A View On Vinovations
Epicure Magazine|April - May 2021
Put romanticism aside and technology has its place alongside experienced hands
Richard Hemming

Corkscrews have been in existence for almost 400 years, and for a long time that was the wine world’s most notable invention. Wine might have a reputation for being somewhat old-fashioned, but the last few decades have witnessed breakthroughs that have revolutionised how wine is made, consumed and discussed.

Today, wine is less about men with red trousers (and even redder faces) gloating about ancient vintages, and more about a younger generation equipped with open minds and all the latest technology.

A VINE ROMANCE?

Picture a vigneron, with hands as gnarled as the ancient vines she works with, slowly moving among the rows as the sun beats down from a clear blue sky. Now picture robotic pruners, heat-mapping drones and underground moisture sensors – all connected to smartphone apps that you can control from the palm of your not-so-gnarled hand.

These days, the second scenario is increasingly commonplace. Wine lovers might prefer to think of vineyards in a romanticised way, but improvements in viticultural technology have been crucial to the ever-increasing quality of our favourite drink. Growers can now map their vineyards in minuscule detail and make planting decisions accordingly, optimise the health of their grapes using scanners that analyse sap flow and nitrogen levels, and even scare off pesky birds using lasers instead of netting.

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