or consistent chemistry differences were evident and therefore it was unclear what was creating the differences that were clearly present in blind tastings.

Adelsheim Vineyards expanded its 2013 trials to two blocks of Pinot Noir. Again different characteristics led to blind tasting preferences for the TPT wines versus control.  The conclusion, thus far, is that TPT produces different wines that are preferred in almost all trials to date…these now number approximately 20 trial wines with matching controls. As to why this is occurring, we only have two possible explanations. 2014 trials will more than double the number of test wines, so learning will continue to expand and answers will eventually be isolated.

In the interim, it is believed that Thermal Plant Treatment creates heat shock that activates the natural self-defense system of the plant. We see this indication from a number of observations including more rapid crop development, bigger more vigorous canopies and higher levels of antioxidants in most, but not all cases. It is perfectly possible that this creates different chemistries that are not measurable by current techniques. The other possible explanation is that TPT grapes are more consistent in ripening and “cleaner” with less fungus and pest issues thereby providing less interference with the pure grape expression. There are also additional theories being explored.

However, regardless of what drives the differences it is apparent that TPT creates very significant differences in wine characteristics and ultimate wine quality preferences. Someday soon we will figure out why! In the meantime, it is clear TPT works and science will eventually provide the answers.


2013 Adelsheim Pinot Noir Treated with Agrothermal Technique Shows Consistent and Significant Taste Advantages
03 July, 2014

Dateline: June 18, 2014 Walnut Creek, CA For the second year runningOregon winery, Adelsheim Vineyard, conducted a blind tasting with Pinot Noir wines made from grapes treated with Agrothermal Systems patented heat technology (TPT).  Adelsheim viticulturist, Chad Vargashas worked closely with Agrothermal Systemsto trial this innovative technology since 2012.  In the first trial year, wine made from heat treated blocks, when compared to control block wine, resulted in a subtle but distinctly different tasting wine with fruitier aroma and a more complex, longer on the palate, youthful taste.  Encouraged by the 2012 experience, Adelsheim expanded its trials to two blocks in 2013. On June 12th barrel tastings of these Pinot Noir treated vs. control blocks have supported the prior year conclusions, showing youthful, bright complexity.  

The June 12th blind tasting was attended by Adelsheim viticulturist, Chad Vargas; winemaker, David Paige and assistant winemaker Gina Hennen.  Agrothermal CEO, Marty Fischer and Master of Wine, Philip Goodband were part of the Agrothermal team in attendance.  Mr. Goodband, wine consultant to Agrothermal, expressed the consensus of the participants regarding the quality of wine treated with TPT, “We were all struck by the difference between the samples, well outside any simple fermentation vat or single cask variation.”  

Aroma, flavor, mouthfeel and color were some of the characteristics used to judge the differences between the three blocks of Pinot noir.  Winemaker, David Paige said “We are seeing a consistent directional difference in the 2012 and 2013 heat treated block wines with that youthful complexity that we look for in Adelsheim’s Pinot noir.” 

This recent blind tastings is good news for Agrothermal Systems and cool-climate wine growing regions.  Oregon occasionally experiences cool rainy weather during bloom, with applications of TPT providing a more consistent fruit set, as well as the potential benefit of a distinctly complex and youthful flavor profile.  Marty Fischer, Agrothermal  CEO stated “ We know that heat treatment can be used to increase fruit set and ultimately yields in  cool-climate wine growing regions like Oregon to assure a decent sized crop, but the biggest benefit from our

2013 trials in both Oregon and California was the consistent change to superior wine quality characteristics”  

Earlier this year Adelsheim Vineyards purchased Agrothermal equipment to expand  its use through  further testing with the 2014 crop.  Chad Vargas said “We are still learning how to perfect this technique, but what we have seen so far is a new vineyard tool with potentially significant benefits.”

For further information on Thermal Plant Treatment and please refer to the AgroThermal Systems website: http://agrothermalsystems.com/  as well as follow ATS on Twitter: http://twitter.com/agrothermal and Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/AgrothermalSystems


WIne Writer Cole Danehower Describes a Day with Adelsheim WInery and AgroThermal System's TPT
29 May, 2014

Hot Air Improves Pinot?

Posted by Cole Danehower on May 22, 2014

Some people think wine lovers are full of hot air—but who knew that the application of a little hot air might make for better wine?

Getting ready to apply the Thermal Plant Treatment to pinot noir vines in the Willamette Valley.

Getting ready to apply the Thermal Plant Treatment to pinot noir vines in the Willamette Valley.

What the grower does in the vineyard has a direct impact on what the wine tastes like in the glass. There was no better example of this than a recent demonstration at Oregon’s Adelsheim Vineyard of an innovative vineyard technique they are helping pioneer.

