We often think of winemaking as an art. A mysterious dark art that only a few have mastered. But the truth of it is, winemaking is farming, and robots are becoming an increasingly important part of any farm — even for historic French vineyards dating back hundreds of years.
Decanteur magazine has a story up about “TED,” a new robot from Näio Technologies, being used by Château Clerc Milon to help tend its high density vineyard. As you can see from the video, TED is an arch-shaped autonomous vehicle, that runs up and down the rows of grapes cultivating the soil and tending to weeds.
The TED trial took place earlier this year, and a spokesperson for the winery told Decanteur that robots are good for arduous, repetitive tasks (something we’ve heard before) involved with agriculture, and there is an added environmental benefit with the reduction in fossil fuel usage. The winery says, however, that humans are still needed for the selecting and picking of grapes.
As The Spoon founder, Mike Wolf, pointed out in our podcast earlier this week, farms are the perfect place for robots like TED. They feature wide open spaces, defined geometric areas (straight rows!) and a lack of people to run into or around.
This automated approach may be new for a hallowed French winery, but robots have been steadily taking on more complex wine related tasks such as yield monitoring, vine pruning, and grape sorting. And with the advances in image recognition, AI and spectrometry, robots will only get better at the more nuanced necessities of wine making and play an even bigger part of what goes in your bottle.
Hopefully, hundreds of years from now, we can figure out a way co-exist with robots so us humans have more time to enjoy their wine.
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