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The thesis was undertaken to develop a methodology and digital tool, based upon the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, for delineating specific regions within the state of Nebraska that are suitable for the cultivation of two selected grape hybrids. The successful cultivation of grapes for producing wine requires knowledge of the physical and environmental conditions characterizing the local landscape. GIS technology allows the integration of multiple layers to be analyzed simultaneously, which
can provide prospective grape growers with necessary information upon which to base their management decision. In the study, nine GIS variables/layers including growing degree days, length of frost-free period, minimum winter temperature, aspect, slope, soil drainage, soil pH, organic matter and land use were analyzed in order to determine agricultural suitability in Nebraska for Edelweiss and Cynthiana/Norton cultivars.
There are three primary outcomes of the study: 1) a comprehensive database and map of current vineyard operations in Nebraska; 2) a model / tool, which may prove useful regarding future efforts dealing with potential suitability for viticulture; and 3) a series of suitability maps for highlighting areas where Edelweiss and Cynthiana/Norton should be grown. The research may be beneficial to those involved in Nebraska’s grape and wine industry.
Advisor: Donald Rundquist