When most people think of vineyards, thoughts of a lazy, sunny afternoon enjoying select wines tend to come to mind. For the owner and operators, however, the vineyard is but the first step in the production of their beverage. That’s why increasing amounts of industrial automation technology are being applied to wine-producing operations—for example, at McManis Family Winery.
Bouchaine Vineyards is one of the latest examples of a vineyard adopting industrial automation technology with its implementation of Cisco Industrial Asset Vision sensors to track data, block by block, throughout its 100+ acres in the Carneros AVA (American Viticultural Area), which includes parts of Sonoma and Napa counties in California.
Chris Kajani, Bouchaine winemaker and general manager, said, “For hundreds of years, much of grape growing has been based on anecdotal knowledge shared between generations of winegrowers, along with visual cues taken by walking the vineyards. Now this knowledge, which is so central to the traditions of great wines, can be digitized. This automatic accumulation of data with real time dashboards will give us insight across the lifetime of the vineyard. Cisco sensor technology allows us to gather data in real time, bringing us the ability to make site-specific grape growing decisions year after year based on our vineyard’s microclimates.”
More specifically, Cisco sensors are used to collect temperature, light, humidity, wind, and water over the course of the growing season. According to Cisco, the sensors are advanced enough to track details such as the amount of light hitting individual grapevines within each block, offering key insights into the tannin development of grapes. This kind of information enables Bouchaine to refine decisions on irrigation, leafing, and fruit thinning.
Throughout the 2021 growing season, Bouchaine monitored temperature, light, and humidity of individual vineyard blocks in more detail than they ever had before using Cisco’s sensor technologies.
“The Cisco sensors are helping us preserve one of our most precious resources—water,” Kajani said. “We’re using the data to water only when and where it’s absolutely necessary. The sensor data gives us peace of mind that we’ll see changes in the vineyard when there’s still time to take action.”
Cisco Industrial Asset Vision is an all-in-one product that includes different kinds of industrial sensors (for example, temperature, light, humidity), gateways that collect data from the sensors (which come from Cisco with batteries included), and a cloud-based dashboard on which to view the resulting data.
The ruggedized sensors and gateways that comprise Cisco Industrial Asset Vision are designed to withstand temperature swings, rain, and wind. According to Cisco, the gateways can connect sensors spread over a large area, reducing the number of gateways a user will need to buy and maintain.
Speaking to Cisco Industrial Asset Vision’s ease of installation, Kajani said, “Installing the sensors and gateways was as simple as scanning their bar codes. The whole solution was up and running within an hour.”
Based on results gathered during the 2021 growing season, Bouchaine is planning to install more sensors to understand the environment in smaller sections of the vineyard.
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