Wine-growing: Piolenc

Piolenc’s experimental plot

This device is an experimental tool located on a 4,5 Ha estate of vines, belonging to the Vaucluse Chamber of Agriculture in Piolenc.

Reminder of the effects of climate change on vines

Climate change leads to an intensification of extreme events such as heat waves, heavy rain, hail, floods and an increase in spring frosts.

In wine growing, climate change is affecting the yield and quality of grapes:

  • An increasingly rapid rise in sugar levels forcing winegrowers to harvest earlier even though phenolic maturity has not been reached,
  • An increase in hydric stress which causes growth stops and an alteration in the quality of the grapes,
  • The risk of frost is amplified, an earlier budburst exposes all the more to episodes of frost.

This device allows agronomic experiments to be conducted

This work is carried out in 2 zones, one zone under an agrivoltaic structure (different panel orientation strategies) and a control zone without any panels.

Objectives related to Piolenc’s agrivoltaic system

  • Develop and test a vine growth model integrating the impact of the microclimate under an agrivoltaic system,
  • Test the reaction of vine stocks in extreme shady conditions,
  • Trial the panel control algorithms,
  • Test the adaptation of net systems used in agriculture: (anti-hail, anti-insects and others),
  • Decrease the use of agricultural inputs and in particular water consumption by about 30%,
  • Increase and measure the biomass produced in quality or quantity per hectare.

To meet the objectives of the experiment, the density of the panels is higher than that of the expected final configuration, in order to develop a vine growth model under shade that is as robust as possible.

Agronomic supervision involves

  • Monitoring of the plant: phenology, water and health status, ripening of the grapes, leaf sugars concentration,
  • Characteristics of yield components,
  • Statistical analysis of results.

Piolenc’s experimental system in numbers

600 m²

under agrivoltaic structure

340 m²

of control area



84 kWc

Electric power

4,2 m

Height of the structure

4444 plants/Ha

Number of plants/Ha

Grenache Noir

Grape variety

2,25 m

Distance between rows

+/-90 °

Possible angle rotation of the panels

Remote controlled system

The agronomic results

– Vines sheltered under an agrivoltaic system are more resistant to heat waves,
– Their water requirement is reduced from 12% to 34%, thanks to reduced evapotranspiration,
– The aromatic profile is improved: +13% anthocyanins (red pigments) and between 9% and 14% more acidity,
– The structure prevents growth arrest, a reflex of the plants in case of heatwave.