Streamlining production management
Seeing what is happening inside the vat while the wine is fermenting might be a dream come true for many winemakers. Normally limited to information obtained from analysing samples collected manually during fermentation, winemakers have been forced to make decisions based on fragmented information which could only troubleshoot problems after they occurred, making them difficult to avoid. As part of this project, Sogrape has established a partnership with a Portuguese technology company (WATGRID) who has solved this issue by inventing sensors which, when placed inside a vat of fermenting wine, measure and continuously send data essential to evaluating the quality of the process and the final wine.
This information can be used to control indicators on wine fermentation quality in real time and avoid potential accidents, such as sluggish or arrested fermentations, to prevent and even avoid them. This same technology is being tested to control wine stored in wooden barrels and the ageing of liqueur wines such as Port Wine. The project opens the doors to new concepts in smart winemaking, based on predictive control to better ensure wines of superior quality in a consistent, sustainable manner. The system, integrated with a wireless data network and a web-based display platform, has alarms so that the winemaker, wherever he or she may be, always knows what is happening and is automatically alerted of any problem in a given wine vat. This integration has allowed the system to be used in another research project (PRECIDIF) and with WiCO, Sogrape's tool for managing its wine production. The WINEGRID system has been developed with consecutive funding from European Horizon 2020 (DIVA) and national financing programmes (Centro 2020).