India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
 
 
Skip Navigation Links
Home
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Hotels
Retail News
Blog
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Launch
Winery
TechTalk
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Editorial
Media
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Perspectives
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
Classifieds
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
 
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
 
Tech Talk: French Robots May Help in Vineyards

Posted: Monday, 01 October 2012 17:22

Tech Talk: French Robots May Help in Vineyards

October 01: Robots have been working in manufacturing for decades, but a new robot has been designed specifically to help winemakers prune vines, by a Burgundy based inventor who claims it can prune up to 600 vines each day and despite its high cost of $32,000 it has features that justify the new machine, making several top class French producers offering their vineyards for demos.

According to a report by AFP, the new robot named Wall-Ye, brainchild of Christophe Millot and manufactured by Guy Julien, the toolmaker who partnered him, was launched on September 12 and is one of the robots being developed around the world to help vineyards solve the labour shortage problem. Both California and New Zealand are also developing intelligent vision-based pruning robots.

The robot does chores like pruning and de-suckering, removing unproductive young shoots as it collects valuable data on the health and vigour of the soil, fruit and vine stocks, using six built-in cameras. It also includes a GPS and gyroscope that serve as a security feature, so that if it were stolen the robot knows when it's not where it should be, according to the inventor. "If that happens, the hard-drive self-destructs and the robot sends a message to the winegrower: 'Help!'"

Demos using a prototype have already sparked a buzz in winemaker circles. Excited vintners have called up Millot with a list of tasks they'd like to delegate to the robot. Big name French vintners like Chateau Mouton-Rothschild have already offered their vineyards as a venue for the 20-kg robot to show off what it can do.

Millot's inspiration came from a frustrated winegrower at the Burgundy producer Domaine Louis Latour, while on a tour of his vineyards in France's southeastern Ardeche region. "He needed to thin the leaves, because the clusters were too big and they didn't dare use a machine but they couldn't find workers. It was August and everyone was on holiday. I told him I'd make him a robot," said Millot who took three years to develop Wall-Ye. The biggest challenge was to make the cameras understand what they saw and how to interpret it, says Millot.

Labour issues aside, some French growers are however, unwilling to see robots  prune what has historically been a craft-based procedure. ’Technically it's interesting, but intellectually, it's inconceivable. It doesn't fit with my philosophy of making a Saint Emilion grand cru,’ says a producer.

Pruning is a particularly sensitive task because it tells the vine how many bunches of grapes to produce and affects its ability to ripen the fruit to perfection. "Each plant is unique in terms of things like vigour, so it must be treated uniquely during pruning," reportedly says Fetzmann of Domaine Louis Latour.

"But I can see a robot doing the pre-pruning in November, and humans finishing in March. A machine like this could be really useful stocking data about each individual vine stock, adapting treatments to the diversity in vegetation and soil even within a plot, " he adds.

While Indian wine producers may not face labour problem for pruning for a long time - they would be happy to export the labour, if called for - many vintners surveyed in a straw poll by AFP considered vineyard robots to be an inevitable development. For an AFP video about the robot, watch
http://www.youtube.com

       

Want to Comment ?
Name    
Email       
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to arora@delwine.com. Thank you.
 

Captcha
Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:


Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel

     
 

 
 
Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2017 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet