Tools and techniques to monitor and map the environment are now very well developed and widely used. One area in which information technology has been increasingly and successfully applied over the past 20 years is in Precision Viticulture (PV).
New York City, Oct 6, 2020 (Issuewire.com) - Since the 1990s, vintners have been utilizing geographic positioning and information systems (GPS and GIS) in order to plan and construct their vineyards and guide their management practices. Since soils aren't laid out in neat grids and often represent millions of years of geological history, the tools have become vital to growers. While GPS is still widely used, present-day winemakers have an array of technologies at their disposal. International wine enthusiast Steven Zoernack recently spoke on the best tech currently available for both winery and vineyard developers.
Established in 1973, the PELLENC Group developed a zero-emissions mechanical harvester in 2008 that is designed to de-stem and remove other materials from the fruit while picking them directly from the vine. Considered a novelty ten years ago, these machines have quickly become important and relied upon tool; they allow winemakers to focus almost entirely on the fermentation process. As a result, vineyards that have adopted the PELLENC harvesters are experiencing faster, more efficient output. More advanced automated technology, including robots programmed to do everything from quality check grapes still attached to the vine to sorting them post-harvest, has begun to gain prevalence in recent years. Although the majority of the hardware is relatively new, many developers have reported early successes. Still, others question how technology fits into the culture of winemaking.
Growers who want to gather in-depth data on the status of their inventory and operations process have begun to utilize pressure sensors, says Steven Zoernack. When installed throughout a vineyard, the sensors can measure the composition of the wine through every phase of production. On the user end, the software indicates poor or contaminated batches, saving winery owners thousands of dollars in quality control. In addition, many developers are choosing to upgrade their filtration equipment to cross-filtration systems that can effectively remove a grape's solids from its liquids. The latest filtering technology allows vintners the confidence that their wine is pure and of the highest quality possible.
Precision Viticulture is now a very well developed approach to vineyard monitoring, mapping and management, and one that has been successfully demonstrated through many studies and practical applications leading to greatly improved efficiency and effectiveness in the day-to-day operation of the vineyard and, ultimately, improved fruit quantity, quality and wine production. This has been particularly true for the larger commercial vineyards with both the financial resources to utilize such technologies and operating over relatively large areas of grapevines.. In his next article, Steven Zoernack will seek to provide an up-to-date overview of the role of some of the geospatial and associated technologies in Precision Viticulture (PV).
Steven Zoernack attended Boston University's School of Engineering and Fordham University's School of Economics at Lincoln Center in New York. After a thirty-year career in the financial services sector, employed by some of the most prestigious investment banks of the times including Bear Stearns, Zoernack opted to follow a lifelong passion and pursue a profession in the agricultural industry. In the coming years, Zoernack plans to branch into vineyard ownership, management and winemaking, with a focus on organic farming.
Steven Zoernack Consulting
1990 Main Street Suite 750 Sarasota, Florida 34236
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