Archive for the 'wine and tech' Category

Drone delivers champagne to thirsty apres-skiers

Sorry to drone on about this…but in this video some dehydrated people performing rigorous après ski in the Alps were rescued–by a drone carrying a Champagne bottle.

Without the drone, it’s hard to know where they could have ever gotten a bottle of champagne to slake their thirst. What’s that Jimmy? They’re at a bar/ski lodge not in a snow drift? Well, I guess this is is FYOB — fly your own bottle.

Drones over the vineyards

drone vineyard

Bernard Magrez, owner of 40 chateaus/wineries around the world, has floated a first for Bordeaux: unmanned drone surveillance.

Vitisphere reports that he has purchased a €50,000 octocopter with a camera to surveil his own vines at the rate of 25 acres an hour. That compares with a rate of about ten for a team of eight humans. Maybe the drone will spy on workers to see if zey are ze nap in ze vineyards??

The drone has a range of eight miles and can go 8,000 feet high. No word if it can also deliver Amazon orders. But it will probably contribute to promotional videos for the estates.

The rise of the machines: farewell to warts and all?

Wine and tech make a frequent pairing in broad-audience reporting on wine. Domestically, both the industries have a strong presence in California and they are both, well, sexy. Mmm, naked grapes swathed in algorithms!

Today’s wine and tech story that we are putting in our laser focus is a short video segment on Bloomberg. The intrepid reporter ventures to Napa Valley to check out an optical sorting machine, technology pioneered in Europe that has come to our shores for $175k a pop. Instead of having people sort the picked fruit off a vibrating sorting table, the machine runs the fruit through a destemmer, then snaps pictures and blasts offending berries off the conveyor belt with a blast of air (sometimes called the “air knife”). The final bin ultimately contains berries without blemishes. The machine is more effective at sorting the wheat from the chaff than the membership committee at the Silverado Country Club.

The reporter asks, “And the critics–why are they skeptical about this new optic [sic] sorter?” Wait, critics don’t like wines from Napa cabernet that his been sorted like this? Sounds like the resulting wine actually has got 98+ points written all over it.

So much for carbonic, semi-carbonic or whole cluster when a machine could get rid of those perceived imperfections.

Wine, BAC and driverless cars

bac driverless car
The NYT has a column this week entitled “How Driverless Cars Could Reshape Cities” and a related blog post. They raise some interesting possibilities about the technology. Sure, it seems hopelessly futuristic, but Google is making a huge push in the technology and venture capital is following suit. (Take a look inside Google’s driverless car.)

Two consequences of driverless cars detailed in the pieces are municipal parking revenues and insurance rates. In Washington DC, 5,300 parking tickets are handed out every day raking in $80 million a year for the city. Driverless cars could Read more…

Forget web 2.0 — some wineries need web 0.9 (plus some wine picks)

napanook 2007 More Americans are drinking wine today than ever before. However, increasingly confident and interested wine consumers are thirsty not just for wine, but for reliable information about the wines they consume. Sadly, winery (and importer and trade association) websites don’t always provide the information we now crave. Forget social media and “web 2.0″–too many wineries haven’t even mastered web 0.9 yet.

Consider the recent discussion about Corbieres that emerged following my post about a wine from the region last week. Readers debated the percentage limits for the grape Carignan in the wine. Since this is a statute of the AOC regulations, you’d think it would be on the AOC/syndicat web site. But it’s not.

Or consider the six wines I was putting together my NYU wine class for last night. I was looking for some basic information about the wine I was serving, the vineyards, the cellar masters, and a photo for the slide show. Here’s what I found: Read more…

Better wine through science!

wineantifraud
Researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory have taken a break from their usual physics research and turned their attention to combating wine fraud.

Roger Johnston and Jon Warner in Argonne ‘s Vulnerability Assessment Team have developed a cap that can be put in place at the winery to track if the bottle has ever been opened or tampered with.

However, if you thought resistance to screwcaps was high in the realm of fine wine, get a load of this Lojac meets Denver Boot meets car alarm thingy. And just look how it makes your laptop bug out when you connect the two! Full details on the story in their press release. (hat tip: Andrew)

In other wine and technology news circulating today, the e-tongue has resurfaced. But we’ve already wagged our tongues at that one!

Related: The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace


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