In the Willamette Valley’s cool climate, winegrowers fight for every advantage they can get. They are, after all, growing wine at the limits of viability. While good years can be perfect for ripening pinot noir, any year can also be perilous—even the best-looking harvest can end badly with the sudden onset of autumn rains in late September or early October. It’s growing on the edge, local winegrowers like to say.

Consequently, winegrowers are constantly seeking new ways to gain a viticultural edge. That was, at least in part, why the Dijon clones of pinot noir were such a viticultural advancement: earlier ripening, of even a few days, can be a deciding factor in any given vintage.

Consistent with this philosophy, Adelsheim has been testing a new sustainable farming technique that seems to offer great promise for pinot noir (as well as other grapes, too). Called Thermal Plant Treatment (TPT), the technique is essentially the strategic application of heated air to the plant.

Sounds simple enough.

AgriThermal's CEO Marty Fischer.

AgriThermal’s CEO Marty Fischer.

Developed originally in Chile and patented as a pest control method for fruit and vegetable crops, the technology has since been broadened into a multi-benefit plant treatment regimen that has particular applications in winegrowing. TPT is now being developed further and marketed by California-based AgriThermal Systems. The company’s President & CEO Marty Fischer and his team have been working with Adelsheim’s vineyard manager Chad Vargas and Dave Paige’s winemaking team to test TPT in the Willamette Valley.

Calling TPT a “technology” seems a little grandiose. The basic protocol is pretty simple. A conventional tractor pulls a specially-designed propane burner and fan cart through the vineyard rows at about 3.5 MPH. The propane system produces air heated up to 300ºF that is directionally blown onto the plant at a force of up to 100 MPH (don’t stand in front of that blast!). In terms of application, there are some refinements (elevation & direction of the blowers, for instance, or time of day and ambient temperature for others), but basically TPT is all about blowing hot air.

And yet from such a simple-seeming process, dramatic benefits can apparently be realized. After a recent demonstration at Adelsheim, a group of winegrowers and media types blind tasted “test” pinot noir—two wines made from similar blocks of the same vineyard, one from a TPT treated block and one from a control, or normally-farmed, block.

You could taste the difference. Most definitely. Granted, it wasn’t a rigorous test, but when poured the two wines side by side, it was a unanimous decision: the wine from the TPT-treated block turned out to be preferred by all.

So what does TPT actually do?

One of the benefits of TPT is to improve fruit set. During the stages of bud development and bloom, the amount of heat the grapevine receives has a beneficial effect on the amount of fruit it will set. Often, weather at this time of year can be unreliable, and temperature and precipitation conditions can reduce the amount of fruit set.

Adelsheim's test block for the Thermal Plant Treatment.

Adelsheim’s test block for the Thermal Plant Treatment.

By using a periodic regimen that applies a blast of 300º F air from the AgriThermal “machine” (as they like to refer to the propane and blower rig) for even a few seconds, 2013 fruit set in 17 test blocks (located in CA, OR, & WA) was increased by an average 24%. In the Adelsheim test block the average bunch rate improved by 17% and the berry count by 18.7% over the control block.

Though there are many variables (including the ambient temperature at the time of TPT application), this is a pretty impressive improvement.

Another important benefit (and one that seemed to incite lots of interest from the other winegrowers in attendance) was pest and disease control. By applying TPT throughout the season, significant reductions in pests seem to be possible. The blast of high heat can disrupt the lifecycle of many pests, and even kill them if exposed directly. At the same time, the heat applications can dry moisture within the canopy, thereby reducing fungal and microbial pressures.

More importantly, it seems that TPT may actually improve wine quality.

That seems like a very big statement, and Adelsheim’s winemaker Dave Paige was unwilling to go quite that far when he presented the TPT-affected wines to the group. What he was willing to say was that in the limited test they conducted in 2012, there were detectable differences in the control and TPT-affected wines—and that he preferred the TPT-affected wine.

Adelsheim winemaker Dave Paige presenting the TPT-affected wine samples.

Adelsheim winemaker Dave Paige presenting the TPT-affected wine samples.

And it was the better wine to me as well. Was it gloriously better? Was it head-turningly better? No, not at all. The differences between the two wines were subtle, though detectable (the TPT-affected wine seemed a bit more layered and bright)—a whole lot of other tests and trials will need to be done over multiple vintages before anyone is willing to stake a claim that “TPT improves pinot noir quality.”

But preliminary indications are positive. Positive enough for Adelsehim to expand their trials a bit further. “At least it did no harm,” said Dave. Adelsheim will add blocks and clones to their trials, and test wines will continue to be evaluated.

So maybe its okay to be full of hot air . . . at least in the vineyard?

 

 


Bunch of Hot Air? by Jessica Cortell
07 May, 2014

Published article from the Oregon Wine Press:

Industry and trade members look on as Kelli Stokely, grower relations for Adelsheim Vineyard, explains the thermal treatments they applied during the growing season.

