18200 - Viticulture Technique

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Responsible consumption and production Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course provides updated technical and scientific knowledge aimed to identify proper cultivation areas for grapevine  and techniques for designing and managing sustainable vineyards according to agroecology. Students will acquire the ability to perform adequate choices at planting, in young and mature vineyards, in relation to the enological goals, respecting ecosystems and land, by interacting with the stakeholders of the grape and wine chain, landscapes, territories, rural communities. Students will learn to identify, describe and solve agronomical problems through methodologically proper approaches. The theoretical knowledge, together with technical abilities, will facilitate the integration in the grape and wine sectors. The agroecological olistic vision will promote the development of soft skills, useful for formulating critical proposals of "One Health" solutions inspired by Global Citizenship.

Course contents

Vineyard establishment. Grapevine soil and climatic requirements. Pre-planting operations. Windbreaks and dry stone walls. Planting. Main grapevine cultivars. "Resistant" cultivars. Relevance of the choice of rootstocks and cultivars: case studies in nurseries and vineyards. Intercropping between genotypes of Vitis and with other woody crops. Effects of landscape biodiversity. The Terroir: case studies. Grape cultivation in Mediterranean, continental, tropical and subtropical areas. The millstones of the Mediterranean. Historical and heroic vineyards. Establishment of low-cost vineyards. Economic incentives for establishing new vineyards and for young grape growers.  

Nutrition and Fertilization. Physiology of nutrition. Rhizosphere, mycorrhiza, root systems. Flows of nutrients and carbon in the vineyard. Deficiencies and toxicities of minerals. Criteria and strategies for fertilizazion.

Soil management. Tillage. Grassing. Green manure. Mulching. Weeding. Permaculture. Innovative techniques. Intercropping. Evolution of soil management.

Management of water resources. Acquisition, uptake and translocation of water. Soil water availability. Water consumption of the vineyard. Monitoring of vineyard water status. Visual assessment. Response mechanisms to water and other abiotic stresses in grapevine. Rootstocks and varieties with high water efficiency. Agronomic techniques aimed to reduce water consumption and increase tolerance to water stress. Irrigation strategies and techniques. Bioirrigation.

Winter and summer pruningCriteria and techniques for pruning young vines. Technical aspects associated to grapevine physiology. Vine reactions to different pruning practices. Criteria and techniques for pruning mature vines. Branched pruning. Bud fertility and bud load. Summer pruning practices and their physiology. Mechanical pruning.  

Training systems and vine distances. Main training systems. Description and pruning. Criteria for choosing the training systems in relation to cultivar, environment, agronomic techniques. efficient use of natural resources. Criteria for choosing vine distances. Behaviour and performances of the main training systems. Conversion of training systems. Training systems for mechanical harvest.

Ripening disorders and strategies for their prevention. Strategies for contrasting the effects of the climate change and abiotic stresses on vine physiology and reducing the uncoupling between berry technological, phenolic and aromatic maturity. 

Harvest. Choice of harvest time and techniques. Chemical and sensorial analysis of berries. Manual and mechanical harvest. Tasting of products of different territories.

Agroecological, organic and biodynamic viticulture. Principles of agroecology. Application of ecological concepts and principles to the management and design of sustainable and -resilient agroecosystems inspired to diversified models of traditional agriculture based on biodiversity. Efficient use of natural resources. Gaining in-depth knowledge on grape, plant and animal biodiversity. Relevance of the landscape matrix. Viticulture and forests. Interactions among plants, humans and animals in agrecosystems and landscape. Role of VOCs in agroecological systems. Assessment of sustainability in viticultural systems. Biodistricts. AgroEcological Lighthouses. Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS): case studies. Development of soft skills and olistic vision, functional to the critical proposal of “One Health” solution inspired by Active Citizenship. AgroEcological Viticulture in the post Covid-19 era. The International Project "Participatory AgroEcology SchoolSystem" (PASS).

Precisione viticulture and advanced analytics. Knowledge and management of spatial/temporal variability. Remote sensing: case studies. The Sentinel satellites. Proximal sensing.


Notes taken at lesson.

Multimedial material available on the teaching platform.

Teaching material available on the website of the Parcipatory AgroEcology School System (PASS).

Updated list of scientific and dissemination papers indicated by the Professor during the course.

Useful to be consulted:

Altieri M.A., Nicholls Clara N., Ponti L., 2015. Agroecologia. Una via percorribile per un pianeta in crisi. Edagricole-New Business Media.

Palliotti A., Poni S., Silvestroni O., 2018. Manuale di viticoltura. New Business Media.

Palliotti A., Poni S., Silvestroni O., 2019. Avversità non parassitarie della vite e cambiamento climatico. Edagricole.


Teaching methods

Classroom and outdoor lessons followed by critical discussion. Seminars for updating and gaining deep knowledge on specific subjects. Field training, production and wine tasting in AgroEcological Lighthouses. Visits to vineyards also in telematics mode. Presentation and discussion of a farm case study (group work).

Assessment methods

The knowledge of the topics presented in the lesson and during the practical activities and the verification of the acquired competences provide a practical test and an oral test.

The practical test takes place in the field and consists in describing the components of the viticultural systems, describing and carrying out cultivation operations, taking motivated decisions about the cultivation interventions considered appropriate in the vineyard. The practical test is outdated if the student proves to know the viticultural systems and their main agronomic problems, to be able to carry out and modulate choices related to vineyard establishment and management.
The passing of the practical test (without voting) confers the suitability, essential requirement to be able to access the oral test. Suitability is valid throughout the current academic year.
The oral test is evaluated by a score in thirtieth. During the oral test the student will address the topics discussed in the lesson (available in the texts recommended for the study and in the didactic material presented) and be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria: (i) knowledge, understanding and deepening of topics covered; (ii) critical and exhibition capacity; (iii) Correctness of technical-scientific language. The oral test may have a maximum score of 30 points, possibly with honors. Knowledge gaps and/or inappropriate language will lead to an insufficient vote.

During the oral test, the student will also present and discuss the farm case study.

Appeals are proposed within the specific windows defined in the course of study and students can book for the oral examination test exclusively using the modalities provided by the online system Alma exams. For any information about how to book, please connect to: https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm.
Students who are entitled can contact the teacher to agree on a possible out-of-call examination.

Teaching tools

AgroEcological Lighthouses, Nursaries and Vineyards, Territorial Networks of Viticultural Farms. Laboratories, Unibo Teaching Platform. Updated scientific and dissemination publications. Posts and video published on PASS website.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Adamo Domenico Rombolà