Soil and water

Find out how this winery uses sensors to track data in its vineyards

A Napa Valley vineyard, Bouchaine digitizes anecdotal knowledge traditionally shared between generations of winemakers and the visual cues that winemakers receive while browsing the vines.

Using IoT sensors from Cisco Systems, the company tracks block-by-block data from its 100 acres of vineyards in the Los Carneros AVA.

The winery installed 12 IoT sensors across multiple wineries, which gave the winemaking team real-time access to data that tracks temperature, light, humidity, wind, and water availability. throughout their growing season.

The sensor technology also measures the amount of light hitting individual vines in each block, giving winegrowers valuable insight into the development of grape tannins.

Chris Kajani, Managing Director and Winemaker at Bouchaine, said high-end winemaking starts with how you grow wine.

“These sensors allow us to take our high intensity contact viticulture to new levels by evaluating individual vineyard plots,” Kajani said. “We can now compose block-by-block vineyard operations such as leaf stripping and irrigation, which leads to optimized viticulture. “

Kajani has six separate weather apps on his phone to monitor events like humidity, temperature, and rain. Each of these factors has an impact on their choice, and it is the most important decision they make each year.

“Making this picking decision is huge. Thus, running weather applications and seeing Bouchaine-specific data on a block-by-block dashboard with historical data allows us to make even more informed and precise picking decisions with a 360 ° view of the vines ”, adds Kajani. .

Even though 2021 is the first year Bouchaine uses the sensors, Kajani says they are already seeing how different parts of their vineyard react to Mother Nature. “Using sensor technology, we will be able to look at trends from drought years to wet years and beyond and use that information to narrow our selection dates. “

Cisco Managing Director of Global IoT Nykaj Nair said digitizing vineyard information provides improved information that enables Bouchaine to improve grape quality and sustainability.

“This information also provides the company with future-ready evidence that speaks to the quality of the soil, the grapes and the company itself,” said Nair.

Kajani says that before sensor technology, there was no data.

“Everything was visual and it was not possible to compare the data between the different blocks in our vineyard,” said Kajani. “Sensor technology makes the difference between walking through vineyards and seeing leaves curl or soil cracking with our eyes, and being able to access hard data on a dashboard in real time. Now we can automatically accumulate seasonal data and get insight on multiple vineyard blocks with real-time dashboards. “

Kajani adds that now they can see things they couldn’t see before, like temperature changes. at a micro level.

“In the future, we hope to identify the differences in vineyard plots that will allow us to cultivate according to the needs of each distinct microclimate and continually elevate our viticulture decisions to optimize quality while conserving water” , Kajani said.

Kajani believes that sensor technology allows them to collect concrete data in real time, which allows them to make decisions specific to growing grapes. [..] according to the microclimates of their vineyard.

“It allows us to make informed decisions, so that while we can tell visually that the weather has been really dry, maybe we can tell with soil and moisture sensors that we don’t need to. ‘watering,’ Kajani said. “With the drought [..] California faces challenges, being able to know when not to water is huge. “

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bouchaine said virtual tastings had become essential to their hosting strategy. Using Cisco Webex, the company offered virtual tastings and was able to see a live feed from the vineyard as well as a dashboard of temperature, humidity and light data.

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