A leading Spanish vineyard is using the Internet of Things to perk up grape cultivation and save some bucks.
The process of wine making is getting smart. In Pago Aylés, a winery in Zaragoza that harvests vintages ranking at the top of the Spanish wine-quality pyramid, they have twisted to sensor technology to develop the production.
“It was a necessity,” stated the vineyard’s agronomist, Julio Prieto. “I make a number of in-situ measurements. Coupling them with data provided by stations and soil sensors can help us obtain crucial information to make early decisions for greater efficiency and lower production costs,” he further adds.
Functioning with remote iOT Technologies, a spin-off of the University of Zaragoza in northeast Spain concentrating in agricultural measurement, Pago Aylés has get on an IoT project to “model the future”, as Prieto says.
The project aspires to get hold of predictive behavior patterns in the vineyard connecting to grape quality, production, biological cycles, potential pests, and plant diseases. The IoT technology has been offered by Libelium, a Zaragoza company crafted by Alicia Asín and David Gascón in 2006, which sells a hardware and software podium to “connect any sensor to any cloud using any wireless technology”, counting industrial protocols such as CAN bus.
A network comprising of more than 100 checkpoints athwart approximately 25 measurement parameters has been installed in the vineyard to routinely monitor air and soil temperature and humidity, and environmental pressure, as well as rainfall, wind speed, direction and other aspects.
Moving ahead, the recorded data is sent via 4G directly to a web app developed by remote Technologies that work with Microsoft Azure Cloud, so the user can outlook the data in a values table or chart set-up and contrast the same parameters on diverse dates.
“This way we speed up all the data post-production,” says Prieto. “We can have, for example, the maximum production potential for, let’s say, the following month, which can save a lot of money,” he adds.
Libelium commented on the use of its IoT solution and the app, called Agrimés, which works offline too, which not only helps recover productivity and avoid diseases but augments the quality of the product.
However, there is still an extended way to go before the use of IoT technology becomes common in viticulture. Prieto discloses that not many agronomists are using it yet.
“I know of just seven or eight winery agronomists in Spain that have delved into IoT. And it’s a pity, as in a single season the return of investment is guaranteed”, he says.