How Wine Producers Are Solving Production Challenges with Technology

by | Nov 27, 2018 | Wine & Spirits

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You know what’s inside of your glass of wine. But do you know how it was made? Vineyards have been a part of human history since as early as 6000 BC. With this vintage, we should have been expected to master the art. But in 2018, we are still striving towards excellence.

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A recent survey from Wine Business Monthly asked multiple growers from different regions about the top challenges they experienced in 2018. Among them, production challenges such as labor shortages, wine quality, and sustainability were the most prominent. So how are we able to improve production with modern technology?

Becoming mechanized

It’s no secret that we are in the age of mechanization. Although there are some tasks where human intelligence dominates, machine labor does prove itself as a worthy contender. With labor shortages and increasing costs, many wineries are moving towards a mechanized farming approach.

Wine Business Monthly recognizes that the absence of a skilled workforce is a burden on production as, “Growers simply do not want systems that are completely dependent upon hand labor as that puts them at a high risk for lack of labor availability, something that is not only possible or even probable, but one that currently exists.” The appeal of machine labor is apparent: efficiency, quality, and an entity that provides consistent results.

Using predictive analytics for quality assessment

With growing concerns facing an unreliable workforce, many question the quality of their product. Without consistency, how can one guarantee that standards will be met every single time? The vines are sensitive, living beings. And rising threats to their health include monitoring the levels of acidity, citric acids, residual sugars, chlorides, density, sulfates, and many others. With predictive analytics, wineries are able to see just how their vines are affected and when they need more attention.

Using predictive analytics to understand these concerns begins with creating benchmarks. Vintners can start by identifying how much a single gram of each concern can affect the well-being of the vine. The data that is collected will reflect which numbers are outliers, making it easier to identify which measures ultimately need more attention. Similar to how hospitals use predictive analytics to identify at-risk patients, wineries can use the same formulas to identify at-risk qualities with numbers that are collected from the data set.

Moving towards sustainability

In 2018, we are all recognizing the impact that our choices make on the environment. Vineyards are among the many to realize their actions. In an attempt to be less wasteful, vineyards are discovering new ways to be efficient with their water usage. Using a GPS approach to map out their vines and water intake, vineyards are able to monitor which vines simply need more water than others.

By creating a system of metrics, they are able to create a need-based system where only the vines that are dehydrated get more attention. Although these methods are still in their early design phases, results are proving that not only are they cutting their water usage in half, but also the quality of their vines and grapes have improved.

What’s next?

Perfecting that glass of wine is no easy task. Here are other challenges that wineries are facing and how they’re using analytics to solve them.

Kayla Chiara

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