On April 9, Adelsheim Vineyard and Agrothermal Systems co-hosted a lunch for vineyard managers, wine writers and others to demo equipment used for thermal plant treatment (TPT) in vineyards and to do a blind taste from wines made with and without the treatment. Interestingly enough, all but one person at the lunch preferred the wine from the fruit receiving heat treatment.

The concept is that by blowing hot air (300°F) into the canopy from propane powered jets, you can control pests and diseases without harming the grapevine. More testing is needed this coming season, but early results look promising. Additional intriguing benefits could include improvements in fruitset (number of berries per cluster), changes in phenolic compounds contributing to astringency, mouthfeel and color in wines, more rapid accumulation of sugars and differences in the aroma and flavor profiles.

Chad Vargas, the viticulturalist at Adelsheim, trialed the technology in 2012 and expanded its use in 2013. That year, the Newberg winery executed approximately 10 passes starting at bloom. This year they want to start closer to budbreak to determine the influence on early berry development and phenolics. The tractor can perform the treatment at 3.5 mph and can cover about two acres per hour, depending on the row spacing. The hot air travels at 35 mph through the canopy, takes about 6 gallons of propane per hour and costs about $250 each season for 10 to 12 passes. The idea is that fungicide sprays could be cut in half with this sustainable control method.

Next, we tasted the wines blind. While both wines were very good, there were differences in aromas, flavors, mouthfeel and color. My impressions were that the wine from the TPT vines was more complex, tended toward riper black fruit rather than red, darker color and had improved mouthfeel. These differences would make sense if the TPT advanced development of various aspects of ripening.

Additional benefits might be to use TPT to improve fruitset, particularly in Oregon where we have cool rainy weather during bloom; we have variable yields from year to year due to weather events as well as other factors. Growers in Oregon could benefit from more consistency.  Another potential use could be to dry out fruit after rain events leading up to harvest, such as what we experienced in 2013. 

Speakers at the lunch were Dave Paige, Adelsheim’s winemaker, as well as Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal. Paige stated that his initial assessment with winemaking was simply to determine if the TPT was having any negative impacts on the wines. While the differences are subtle, he was pleased to find that not only were there no negative impacts but that he actually prefers the results. He felt the wine was brighter, more youthful with nice black cherry notes. They plan to expand the treatments to additional blocks but are being cautious in their approach.

Fischer said they have been finding improved wine quality with a trial done at Fresno State. They also found an increase in fruitset of 30 percent but only about a seven percent increase in yield. This could have to do with having more but smaller berries; however, further analysis needs to be done to confirm differences in berry size, seed number and other variables.

Fischer plans to conduct more thorough research this season on how the TPT influences fruitset and how it impacts powdery mildew spores. They plan to improve the equipment design to carry smaller propane tanks with articulating heat vents adjustable for different row widths. They hope to have at least one unit in Oregon this season for use and testing.

Keep an eye out for tractors blowing hot air!


JD Farming Inc. Selected as AgroThermal Systems Treatment Service
27 March, 2014

March 27, 2014 Walnut Creek, CA Today Marty Fischer, CEO -AgroThermal Systems,  announced the selection of Jason Domingos and JD Farming Inc. to the Company’s growing list of certified application services. Domingos is no stranger to agriculture, having been raised in a family of Salinas Valley row crop growers.  He represents AgroThermal with a strong background in vineyard management and is a graduate of Cal Poly where he majored in Ag-Business. During the past ten years Jason founded and managed JD farming, a vineyard management company working with growers in Paso Robles.  Adding the capability to pioneer the AgroThermal heat treatment process to his list of vineyard services provides a welcome growth opportunity.       

Jason will play an integral role for AgroThermal working as a certified applicator for the company’s patented technology.   He will be responsible for applying Thermal Plant Treatment (TPT) in the vineyards and for the sale or leasing of AgroThermal machines. Jason and the AgroThermal team have already begun to sign up growers from Soledad South to Solvang, where Jason will be working.  “I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity,” Domingos commented, “The results the company has seen with TPT treated grapes, increased fruit set, pest control and better quality wine is what attracted me to work with this new technology.” 

Grower trials conducted during the 2012 and 2013 seasons have shown that grapes treated with TPT result in consistently greater fruit set and improve the taste and quality of wine. The company is now proceeding to offer treatment to the broader industry through application services like JD Farming Inc. as a way for wine grape growers to trial the technology. AgroThermal has a similar existing relationship with North Coast Vineyard Services of Santa Rosa that provides application services to growers in the Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino region.

Marty Fischer is enthusiastic about the growth of the company and looks forward to working closely with more vineyards in Jason’s region.  “Jason brings both hands-on vineyard experience and knowledge of growers and the local challenges they face in this area.  His vineyard management experience will be a big asset to AgroThermal as we expand our service capability to this important wine growing region of California,” states Fischer.  

