Among European wine producers, Hungary is surely well positioned. Its wines are knew since three century, and the sweet Tokaj was one of preferred wines by Old Europe crowned heads.
It’s not a surprise that new technologies are beginning to be used in the vineyards of this country also, because Hungary is linked to its tradition but looking the future.
Interview to Smartvineyard™
I’ve had the chance to interview mr. Csaba Arendas, CEO of SmartVineyard™, a project born from the tech firm Quantislabs about monitoring vines, soil and weather in the vineyards. With Nora Zohls, General Assistant of Smartvineyard™, we have packaged questions and answers.
Csaba Arendas: Wine making has great tradition here in Hungary and I am also coming from a wine maker family. Smartvineyard™ provides professional solutions for viticulture. Our mission is to make grapes healthier and contribute to a greener environment. Equipped with precision sensors. Smartvineyard™ stations capture the most accurate weather data in order to avoid oversparying, decrease the yield loss and have healthier wine and less stress as a result.
Me: Internet of Things is leading City to SmartCity. Do you think it can do the same for vineyard in the future? How long away is, this future?
Csaba: Yes, it does change the vineyard and the agriculture. It is happening right now.
A wine and technology startup
Smartvineyard™ won some awards for European start-up, and in 2014 they got 1 million € from the biggest european fund for R&D, Horizon 2020, to develop their project to turn microclimatic and organic data into plant disease-forecasts.
The Hungarian equipe has flown to San Francisco, CA, showing their results at Intel Global Challenge ranking among the Top 10 best innovation projects. This shows us that Silicon Valley is hardly interested to wine innovations, because both wine and technology live in California. Good opportunities for Old World countries like Hungary, having about wine a longer history than US.
To have customs like Tamàs Dùzsi and Kovacs Nimrod, Gere Attila, Sauska Winery or Tokaj Winery is a good business card for Smartvineyard™ crew and to get interest from other wineries also, and ever more winegrowers are following this way to do their job. Technology, without forgetting that wine production is an activity where the job is done mainly by humans.
New technology and Old Wine World
Me: GIS and Big Data are two work tools supporting agriculture and viticulture. More advanced regions, like Australia or new entry UK, using those instrument to do a better product. It’s a risk for Old Europe of wine?
Csaba: Viticulture is more than a 3000 year old business with significant apriory knowledge called farming. GIS and Big Data can improve a lot, but still visiting your field is a must. This is not a computer game.
Me: I saw a video with you and dr. Dula Bencéné, when she says that is difficult to persuade old winegrowers using new technology. Same problem we have in Italy, where history and tradition seems be more a weight than an added value. Great history and tradition has Hungary, also. How can it solve this problem?
Csaba: Hopefully if the winegrowers see that even the tranditional, well-known winemakers use new technology, they can be convinced as well. And winemaking is flourish in every generation.
Me: Is it difficult to speak to winegrowers about technology? And, conversely, engineers understand well the problems of making wine?
Csaba: If you find the right words it is not that difficult to connect the two sides. Also, it is a very user-friendly technology. It takes only about 15 minutes to set up a station and you only need a screwer.
They have hardware like sensors to measure main parameters of the plant and soil, system to monitor the micro-climate, equipments to connect the network of these devices. And it has software to analyze, forecast, synchronize data all over the vineyard and sending them to a central unit to display simple graphs and table, all very simple to mount and use.
Use of technology is going to be important in the art of winegrowing,
Mankind make wine with little variations since many centuries, and the men work will continue to be important and you can’t be replace it by a machine. Innovation is nothing but a great help to make decisions when the winegrower has to decide speedly and good.
Thank to Csaba Arendas and Nora Zohls for their time to kinkly answering me for my blog.
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