Cluster thinning is practiced to reduce grapevine crop load and advance ripening parameters, such as soluble solids, which may or may not lead to higher quality wine. It is often implemented in the field with little or no specificity, and its practicality has been questioned because of increased production costs and lost yields. New analytical methods are introduced that combine commonly available yield and cost data with estimated parameters for grape quality and willingness-to-pay. The result is a tailored economic model that allows growers to calculate their optimal yields and prices within a rigorous, quantitative decision-making framework.
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