For further information on Thermal Plant Treatment and please refer to the AgroThermal Systems website: http://agrothermalsystems.com/  as well as follow ATS on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ and Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AgrothermalSystems


Final 2013 wine tasting results confirm Thermal Plant Treatment Creates superior wines
09 January, 2014

Dateline: January 9, 2013 Walnut Creek, CA – Today AgroThermal Systems announced results from the Company’s 2013 trial programs involving 8 cultivars from 12 trial blocks in California, Oregon and New Zealand where Thermal Plant Treatment was applied to vineyard blocks throughout the growing season.  Fresno State University then made wine from these trial blocks as well as matching control blocks that were not heat-treated. In October and December the resulting wines were sampled by a panel for taste, aroma and color comparisons of the trial vs. control wines.

According to Marty Fischer, AgroThermal Systems CEO, “The overall quality of wines made from treated grapes exceeded that of the control grape wines and the differences were well defined. In almost all cases the red wines made from heat-treated grapes had greater depth of flavor, length on palate, color and aroma, most notably on Pinot Noirs, but also on Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This was also the first tasting of Chardonnay and it was clear that Thermal Plant Treatment was very effective at producing positive taste advantages for this economically important cultivar.”

In late October and early December, world class wine professional, Philip Goodband MW, together with two senior AgroThermal Systems executives, Marty Fischer- CEO and Rich Griffith-CFO, gathered at Fresno State University for a taste comparison of wines produced from grape cultivars treated with Thermal Plant Treatment versus wines made from matching control blocks. These included four replicated trial blocks of Pinot Noir, two replicated trial blocks each of Merlot and Chardonnay and one replicated trial block each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.

Philip Goodband, wine consultant to AgroThermal, is one of only 300 Masters of Wine worldwide, an international wine specialist who can detect the slightest taste nuances.  He is Chair Of Judges at the International Wine and Spirit Competition.  This competition is seen as the “Olympic Games” of wine tasting with the process taking over six months to judge wines as they are sorted into more than 1,500 categories.

Even at this very early stage of vinification, Mr. Goodband noted the impact on taste, which was more noticeable with the red wines than with the whites. In fact all samples had only just completed fermentation and received one racking.  “These wines have been produced for chemistry analysis and study, so evaluating them over time is not possible, but the flavor characteristics of the wines from treated grapes were in my view noticeably better. In finished wines, these early stage advantages would likely improve with aging to an even greater degree,” commented Mr. Goodband.

Tastings were conducted blind in paired flights by cultivar.  Participants then compared notes and preferences before the identities were revealed. When sampled, two Chardonnays with one block treated with heat from bud break until harvest and the second block from bloom through harvest were very closely matched showing more fruit, good balance and length compared to the control block wine that all participants considered to lack depth.  Sauvignon Blanc and Malbec showed no major differences between the controls and treated.

It has long been noted that grapevines are responsive to heat accumulation for the production and quality of the wine.  This tends to be more pronounced with the red wine grape cultivars due to the tannins in the skin. Mr. Goodband describes an excellent red wine as an orchestra playing an adagio; all has to be in sync to fully deliver, including ripeness in tannins.

Among the red wines tasted, Pinot Noir showed the biggest differences in taste followed by Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The tasting panel concurred that there was a discernible improved taste quality to the reds, in particular with the treated Pinot Noirs and Merlot. All agreed that the Merlot samples had fabulous colors in terms of definition and purity with some marginal differences in depth and intensity.   Stronger fruit intensity and improved tannic structure distinguished the TPT treated Merlot against the control wines. This also held true for Cabernet Sauvignon.  In a blind tasting, the treated Cabernet Sauvignon was unanimously preferred to the control by all three participants with a greater fruit aroma as reflected on the palate and length. 

Marty Fischer expressed great enthusiasm for the taste conclusions of this phase of technology evaluation “We are thrilled that the results from this blind tasting are so conclusive. Most wineries strive to improve wine quality and we have proven that is one benefit that Thermal Plant Treatment can provide. While it is clear we are getting better wine in the glass, Fresno State is working to define why these heat treatments in the field lead to these improvements. We are expecting their evaluations and conclusions in the first quarter of 2014 and looking forward to their analysis.”   

For further information on Thermal Plant Treatment and please refer to the AgroThermal Systems website: http://agrothermalsystems.com/  as well as follow ATS on Twitter: http://twitter.com and Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AgrothermalSystems

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Agrothermal Systems Exhibits at Napa Valley Wine & Grape Expo
07 November, 2013

Agrothermal Systems is pleased to exhibit at the upcoming Napa Valley Wine & Grape Expo, next week November 14. Last year the company was introducing its unique Thermal Plant Technology to the wine industry. This year, the company will have Pinot Noir from recent TPT trials to sample. Attendees will have an opportunity to taste wine from both control and test groups.

