logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Autism Spectrum Disorders: 4:00 PM

Full Schedule
g
g Wine Site

BellaOnline's Wine Editor

g

Vineyard Drones


Visiting a vineyard can seem like stepping back in time. The rows of neatly trimmed vines, sometimes trellised on wires sometimes free standing, look as they would have 50 or 100 years ago. Sometimes rose bushes flower at the ends of rows, planted there supposedly to give advance warning of blight.

Apart from internal combustion engines have mostly replaced horses and oxen as the motive power for ploughing little seems to have changed for centuries.

But looks are deceptive and modern technology plays a major role in vineyard management.

Underground sensors measure the soilís water content and temperature, transmitting wirelessly to a vineyard control centre whose computer can automatically adjust irrigation. Narrow plastic pipes with pin prick holes drip water efficiently just where the vine needs it.

Aerial photography using ultra-violet and infra-red filters scan vineyards. Variation in colour can identify individual vines that need attention, and differently shaded areas of vines show how the underlying soil structure changes, and thus can ensure appropriate fertilisers are used in those places. Such photographs of well known vineyard alerted the viticulturist who found a row and half at the edge had been planted with a related but different vine from the rest. It seems the nursery didnít have enough of the required variety and filled the last part of the order with a similar vine.

Photographs have for years been taken by satellites and high flying aircraft, but these are expensive. Now cheap small remote controlled drones can hover above vineyards and transmit back live pictures.

Machines attached to vine leaves measure vine stress and capillary moisture movement.

Global positioning satellites and lasers are used when planting new vineyards to precisely align rows to get most light exposure, and by tractors that spray and harvest grapes to navigate rows. Machine harvesting is now commonplace. One advantage is that it can be done in the dark when grapes are cool. It is likely that soon these tasks can be performed under computer control and supervised remotely.

There is already a prototype machine that will automatically prune vines, a tedious but essential job that has to be done every winter.

Todayís vineyard may look bucolic but it is really a high tech factory that converts sunlight into grape juice and sugar. Above, below and among the vines, computers and technology are now and will continue to help that green factory succeed. And the rose bushes will continue to be planted, as they are today, solely for their beauty.

Talk about wine on our forum.

Peter F May is the author of Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape: Odd Wines from Around the World which features more than 100 wine labels and the stories behind them, and PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africaís Own Wine which tells the story behind the Pinotage wine and grape.

Add Vineyard+Drones+ to Twitter Add Vineyard+Drones+ to Facebook Add Vineyard+Drones+ to MySpace Add Vineyard+Drones+ to Del.icio.us Digg Vineyard+Drones+ Add Vineyard+Drones+ to Yahoo My Web Add Vineyard+Drones+ to Google Bookmarks Add Vineyard+Drones+ to Stumbleupon Add Vineyard+Drones+ to Reddit




Winery Robots
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Wine Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Peter F May. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Peter F May. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Peter F May for details.

g


g features
RayLen Vineyards and Winery, North Carolina

Shadow Springs Vineyard, North Carolina

Raffaldini Vineyards, North Carolina

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor