5 Ways Technology Is Transforming The Wine Industry
For most, the idea of wine paints a mental picture rich with rustic cellars, rolling hills, quaint vineyards, and plump glistening grapes lining the countryside in the afternoon sun. People have been romanticizing wine culture for centuries as something that brings people together to enjoy a good drink, good food, and good company. As romantic as it is, wine is a 300-billion-dollar industry and a competitive one at that. With so much at stake, it’s no surprise that growers large and small are always looking for ways to produce better quality and larger quantities.
As dreamy as it sounds for a grower to walk the vineyard and analyze every grape by hand, it’s simply not an efficient way to do things. There’s a litany of challenges that face every harvest. Things like pests, disease, forest fires, and water efficiency can be painful obstacles for growers. That’s where technology steps in. Recent advances have allowed for some pretty incredible techniques for wine producers and wine drinkers alike. Here are five ways that new technology is shaping the wine industry.
Drones have taken the world by storm over the past few years. Once something out of science fiction novels, drones have gone mainstream. From delivering packages for big businesses to taking incredible aerial video for travel vlogs, drones are now omnipresent in our culture. And the wine industry is no exception. Drones provide great benefits to the agriculture industry, and wineries have taken notice.
Drone technology has allowed growers to take overhead shots of their crops with thermal infrared cameras to give detailed information on the plant’s health that a regular camera could not provide. This allows the farmers to assess which vines need nourishment and spread irrigation and fertilization more efficiently. Check out this link for what is the best drone under 200.
With advances in machine learning technology, wine producers can now take pictures of vine leaves and process them with an algorithm that can accurately predict the plant variety and if the plant is stressed. This is not just great for the vine’s health but also helps avoid confusion regarding grape varietals.
Another great thing about this technology is that it can also tell if grapes have been contaminated by smoke. If you’ve ever had a smoky wine, you know that it’s not very pleasant and a product of a forest fire’s long hazy reach. Producers can now take drone footage that uses thermography to determine the vine's temperature. When a vine has been affected by smoke, its temperature will show it. When run through the machine learning algorithm, it is possible to see which vines have been contaminated.
Predicting yield and quality
Predicting a vineyard’s yield is of paramount importance for winemakers. The same way it is for predicting the yield of Blatons bourbon. When you have an accurate yield idea, you can allocate your resources better for the season. This includes everything from water, to fertilizer, to barrels, to staff. New technologies enable producers to take historical data of the vineyard and combine it with the current wine season's early activity. This data is then run through a program that can predict the current yield with up to 90% accuracy—pretty amazing stuff.
Enough about the producers, let’s talk about some of the great new ways technology affects the consumers. A growing number of wine apps at a customer’s fingertips include everything from varietal, tasting notes, region, age, and reviews. If you’re in a liquor store, you can conveniently scan a label and glean vital information to help you make your purchasing decision. This is beneficial for connoisseurs and those new to the wine industry looking to beef up their knowledge.
Another handy feature of many apps is the ability to better manage your inventory. Cellar management apps allow collectors to scan a label and keep track of the year, grape, winemaker, etc. These apps have made manual logging one’s collection a thing of the past for wine enthusiasts.
Wine recommendation software
Whether you prefer a robust shiraz or a buttery chardonnay, there’s a good chance that at some point, you’re going to be curious about trying something new. That’s made easy with wine recommendation software, which allows you to punch in a few words based on the characteristics you enjoy, and it will match you with a list of new interesting choices. Your new favorite wine could now just be a click of a button away.
While wine will likely always conjure up quaint imagery of the French countryside or a street-side café in Tuscany, it’s still exciting to see how big data and machine learning is transforming the industry into something more efficient. In the end, this will yield a higher quality product, which is great news for both producers and consumers. And for fledgling wine enthusiasts, there’s never been a better time to learn the craft. The ubiquity of handy wine apps and software allows for one to transform from a wine rookie into a knowledgeable veteran in a short period. At the same time, lifelong aficionados with extensive cellars can now manage inventory in a stress-free and time-saving manner. When it comes to technology, the future of the wine industry looks bright.