"We are very pleased with the results from the TPT trials and are looking forward to hearing feedback from the industry from the Pinot Noir samples," said  Agrothermal CEO, Marty Fischer. 

Agrothermal can be found at booth 326.  For up to date information on Agrothermal follow the company on twitter and Facebook.


AgroThermal Systems Announces Cab Franc Results from Trials Conducted at Mission Estate in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
23 October, 2013

 

 

 

 

Impressive results support previous trial results –  

TPT treated fruit shows higher fruit, smaller berries and better wine

Dateline: October 22, 2013 Walnut Creek, CA-Results from the New Zealand Cabernet Franc Mission Estate wines trials are proving a strong case for the application of Thermal Plant Treatment in vineyards. They are consistent with previous trials conducted in North America during 2012 and show continued developments supporting the effects of Thermal Plant Treatment on fruit set and wine quality.

Wine from both treated and control grapes was produced by the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) at their Hawke’s Bay Campus and Harvest data was provided by Fruition Horticulture, an independent agricultural research company. Harvest data for the Cabernet Franc showed that TPT fruit set averaged 18.4% more berries per bunch and the average berry weighed 18.6% less than control. In addition, the treated grapes had somewhat higher BRIX and lower Acids. According to Dr. Art Dawson, Chief Science officer at AgroThermal Systems “these fruit set results are very consistent with trails we have done in the US during 2012 and 2013 where fruit set in heat treated blocks has averaged 24% more than matched control blocks.”

A chemistry analysis provide by EIT showed that TPT treatments led to a very different wine chemistry when compared to control grape wine with substantial difference in tannins, phenolic and free anthocyanins as shown in the table below.

According to Marty Fischer, AgroThermal CEO, “We have had results in the past showing that TPT changed fruit chemistry, but the EIT data was more dramatic than we had seen in past work. This grape and wine chemistry phenomenon is being studied at Fresno State University using seven varietals from the 2013 North American harvest. We will know a lot more when that data is completed”.  The Company reported earlier this year that Pinot Noir made in 2012 at Adelsheim Vineyards from treated grapes was evaluated by several experts as being different and preferred over wine made from control grapes.

Philip Goodband, Master of Wine, who recently joined the Agrothermal development team to assist in evaluating and defining the taste profiles of wines treated with TPT, provided a taste evaluation of the TPT Cabernet Franc wine.  He is an expert in his field having held senior positions with some of the world’s best know wine producers and served as the wine advisor to the late Queen Mother.  “While both samples were clean, healthy, and in good color, youthful purple in the tint, I find the TPT sample has a greater degree of color and definition, shows greater fruit intensity and length at this stage while possessing a more complete all round balance,” commented Goodband.

“The better viticulture and oenology results from the Mission Estate Cab Franc test provide further support that TPT is an exciting new technology that not only can improve fruit set but can have a dramatic effect on wine quality,” said Fischer. The Company is currently conducting trials in California, Oregon and Washington State and is expecting both harvest and wine assessments toward the end of the year.

For further information on the Mission Estate TPT trial, please contact:  info@agrothermalsystems.com

Lazo TPC Global, Inc., doing business as Agrothermal Systems, is a California corporation formed in January 2007 to develop the global market for thermal technology. The Company holds patents for Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of Thermal technology it has dubbed under the umbrella of Thermal Plant Treatment. 

 

For further information company website: http://agrothermalsystems.com/company/


Agrothermal Systems Announces Early 2013 Results of Wine Grape Fruit Set - 24% Increase
29 August, 2013

Dateline; August 29, 2013, Walnut Creek, CA. –Agrothermal Systems  2013 early season fruit set results continues to support  the effectiveness of Thermal Plant Treatment to advance  fruit set of wine grapes during bloom.  The data shows that TPT increased the number of berries set per bunch by an average of 24% when compared with matched control blocks that did not receive TPT applications. In addition average TPT treated bunch weights showed a 26% advantage over non-treated blocks.

The data was developed in conjunction with The Dawson Company and was gathered from 3-6 weeks after fruit set during July and early August.  Ten different blocks of treated and ten control were sampled using a random technique that led to 30 bunches from each of the 20 blocks being weighed and counted. The varietals tested included Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and Malbec.  These mid season results include all trials being conducted in the Greenfield and King City, area of California but exclude trials underway at customer winery locations in Oregon and Washington.

According to Dr. Art Dawson of the Dawson Company, “These results are consistent, if not better than earlier fruit set trials done in New Zealand, Chile and the 2012 results from Oregon and California. Thermal Plant Treatment simply sets more of the available flowers in wine grape bunches and this should lead to higher yields at harvest”.  The Company has engaged Fresno State University to assess season end yields and to make and evaluate wine from these same blocks. This work will be the second year in which Fresno State University has monitored results that should be available during late 2013.

