We like to imagine that being a vintner mostly involves hanging out in a vineyard, soaking up the sun and finding oneness with the grapes. But in fact, it involves an increasing number of robots. Not grape-stomping androids, although that would be cool and we’re going to patent that — rather, winemakers are finding that there are machines that are doing a much better job of sun-soaking and grape-oneness-finding than they ever could, the Verge reports.
For instance, if winemakers hung out all day, every day in the field, they’d get sunburned, or at least a deep, deep skin-damaging tan. These solar-powered gizmos not only don’t get sunburned, they turn sunlight into energy.
And while winemakers can tell if it’s a hot or cool or humid day, they could never be as accurate about it as Picovale Services’ weather station, a “giant, solar-powered pole” with “sensors for monitoring real-time temperatures, humidity, solar radiation, soil moisture and numbers other data points.”
Winemakers might be able to look at plants and see if they look thirsty. But that’s not as good as Fruition, which “works by attaching tiny, solar powered plastic sap-flow sensors around a few vines themselves” and monitors exactly how much water the plants are using.
There’s a lot of advantages to setting up these machines: They help save water. They could help make better wine, as vintners can adjust the conditions in which their grapes grown more specifically. And they can help the rest of us realize that our fantasies of quitting our day jobs and moving to California to make wine aren’t quite as idyllic as we imagined. Given all of the data that these solar-powered gizmos are delivering, we’d end up sit inside all day and staring at the computer screens — just like we do now.