10/29/2009

Technologies and trends for vineyards and wine cellars

It takes place only every three years – making each turn-out a spectacular event of innovation, which will be seen in the coming spring. “INTERVITIS INTERFRUCTA 2010 will offer all visitors the opportunity to find out about the latest technology and trends for vineyards and wine cellars”, explains Prof. Monika Christmann, Chairwoman of the Oenology Committee at the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) in Paris. But exactly what kind of technological innovation can be expected from the world’s leading trade fair taking place from 24 – 28 March 2010 in Stuttgart?

The key phrase is ‘climate change’. An increase in average temperatures, longer dry seasons and the more frequent occurrence of heavy rainfall are not only demanding adjustments in vineyard management, such as in drip irrigation, but also an appropriate reaction from the cantiniere – on a global scale! According to the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), the alcohol content of (Australian) red wines rose from 12.3 volume percent in 1983 to 13.9 percent in 2004! A trend very similar to that of Europe; who can forget the 2003 summer of the century! It was with good reason that the European Union authorised the partial de-alcoholisation of wine on 1 August 2009. A theme that will no doubt be hotly debated at IVIF 2010. Prof. Christmann is certain: “In view of the much discussed topic of climate change, the recently authorised procedure of alcohol reduction should be of particular interest to those attending the event.”

Dr. Rainer Jung from the Geisenheim Research Centre also views the current global warming crisis as an important reference point for technological innovation: “Procedures such as pasteurisation, which is taken as standard in other drinks industries, are also increasing in importance in winemaking. And due to the climate changes taking place, the selection of high-quality healthy grapes will be a major theme for discussion at the forthcoming INTERVITIS INTERFRUCTA”.

Several exhibitors have looked to address this with new products and equipment, among them Scharfenberger GmbH & Co. KG. “What is needed are selection methods and machines to achieve harvested grapes which are as perfect as possible. There is a real effort being made towards gentler processing”, explains Dieter Heckel from the Bad Dürkheim company, who will be presenting a laser-controlled, fully automatic sorting system at the trade fair. The French company Pellenc is in the process of getting two new products ready for the German market: a stationary grape sorting system (“Selective Process Winery”) for the wine cellar, as well as a mobile solution with an integrated machine vision system and specific software.

What other trends are to be expected? There will certainly be plenty of innovative new features in the area of filling, whether it be alternative packaging systems or developments in processing technology. Further developments in membrane processing and treatment agents have already been announced. A sneak peak: Begerow will be introducing, in addition to “Sihaferm PureNature” (a fermentation product which contains two yeast species for controlled spontaneous fermentation), “Becopad”, a new deep-filtering medium from pulp. Erbslöh will be exhibiting new products for must and wine treatment: “Kupzit”, for the elimination of the hydrogen-sulphide flavour, “Boerovin”, for acidification and the organic pure yeast “Oenoferm Bio”. The French company Tonnellerie Radoux will be presenting its system for the spectrometric rapid determination of tannin in oak barrels (“OakScan”). And “Barrel Cam” is the name given to the new “swan neck–like” product for inspecting oak barrels with which Wine Technology GmbH from Trittenheim is hoping to impress the crowds.

And what technological trends are there to be found in winegrowing? Prof. Hans-Peter Schwarz, Head of the Institute for Technology at the Geisenheim Research Centre, explains: “With the many new laws introduced, new developments are to be expected, in particular in the area of plant protection. There is a cooperation between forecast models, application technology and the most varied of sensors for the reduction of application rates.” Multiple-row technical solutions for the work carried out in vineyards are planned and will be presented using prototypes. With the topic of precision winegrowing, there will certainly be electronic solutions such as guidance systems, field record systems, grape scanners, yield monitoring and automatic documentation possibilities on display. For soil cultivation, there will be fuel-efficient and erosion-resistant technologies in demand. In the tractor area, continuously variable transmissions and motors which conform to the new exhaust emission standard can be found. Prof. Schwarz: “We can expect the technologies demanded by occupational safety for steep slopes, for example, hydrostatic track systems and driverless technologies for SMS equipment. Here, too, multiple-row technologies have already been experimented with.”

On behalf of the industry, Bernd Clemens (Clemens GmbH & Co. KG, Wittlich) can confirm what Prof. Schwarz had to say, adding that “the global trend in winegrowing is clearly heading in the direction of automation and multiple-row processing.” In addition to a system for flexible and faster processing under vines, the company in Wittlich, which plans to exhibit at the trade fair on an impressive 800 square metres of space because IVIF is “the most important international trade fair”, has new equipment to showcase for both areas. Dexheimer GmbH is also promising great things: “Winegrowers today are demanding greater improvements in productivity for both economic and ecological reasons. Therefore, we have come up with solutions which combine the work processes”, explains Rainer Lenga.

At INTERVITIS INTERFRUCTA 2010, Dexheimer will be showcasing the new “Series 500” narrow-track tractors, characterised by three cultivation rooms which can be used at the same time: for front, side and rear harvesting. As an importer of the Gregoire grape pick-up loader, Dexheimer is also promising a better working

combination: from 2010, all self-propelled models, as well as equipment carriers with four cultivation rooms (plus frame), will be available for purchase. In contrast, the company AGCO is focussing on added comfort: Making a big appearance at IVIF 2010 will be the new special tractors from the “Fendt Vario” series with continuously variable transmission and diverse features which aim to make the work that bit more manageable. New products at the trade fair for vine cultivation also promise more productive work: the “Regalis” growth regulator for the breaking up of the grape structure from BASF, “Pergado” for combating peronospora from Syngenta or the new insecticide “Coragen” from DuPont.

Rest assured that the visitors to IVIF 2010 will have an exciting display of innovation to look forward to.