Marty Fischer, Agrothermal Systems President and CEO, went on to say, “This confirms the fruit set potential of TPT. In both 2012 and 2013 when the entire industry had unusually high fruit set due to favorable weather conditions during the bloom cycle, TPT recorded solid advantages. We believe that during more difficult climate conditions the advantages would be even greater.”

Further early season results including individual varietal responses are available on the Company website: http://agrothermalsystems.com/company/

Lazo TPC Global, Inc., doing business as Agrothermal Systems, is a California corporation formed in January 2007 to develop the global market for thermal technology. The Company holds patents for Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of Thermal technology it has dubbed under the umbrella of Thermal Plant Treatment. 


Philip Goodband-Master of Wine- Joins Agrothermal Systems Development Team
18 August, 2013

                                                                                                   Philip Goodband - Master of Wine                               

Dateline: August 15, 2013 Walnut Creek, CA – Today, Agrothermal Systems announced that it has signed an agreement with Master of Wine, Philip Goodband, of Surrey, UK.  Goodband will use his expert tasting ability and knowledge of Enology to assist Agrothermal in defining the unique taste advantages that its patent pending Thermal Plant Treatment (TPT) provides in creating better quality wines.

According to Agrothermal CEO, Marty Fischer, “Philip helped us to evaluate a 2012 Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Adelsheim Vineyard and was able to differentiate and accurately explain the differences between the test and control wines on a blind basis. We realized that having a world leading Master of Wine as part of our team would add expert validation to the differences we are seeing TPT create in wine quality”.  Having served as wine adviser to the late Queen Mother, Goodband is a Vintners Scholar and one of only 300 Masters of Wine.  Philip Goodband has held senior positions at the top of his profession for many years. He has worked with some of the world’s best-known wine producers and brand owners including Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Constellation Brands and Accolade Wines. He has the distinction of being a former Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, is a Certified Wine Educator for the largest global provider of wine education, the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and is a noted judge of wines serving as Chair of Judges at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in both the United Kingdom and California.

According to Goodband, “I was very impressed by the TPT treated 2012 Adelsheim wine. Both the TPT Treated and Control wines were good, but the treated sample showed improvements in several criteria. The TPT treated Pinot was youthful, bright, well-defined with a lifted nose and a lively zing and greater length to the palate. The cherry fruit showed very well indeed and I particularly liked the increased definition and palate length.” Goodband became intrigued with the potential this new technology possesses for truly revolutionizing both viticulture and wine making. “I want to be part of this fascinating innovation,” said Goodband.

According to Chad Vargas, Production Manager at Adelsheim “In January and again in April we did barrel tasting of the test and control Pinot Noir wine produced during the 2012 crop year and were encouraged by the differences we experienced. The TPT process had some distinct and subtle advantages in the glass and we are now expanding our evaluation of the technology during the 2013 season and are pleased to be designated as a Development Partner for this new approach."

“With some 16 test and control wine parings being developed this season” continued Fischer, “we needed to be able to taste and recognize the in-the-glass and palate differences that chemical analysis frequently fails to characterize. We are delighted to have Philip as part of our development group to assess the wines and provide validity to the technology in this regard.

Lazo TPC Global, Inc., doing business as Agrothermal Systems, is a California corporation formed in January 2007 to develop the global market for thermal technology. The Company holds patents for Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of Thermal technology it has dubbed under the umbrella of Thermal Plant Treatment.  
For further information company website: http://agrothermalsystems.com/company/


Company Reports Growing Interest in Thermal Plant Treatment - 2013 Expanded Heat Treatment Trials Underway
11 June, 2013

 

Walnut Creek, California, (June 6, 2013)- AgroThermal Systems has reason to be optimistic about its revolutionary Thermal Plant Treatment process. Wine growers and universities are taking note of this technology used to increase fruit set and yields and to improve grape quality and chemistry. According to Marty Fischer, AgroThermal President and CEO, “2013 will be a huge step up in proving the numerous benefits of Thermal Plant Treatment thanks to some very large development partners who are testing thermal technology and considering broad adoption of the technology in the years ahead.”  Fischer went on to discuss testing that is taking place with several major wine companies in Washington, Oregon and California. “During 2012 concept testing was limited to a few acres in Napa and Sonoma, CA in order to field test new equipment and to verify fruit set and wine quality benefits. The Company collaborated with Fresno State University researchers as part of a two-year evaluation effort. “In Oregon, Adelsheim Vineyard, one of the leading Pinot Noir brands in the West experimented with the technology,” continued Fischer.

Total acreage that received thermal treatments in 2012 was no more than 5 acres. These concept tests showed thermal technology increased fruit set when applied during bloom and, in some varietals, produced better quality wine. These results led to a much greater interest in TPT on the part of the larger winery companies. While Fischer indicated most of these growers wish to remain anonymous, in just the Southern Salinas valley alone, there are over 30 acres receiving Thermal Heat Treatments and the combined acreage controlled by these growers is in excess of 25,000 acres within California. Testing includes the major varietals tested last season, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc plus initial tests on Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay. According to Fischer, the growers in California are looking for increased fruit set and larger yields and some also want to improve wine quality and chemistry. Fischer is in discussions with Fresno State University to monitor the tests by providing yield data as well as fruit quality and wine chemistry evaluations. Washington State growers have asked

Washington State University to provide evaluations on numerous benefits associated with Thermal Plant Treatment. In addition to fruit set, yield and fruit quality, wine will be made in almost all locations for taste testing and chemistry analysis.

In Oregon, Adlesheim Vineyards is expanding trials after initial test results in 2012. According to Chad Vargas, Production Manager at Adelsheim “In January and again in April we did barrel tasting of the test and control Pinot Noir wine produced during the 2012 crop year and were encouraged by the differences we experienced. The TPT process had some distinct and subtle advantages in the glass and we are now expanding our use of the technology during the 2013 season and are pleased to be designated as a Development Partner for this new approach.” According to Fischer “most growers in Oregon are less interested in increased yields on Pinot Noir as they firmly believe increased yields often lead to inferior wine quality. It was interesting that Adelsheim got a 7% increase in yield on the TPT test block vs. control, as well as an added benefit of superior quality wine. Both parties are very excited about expanding and sharing our knowledge in 2013.”

The company expects to begin obtaining fruit set results by late June and will periodically post updates as results are obtained to the AgroThermal Systems company website.

 


AgroThermal Systems is Featured on AgNe TVideo at the Napa Valley Grapegrowers Field Day
09 May, 2013


Marty Fischer, CEO of AgroThermal Systems, had the opportunity to demo the Thermoblast Machine to attendees at the Napa Valley Grapegrowers Field Day.  Application of heat technology in the vineyards can be viewed by clicking on this link: http://agnetwest.com/2013/05/06/heat-technology-to-control-pests/    Trials on this new application has consistently shown a tendency to manage pest resulting in superior fruit set and increased yields.  Please visit AgroThermal Systems: http://agrothermalsystems.com/ to learn about our new 2013 purchase price and application services.


AgroThermal Systems Hires Field Manager
13 April, 2013

Local vintage high school baseball All League recipient and college baseball Gold Glove award winner assumes new role with innovative wine technology company

Walnut Creek, California, (April 11, 2013) AgroThermal Systems announces a new member of their growing organization in the role of Field Manager, Tim Matson.  Born and raised in Napa Valley, he has a background in irrigation and spray application, as a previous employee with Vineworkes Vineyard. 

Mr. Matson’s role will be responsible for grower relations and as a liaison between the company’s partners, also working closely with Tony Nguyen, Director of Business Development.  “I look forward to bringing my passion, strong focus and energy to this position,” said Matson.  Two things that he is passionate about are agriculture and baseball.  During his college years, he played outfield while attending Santa Rosa Jr. College and Avila University.

As growers come on board with AgroThermal Systems’, Thermal Plant Treatment, Matson will coordinate delivery and set up with the grower, as well as, instruct and monitor the machine applications.   CEO, Marty Fischer stated, “Tim’s role in training growers on the technology and proper equipment use as well as working with growers is crucial to establishing Thermal Heat Treatment  technology. His work is especially important to the success of the company’s wine grape trials that have begun in the Greenfield/King’s City region.”  The wine grape trials are spread over different varieties comprising twenty acres and will be continue through harvest time. Previous trials results have been consistent in the area of managing pest control, improving quality and yield of fruit..

Lazo TPC Global, Inc., doing business as AgroThermal Systems, is a California corporation formed in January 2007 to develop the global market for thermal technology. The Company holds patents for Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of Thermal technology it has dubbed under the umbrella of Thermal Plant Treatment.

For further information company website: http://agrothermalsystems.com/company/

 


AgroThermal Systems Partners with North Coast Vineyard Services to offer
25 March, 2013

AgroThermal Systems announces its partnership with North Coast Vineyard Services to provide Thermal Plant Treatment (TPT) application service solutions to vineyards. TPT is a new technology that has shown promising results on vineyards resulting in increased yields and higher quality fruit.

 North Coast Vineyard Services, located in Santa Rosa, specializes in bringing mechanical solutions to cultural practices in the vineyard.  The company consulted vineyards in the North Coast region since 2008 and serves approximately20 vineyards.   Superintendant Dan O’Callaghan will oversee the TPT application service. “We see this as a perfect addition to our existing business, as we like to be on the cutting edge of vineyard services,” states O’Callaghan.

 Thermal Plant Treatment is proving to be a success with its early adopters. AgroThermal Systems CEO, Marty Fischer expressed his optimistic outlook, “We are excited to partner with North Coast Vineyard Services to provide TPT to more growers and look forward to building our service solutions together.”

 Lazo TPC Global, Inc., doing business as AgroThermal Systems, is a California corporation formed in January 2007 to develop the global market for thermal technology. The Company holds patents for Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of Thermal technology it has dubbed under the umbrella of Thermal Plant Treatment.


Thermal Plant Treatment Application Service
21 March, 2013

AgroThermal Systems is pleased to announce an Application Service to vineyards using their new technology, Thermal Plant Treatment. TPT has been used on Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc showing successful results with increased yields and robust fruit.  

After last season’s promising results, this service has been added due to the strong demand.  Thermal Plant Treatment application service will be available to vineyards in the following counties: Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino. Season long treatment rates vary depending upon acreage and location.

For more information email info@agrothermalsytems.com


AgroThermal Systems Introduces New Technology to Viticulture Industry
22 January, 2013

A multi-purpose technology shows promising results with improving

fruit set, yields and pest control

 

Walnut Creek, California, (January 18, 2013) - A unique patented technology, Thermal Plant Treatment, using heated air expelled from a tractor pulled machine onto crops to help reduce pesticide needs has shown surprising beneficial side effects with improved fruit set, and yields. Since the inception of the technology in 2001, the basic treatment protocol has remained consistent.  The tractor pulled machine moving at 3-4 MPH (5-6KPH) applies heated air, at over 100ºC (215F), at a wind velocity of 85-100 (135-160 MPH) onto crops.

The Thermal Plant Treatment Machine is built exclusively for AgroThermal Systems by American Grape Harvesters of Fresno, California.   The machine is engineered and built to configure the treatment properly onto each crop. The Company has focused sales efforts on wine and table grape crops where it has a longer term history of successful results while developing more experience with bush and cane berries as well as orchard crops such as pears and cherries.

Earlier trials of the technology dating as far back as 2005 indicated potential side benefits beyond pest control.  Some of these side benefits that positively impact the crop are aiding with higher fruit set, when applied at blossom; developing thicker skins on fruit, and drying off crops after rain storms to reduce fungal development.

The technology has been in field trials during 2012 on wine grapes in the Napa Valley, Sonoma and Central Oregon.  Trials have also being conducted in Hood River Oregon on Pears and Cherries, along with additional field trials on blueberries in Central Oregon.

According to CEO, Marty Fischer, “After successful fruit set verification on multiple wine grape varieties, we are launching a sales and marketing effort in California and Oregon to help wine and table grape growers set more fruit on difficult to set varieties.”  Wine is being developed from thermally treated wine grapes as well as non-treated wine grapes from the same vineyards. Wine chemistry and taste testing will be completed early in 2013 and it is expected to be available for public release by February.

The Company expects to continue developing test data for the wine and table grape industry in the years ahead working with leading growers and University experts to further reveal added benefits of the technology and to perfect protocols for various viticulture problems. In addition trials will continue in 2013 on a number of crops including blueberries, cane berries, cherries and pears.

AgroThermal Systems launched  its sales efforts at the recent  Napa Valley Viticulture Fair and Wine Industry Expo in Sonoma County, where they met with many wine growers in the region.

Lazo TPC Global, Inc., doing business as AgroThermal Systems, is a California corporation formed in January 2007 to develop the global market for thermal technology. The Company holds patents for Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of Thermal technology it has dubbed under the umbrella of Thermal Plant Treatment. 

For further information company website: http://agrothermalsystems.com/company/



Contact us at 415.PIK.AGRO or at www.agrothermalsystems.com to learn about our treatment services and machine purchase options.

Title Name Email Phone
CEO & President Marty Fischer marty@agrothermalsystems.com
Chief Technology Officer Art Dawson art@agrothermalsystems.com
Chief Financial Officer Rich Griffith rich@agrothermalsystems.com
Director of Field Operations Tim Matson tim@agrothermalsystems.com
Account Manager Joseph Karakas joseph@agrothermalsystems.com
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Brief benefits of Thermaculture


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Philip Goodband MW talks about his experience with Agrothermal Systems


Agrotherm XT™
The Agrotherm XT™ is a PTO shaft-driven machine to be mounted on a tractor. Developed for the usage in vineyards, cane berries and orchards with row-type crop arrangements, its gas-operated, hydraulic fan heaters generate ...
Agroblow™
The Agroblow™ is a fan unit that mounts directly to the front end of a tractor. The double-sided blower design allows air to be directed onto agricultural crops to remove standing water and excess ...