The Portsea Estate in Australia features a beautiful 92-acre farm that was first planted with vines in 2000. It currently hosts 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of vineyards, 1,500 olive trees, and an on-site native nursery. In 2021, the Portsea Estate purchased an additional 25 acres (10 hectares) for their Main Ridge Estate with 13.5 acres (5.5 hectares) of planted vines. By late 2022, the estate had finished planting another 6.5 acres (2.6 hectares) of land.
The Portsea Estate vines were originally planted on hydrophobic, sandy soil that required regular irrigation throughout the growing season. Unlike other vineyards in the region, this particular location is home to vineyards and a nursery that need to be consistently irrigated on a daily basis. Although the estate’s Main Ridge vineyards were planted on rich, fertile red clay and, therefore, need far less irrigation, the recent 6.5-acre (2.6-hectare) planting requires a much more active irrigation schedule.
The Portsea Estate’s location presents a noticeable viticultural challenge: the soil is extremely sandy and provides very low carbon content, which results in difficulties with proper vine nutrition and water access. Given the soil’s low water holding capacity, the estate staff ultimately needed a more effective irrigation system to provide the vineyards with a constant access to water so they could thrive.
Although the estate’s former system functioned sufficiently using preconfigured irrigation programs, the technology wasn’t intuitive enough to prevent water waste. It also didn’t offer the ability to remotely adjust the programs in the case of rainfall, hot weather, or irrigation leaks. In addition, repairs were difficult and time-consuming, given the fact that one person needed to remain at the controller while another located the issue and repaired it. The estate’s Main Ridge vineyard also presented a unique challenge: It was planted from scratch, so the vines had a higher water requirement than previously established plantings.
In August 2021, the Portsea Estate staff decided to address the ongoing challenges of the site by converting their former irrigation system into a more intuitive solution that featured the Hunter HCC Controller with Hydrawise Software.
Following a recommendation from their local irrigation specialist, the estate maintenance crew installed three HCC Controllers. Each was programmed for different station capacities to accommodate the unique watering requirements of the respective planting areas.
After realizing that Hunter’s innovative products served as the perfect solution for the varying watering requirements of the property’s many enterprises, the estate is now in the process of upgrading their Main Ridge vineyard with HCC Controllers and Hydrawise Software.
With the aid of Hunter’s innovative irrigation control solutions, the Portsea Estate’s watering regimen is now more efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective than ever before. Equipped with HCC Controllers, Hydrawise Software, and a newfound peace of mind, the staff now has the ability to manage their irrigation scheduling remotely. A member of the maintenance team was even able to turn on the irrigation system from the comfort of his home on Christmas Day! Given the ability to turn irrigation on and off at the first sign of a leak, the estate’s updated system also makes irrigation repairs a breeze.
The Hydrawise-enabled system offers the intuitive control needed to save time, water, and costs while ensuring healthy vineyards for years to come. Cheers to that!