Is data the new ingredient for your refined glass of red wine?
Silicon valley, home of the largest tech-corporations, an entire startup ecosystem and where innovation does not seem to have limits. But what if you are the ‘lucky’ one to own a successful startup and decide to sell it resulting in let’s say 20 million dollars on your account – what to do then?
Then you start your own winery just 100 miles north in one of the world’s premier wine regions. Of course being a techie you’re not just going to produce the best wine the old-fashioned way, you incorporate data, because that’s what all companies do nowadays right?
Examples of stories like these are Palmaz winery and Vineyard 29, both data-driven wineries that have proven to produce good quality Cabernet-Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines (Jon Fine, 2011). Bandages with sensors incorporated are attached to the vines in order to keep track of how much water the vines take in. This is send to a computer and can be analyzed to establish a perfect water regime for the vines. Lately the wineries have even been experimenting with sensors attached to specific grapes that can measure the level of water and acidity.
Fruition’ Sciences is one of the first tech-startups that delivers a complete solution for wineries that want to start with a data-driven approach (Julie Bort & Kevin McLauglin, 2013).Their sensors apply heat to the vine stem and measure the temperature before and after applying the heat to figure out how much water is in the plant. The sensors are solar powered and are able to directly send this information to a server.
Although this data-driven approach seems to be a big step forward there are a lot more variables at work in the process of producing wine. It may not be the way to make the perfect wine but it can be a way to enhance the wine’s quality.
I can’t say too much about the taste of a good glass of wine but I can imagine this data-driven approach may change the game of wineries in the future. Being able to monitor exactly how your precious grape is developing and consequently produce high-quality wine may be the next big thing.
- Jon Fine (2011), ‘Wine Technology, Can harvesting data make better wine?’, http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/wine-technology-can-harvesting-data-make-better-wine
- Julie Bort & Kevin McLauglin (2013), ‘Here’s what happens when wine and geeks mix’, http://www.businessinsider.com/big-data-makes-your-wine-taste-better-2013-8?IR=T