A Year with VIGOR10/31/2016 3:56:02 AM
SCIENCE OF WINE: A Year with VIGOR | OCT 30TH, 2016 | BY CHRISTIAN PALMAZ
It has been an honor to receive such recognition by press and industry colleagues for our various innovations. Salon Magazine recently called us “the most technologically advanced winery on the planet and Life Refined said we “flawlessly meld futuristic innovation with ancient winemaking techniques.” Additionally it has been a pleasure to share our experience and technology with visitors from all over the world.
While I am flattered so many find our unique approach so novel, I remain committed to simply improving our farming and wines. Now that harvest is complete and all the wines have completed fermentation, I am happy to share with you a few of our latest improvements.
Early this year we introduced a new piece of technology we call VIGOR. VIGOR stands for Vineyard Infrared Growth Optical Recognition. Essentially, VIGOR is a smart piece of software studying infrared imagery gathered by an aircraft (not drone) flown twice weekly and mating it with soil moisture measurements. The result helps us to determine how much irrigation each plant requires and helps to improve vineyard balance. The concept itself has been around for decades in large scale agribusiness but seldom implemented as a direct driver of irrigation. VIGOR tells us exactly how to adjust the irrigation system to balance subtle differences in growth as the season progresses.
The first, and perhaps most significant impact on VIGOR observed, is the evenness of the ripening character. Since we are able to make adjustments on a week by week basis even the most minute difference in growth rate can be remedied. The results from this harvest were nothing short of significant and the winemakers report marked improvements in flavor consistency and ripeness throughout parcels.
The second major benefit VIGOR brings is a significant reduction in water use. Water conservation has always been an important issue for us. The winery already has a net zero water waste process thanks to our underground water treatment system. In VIGOR’s first year we demonstrated a nearly 20% reduction in water usage per acre. Before VIGOR, we were forced to irrigate our vineyards as a group often satisfying the needs of the lowest common denominator. Now we are able to farm the vineyard focusing on the individual vines needs rather than the group.
Looking forward to next year we are excited to soon discuss future technologies we have in the pipeline. Until then continue to enjoy the wines and we in the vineyard and cellar will continue to push the envelope of technology to achieve the highest quality and artistic expression possible.