Part of Frascati's Controlled Origin Denomination 'Denominazione d'Origine Controllata' or DOC in Italian, a wine's legally demarcated home region - was surveyed in ultra-sharp detail using an airborne radar sensor both before then after last October's harvest. This two-stage ESA campaign was called BACCHUS-DOC, and was intended to complement a number of radar and optical satellite acquisitions by ERS-2, SPOT, Landsat, IKONOS and QuickBird.
Following processing of raw data, the results are now under study by a team from ESRIN, ESA's European Centre for Earth Observation located within the area of study, and the nearby University of Tor Vergata. In particular they are investigating to what extent the BACCHUS-DOC airborne and satellite radar imagery is sensitive to vineyard surfaces and the change in biomass following the grape harvest.
"We have been demonstrating the potential use of satellite radar imagery from ERS and Envisat for correlating the radar signal with the vineyard biomass, and in particular the 'grape biomass'," said Luigi Fusco of ESRIN. "The early results applying detailed geographical information gathered on the area during previous projects have shown that this correlation exists, and this detailed analysis is proving worthwhile."
BACCHUS-DOC was overseen by ESA's dedicated Campaigns Unit, with the participation of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Rome's University of Tor Vergata, whose personnel carried out accompanying ground measurements. The Campaigns Unit and Bacchus team selected a 24.5 square kilometre area of interest with orientation fitting the orbit and radar look direction of ERS-2 at that time.