The wine industry is no stranger to technology. For thousands of years, winemakers have used scientific innovation to overcome multiple obstacles, overcoming adversity to grow wine production into one of the biggest industries in the world.
Nowadays, advanced technology is responsible for many changes in the wine industry, from must-have apps to forecast weather, to crop analysis software. Here are seven topical ways technology is changing the wine industry for the better.
Protection against climate change
Whether it’s extreme weather, rising sea levels, or drastic shifts in temperature, climate change significantly affects all industries that rely on agriculture. In order to protect their vineyards, wineries are using a combination of several technologies to counter the worst effects of global warming.
In the US, for example, winemakers are using robots that eliminate mold and fungus by applying UV light to crops. Meanwhile, in the UK, high-tech systems that deploy chemical countermeasures are protecting crop yields from the damage inflicted by heavy hailstorms.
Due to augmented reality (AR) technology, label and package design have become more than just pieces of paper and pretty pictures. For instance, QR codes are being used by winemakers to build brand identity. These interactive product labels afford wine connoisseurs the ability to experience an extended brand identity for their favorite wine.
A French wine packaging specialist has developed a foil that displays moving text and images when it’s activated by a digital camera. By capitalizing on immersive packaging technology, winemakers are turning their labels into keys that open the door to further sales.
It’s a well-established fact that, if you want to taste wine at its fullest potential, the bottle should be opened only when it’s at an optimal temperature. However, many of us simply don’t have the time to wait for a wine to chill, especially if we consider the fast pace of modern living.
Fortunately, several ultra-fast cooling products are available to speed up the process of wine chilling. These products use reverse microwave technology to chill any drink in record time, with red and white wine typically requiring less than three minutes of refrigeration.
Reduction of manual labor
Without the aid of technology, maintaining a vineyard is an arduous, labor-intensive affair. To avoid allocating precious human resources to unskilled and physically demanding tasks, farm owners are deploying automated robots and programmable farming equipment to tend to their crops, monitor yields, and handle harvesting duties.
Contrary to popular belief, replacing manual labor with automated technologies doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a reduction in job availability. In fact, multiple studies show that industries that embrace modernization witness a substantial increase in the demand for skilled labor.
From personalized recommendations for connoisseurs to inventory management for collectors, apps that are designed primarily for consumers of wine are rapidly growing in number, bringing a new age of personal service to the wine industry.
Have you ever wanted a personal virtual sommelier? The next time you’re struggling to choose a wine that agrees with your palate, download an app like Winecab to find out all there is to know about any particular bottle, including regional information, details on the aging process, and reviews from other consumers.
Infrared crop analysis
By equipping state-of-the-art drones with infrared camera technology, farmers and wineries are making major improvements to crop analysis efficiency. The use of infrared drones has led to greater crop yields via more effective irrigation, fertilization, and catastrophe countermeasures.
Infrared drones provide two benefits: the first is that it provides an overhead view for holistic crop management, while the second is the fact that infrared picks up crop inefficiencies that regular cameras can’t detect. In the case of a fire, for example, thermography can even detect which plants have been damaged by smoke.
Predictive crop management
Artificial intelligence (AI) can analyze vast amounts of data faster than any human can. Machine learning algorithms can use the results of this data analysis to create predictive models. Many industries have used this technology to their benefit, and the wine industry is no different.
All a wine producer has to do is take a picture of a leaf and upload it to a deep learning database. The leaf is analyzed by an algorithm that will correctly classify the plant variety, provide details on specific varietal differences, and even predict how much stress has affected the plant being studied.