Blending Wireless Technology and Wine Making

How two California wineries are using technology to help improve their harvests.

By Heidi Flato on December 9, 2013

Winemaking is one of the oldest trades around, but the wine industry has evolved with the times and adopted new techniques to grow high-quality grapes for harvest. In Northern California, two winemakers are blending wireless Internet connectivity and mobile devices with traditional methods and could make this new hybrid a common practice in the industry.

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Michael David Winery, located in Lodi, Calif., is a certified sustainable and family-farmed winery that invested in SureHarvest software to monitor and manage its vineyards online. While in the field, the team uses tablets and Verizon Wireless 4G LTE mobile hotspots to record irrigation, pests, fertilization, soil and mildew activity. Whether the team is in the vineyard or at home, monitoring in real-time helps maximize the chance of a successful, high-quality harvest.

Mount Veeder Magic Vineyards is a hand-farmed vineyard located in the in the Napa Valley’s premium Mount Veeder Appellation. They use the eKo Pro Environmental Monitoring System, a wireless, solar-powered irrigation management system that pulls data about soil moisture from below-ground sensors. The vineyard management team uses mobile devices to access this data, even while away from the vineyard, and help control irrigation in real time.

“Since we started using the wireless irrigation system and Verizon Wireless’ network, we have been able to conserve and maximize our water usage, resulting in improved quality of my grapes,” said Karen Crouse, owner/grower of Mount Veeder Magic Vineyards. “It has also allowed us to fine tune our farming practices so precisely that we have doubled the average yield to date.” 

When it’s time to sip a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon or a crisp Pinot Grigio, wireless technology might be to thank for keeping the glasses tasty and full. Cheers!

Photo credit: RoseAnn Trzesniewski