Grey County, located in South Western Ontario, is slowly beginning to discover that there are suitable regions within the county on which to grow Vitis Vinifera grape varieties along with other hybrid varieties. Vitis Vinifera grape varieties are the world’s highest quality grapes used to make wine, therefore, this project seeks to explain that in order to delineate future viticultural appellations in Grey County, a topographic site suitability assessment needs to be undertaken using a multi-criteria analytic approach. Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) simply means that multiple factors are taken into consideration when assessing an area, for example, this project will be using nine factors (parameters) that will study and map land surfaces, otherwise known as topography, including: slope, aspect, areas of depression, depth to bedrock, depth to groundwater, static groundwater level, soil pH, soil drainage, land use, and a factor that will show the shoreline and how it will affect certain areas within the county. The MCA will then be able to give each parameter a rank (low, medium, or high) which will explain whether or not Grey County is suitable for growing Vitis Vinifera grapes varieties. The final result and ultimate goal of the project is to be able to estimate the useable hectares and total harvest potential of Vitis Vinifera grape varieties in Grey County, hoping to be able to assign a Designated Viticultural Area (DVA) status to the county; the result of a DVA status show that areas with a DVA have exceptional combinations of the right climate, soils, growing season, and viticultural practices, in order to grow world class and the highest quality of grapes.
Performing an MCA requires the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) which is a software that can capture, store, check, and display data on a map which can then assist user in analysis and assessment, as well as detection of patterns and relationships. The MCA will consist of producing nine maps of the parameters defined using a GIS; the GIS that will be used for this project is ESRI’s ArcGIS. The maps will show the best possible and most accurate areas of suitability for Vitis Vinifera grape varieties in Grey County. This scope is based on two very similar projects conducted in the past known to be successful: the first project, entitled, “Topographic Analysis of Norfolk County for Wine Grape Production” conducted by Darren Platakis in 2011, and the second project, entitled, “Topographic Analysis of Elgin County for Vineyard Site Suitability” conducted by Matt Marotta in 2013.
The project has thirteen proposed major tasks which were planned so that the project flows consistently and productively. In summary, the proposed major tasks consists of: project proposal, project familiarization and methodologies, data exploration and retrieval, data planning and preparation, geodatabase and base map creation, data analysis, project progress, creation of topographic site suitability for viticulture data, creation of final output maps, and the project final. The project also includes client meetings, bi-weekly project status reports, and advisor meetings as well.