White powdery mildew is a multi-million dollar problem affecting the wine industry up and down the West Coast. It is also one of the leading economic and environmental damaging costs to a vineyard. Fortunately, it only grows under certain conditions, which can be monitored to determine when to spray sulfur on the plants.  But how do you monitor these conditions in a cost effective and efficient way? To answer this problem, Stoller Vineyards teamed up with Dayton High School.

It may seem like an unusual partnership, a vineyard and a high school, but the learning opportunities and economic opportunities are more vast and relevant than you might think.

Working with staff, circuit boards and a variety of sensors from Sparkfun, students have learned to build their own microclimate weather stations. In this process, students have learned to program, solder, test, and build these weather stations, that are going to be strategically placed throughout Stoller’s vineyards.

The stations will be collecting weather data (temperature, humidity, and air pressure) in real-time. A solution is being developed so that vineyard managers will be able to monitor this data to better care for their grapes. But the learning doesn’t stop there.

Students will be able to collect and monitor the data as well. In the science and math classes, the data we collect will be analyzed and interpreted to calculate which areas are most at risk as well. Students will be able to find relevancy in the classroom and by visiting the vineyard, see the fruits of their labor, literally.

Currently, the students have completed building and programing of the stations. They plan to install the stations and start collecting the data at the start of the new school year.