There are now over 10,000 wineries in the US, producing roughly 1 billion gallons of wine. Wine consumption has also risen considerably over the last decade, and with this steady growth, winegrowers and producers are increasingly looking to technology to help them monitor grape cultivation, improve cellar storage, and enhance wine packaging. IoT (internet-of-things) continues to infiltrate our lives, and it has now entered every stage of the wine making process. From smart wine labels in store to cultivating robots in the vineyard, technology offers the increasing number of winemakers an opportunity to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Enhancing Packaging Design
At the end of the wine making process, this opportunity comes in the form of creative and alternative packaging, which, as well as meeting the changing needs of consumers, also stands out on the shelf. Already, the flexibility of different packaging solutions such as wine in cans is attractive to wine drinkers. To further enhance their appeal, advances in digital print technology allow for embellishments such embossed designs or even color changing coatings. With the addition of smart technology, external wine packaging not only catches the eye, but can also be used to provide useful information to consumers. Using near field technology, buyers can scan bottles with a smartphone to confirm a wine’s authenticity and verify that it hasn’t been opened or tampered with. Further information about the origin, history and taste of the wine can be included to allow buyers to get to know the brand better.
Regulating Cellar Conditions
Before the wine reaches the shelves in store, it is kept in cellars to age. Here, IoT proves very useful in the monitoring of humidity, light and temperature, key elements for the successful aging of a wine. An ideal temperature of 55℃ must be strictly controlled, as any fluctuations can have an impact on the oxidation of the wine, ultimately altering the drinking quality. In a connected cellar, sensors monitor and control the environment more efficiently, and even minor fluctuations can be adjusted promptly to avoid damage to the wine occurring.
Monitoring Growing Environments
A particular set of variables is also necessary to create the perfect environment for growing grapes. Here too, sensors connected to the internet allow winegrowers to accurately monitor the condition of the soil by checking levels of humidity, water and temperature. To help winegrowers respond more quickly to weather changes, robots are being introduced to the vineyard, where they collect precise data on soil and atmosphere conditions to send real-time information back to the growers. These robots are also able to keep on top of labor-intensive tasks such as weeding and pruning, which reduces the need for chemical pesticides.
As IoT increasingly infiltrates daily life, the wine industry has not escaped its influence. As well as perfecting the wine making process for producers, technology can also be used to offer consumers a better-quality experience, enriched by innovative design and a deeper knowledge of the product.