Wine Technology of the Future: SmartWine Intelligent Vineyard Monitoring System

“Wine Technology of the Future” is a series on The Academic Wino that features new inventions and patents that attempt to make your wine experience easier and more enjoyable.  Previously on this series, we’ve introduced the “self-aerating wine bottle”; the “corkscrew with integral intelligent thermometer”; “wine dispensing and preservation device”; “multi-stream wine aerating device” (plus follow-up review of the prototype); the “wine bag carrier”, the “system and method for pairing food with wine”, the “lateral flow device for Botrytis cinerea detection”, the “wine bottle with permanent contact between the wine and the cork”, and most recently, the “straw for wine”.

Today, we will explore an exciting new technology designed to be an “end-to-end” cloud-based monitoring system from the vine to the wine:  SmartWine.

Created by a team of Macedonian scientists, SmartWine grew from the thought that wireless sensor technology networks have shown promise for both indoor and outdoor monitoring.  According to Business Week and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), wireless sensor networks are the direction of

Figures 6 and 7 from Smiljkovikj and Gavrilovska (2014)

Figures 6 and 7 from Smiljkovikj and Gavrilovska (2014)

the future, which we’ve already seen over and over again through similar systems monitoring air pollution,water quality, and other environmental monitoring.

The concept of using wireless sensor technologies in vineyards is not completely new (example: Shelburne Vineyard in Vermont: 2012 and the Siega System), however, as with any technology, there are always developments, improvements, and upgrades.

Basically, the point of the SmartWine wireless sensor network is to monitor different environmental conditions in the vineyard and later in the winery, in order to provide the user with more accurate and real-time information in order to more carefully and efficiently monitor the grape growing and winemaking processes, which would ultimately result in potential improved quality of the wine from the beginning to the very end.  SmartWine was actually created using a few different wineries to ensure the system was functional and accurate in real-time situations.

Thinking about it on a simple, not-uber technical scale, the SmartWine system uses sensors that are placed in the vineyard or in the cellar that can monitor various air, soil, and plant parameters and conditions (think: temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, leaf wetness, wind speed, soil-water tension, etc).  The information is then uploaded via the wireless technology built into the sensors to a cloud-based information gathering system which can then be accessed by individual users on an internet-based software platform.

Once the system collects the data, you can then access the raw data as well as a whole host of statistical information (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) collected and analyzed by the program.  Multiple users can be added to the program, with varying levels of permissions and allowances, so not everyone can have access or be able to alter specified parameters within the sensor network and cloud-based data system.

See a short video demonstrating the SmartWine software in action here:


One final feature of the SmartWine program that I think is particularly useful is the alarm system that is built into the program.  The user can program specific alarms depending upon what exactly it is that is most important for precision monitoring.  For example, the user could set an alarm such that if the grapes reach a certain temperature or humidity, they might be at risk for certain damage or diseases.  If this alarm goes off, the user can immediately take action in the field in an attempt to address the potential issue and avoid vineyard-wide problems and crop losses.

The alarm system alerts the user in two different ways:  one called “offline triggering” and the other “real-time triggering”.  With offline triggering, if an alarm goes off it gets recorded in a log file in the SmartWine system that can be reviewed by the user at any point throughout the day.  However, if the user is monitoring certain conditions in the vineyard or the winery that would require immediate action should an alarm be triggered, the real-time triggering system is more appropriate.  With the real-time triggering system, if an alarm goes off, an email or text message gets sent immediately to the user.

Conclusions

The SmartWine wireless sensor network system has huge potential for vineyard and winery monitoring.  With one system, you could have an inordinate amount of data at your fingertips that you could use for numerous purposes.  Short-term single harvest data, long-term environmental data and trends, alert systems to get a jump on a potential issue before it becomes a vineyard or winery-wide problem: this

Figure 10 from Smiljkovikj and Gavrilovska (2014)

Figure 10 from Smiljkovikj and Gavrilovska (2014)

system sounds like it would be a really fantastic technology for vineyards and wineries looking to use modern technology to help improve efficiency, productivity, and quality in their grapes and their wines.

At this point in time, I am not certain if this system is available for purchase on the commercial market.  I have tried to reach out to the authors of the study introducing this system that was recently published in the journal Wireless Personal Communications, but as of publishing this post, I have yet to receive a reply.  As soon as I have more details from the researchers, I will update this post and let you know.  In the meantime, just imagine the possibilities with this sort of wireless sensor system and the potential it could have on the forward progress of the wine industry.

Sources:

Smiljkovikj, K. and Gavrilovska, L. 2014. SmartWine: Intelligent End-to-End Cloud-Based Monitoring System. Wireless Personal Communications 78: 1777-1788.

PRWeb: Vineyard relies on wireless sensors and the cloud to monitor its vines. Accessed 10/16/2014.

2 comments for “Wine Technology of the Future: SmartWine Intelligent Vineyard Monitoring System

  1. February 19, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Dear Becca, thanx for your articles, they’re all great reads. Just wanted to draw your attention to a Hungarian innovation that is commercially available and was just recently awarded at the Intel Global Challenge, http://www.smartvineyard.com. Many leading Hungarian winemakers are already using it and the company is expanding internationally as well.

  2. April 23, 2015 at 5:16 am

    This is an excellent program. The quality of wine produced is highly dependent on the type of environment that it is stored and created. No more second guessing if the temperature is correct, if there are things to be adjusted, and so on. This really has a great potential on winery and vineyard monitoring, and should be utilized by people who care about their wine.

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