Harvest Optimization for Hops
Vailmont Vineyards Ltd. is a vineyard service company providing services from design to planting and harvesting of grapes, and it also provides full development and care of hop yards in the Niagara area. This project with Research & Innovation will give Vailmont, and the sector as a whole, a better understanding of the harvesting window for different hops varieties and in turn allow a more efficient harvest and a better end-product. This project is unusual in that Vailmont chose to share the intellectual property to help hops growers across the province.
The increase in craft brewers in the province (and elsewhere) has led to the exponential increase in acreage devoted to hops. Brewers look for different flavour profiles in hops, including the amounts of alpha and beta acids, depending on the style of beer they are making. As hops is a relatively new crop in the province, growers need information on how different varieties perform, and when the optimal harvest time is to maximize the flavour compounds and their potential revenue from the crop. This project will be looking into these factors, for the benefit of both hops growers and craft brewers.
This project was conducted during the 2017 growing season and focused on the twelve different varieties of hops at Niagara College.