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Data Driven Winemaking


Data Driven Winemaking

If you’re a winemaker, winery operations manager or C-level, looking to create a more data driven winemaking process, this article is for you.

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Data Driven Winemaking

If you’re a winemaker, winery operations manager or C-level, looking to create a more data driven winemaking process, this article is for you.

The concept of being data driven means undertaking activities compelled by data, rather than intuition or personal experience. It’s a buzzword, no doubt, but with increasing ability to collect data on everything and anything, it’s important for wineries to consider how to utilize data in decision making.

If you’re a winemaker, winery operations manager or C-level, looking to create a more data driven winemaking process, this article is for you.

This article considers how Winely technology can help winemakers make decisions on their wine in the primary fermentation stage. It considers current state based on over 100 conversations with winemakers and operations managers and compares this to the Winely state based on in field tests, customer references and observed changes in practices.

Being data driven requires, firstly, data to be collected in a timely and meaningful way.

Data collection in primary fermentation is done often, generally fermentation tanks will be on at least a daily monitoring schedule, and most wineries attempt to collect two sample points a day. The highest we’ve seen is 6 samples a day and was from an absolute premium wine brand (if you break this record we would love to hear).

In current state the only way to get more data is to have more people walking around the tanks. This is problematic for a few reasons;

  1. Health and safety
  2. Human error
  3. Labour costs and labour shortages

Unfortunately, being data driven and relying on one to two data points a day is difficult. Wine is a living, biological product - in the primary fermentation stage it changes rapidly and looking for trends in the data is incredibly important. This means for a winery to become data driven, the method for data collection needs to advance.

In Winely state we use our smart, connected, hardware devices to take samples in-situ, reporting results back to any cloud-connected device. This means data collection is done, and can be viewed in real-time. The result of this is a reduction in time spent collecting data, a reduction in human error, improved health and safety practices, and of course, a step on the way to becoming a data driven winery.

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Winely's dashboard allows winemakers to track their ferments in real-time, capturing the overall fermentation trend.

Akhila hugging a Marlborough wine tank before COVID-19 lock-down

Current state of data collection

  • Manually monitor the tank farm
  • 1 to 2 samples a day

Winely state of data collection

  • Automatically monitor the tank farm
  • Thousands of data points a day

To be truly data driven, of course, it’s not enough to simply collect and look at as much data as possible - that would be incredibly overwhelming and not particularly useful. Being truly data driven means having the ability to not only collect data but understand it and make decisions on it.

Currently winemakers are using data to make decisions, but it’s not always easy. Some wineries can take up to 72 hours to collect the data, analyse it and use it to make a decision. This sounds like a long time but when you consider that it can take one person 3 to 6 hours to get around 100 tanks and sample them, and then more time again to input the data, it starts to make sense why this is happening. By the time a winemaker identifies that something is going off track (which generally requires more than one sample) it could easily be a day (two sample runs).  Put simply, winemakers have a lot of data to analyse and it’s already taking a lot of time to collect.

In Winely state wineries have no delay between collecting data and using it to make decisions. They can sit down and look at real time data coming in - giving them multiple data points to make decisions on immediately. Winely will also visualise the data points in an intuitive and easy to understand way. This makes it easier to analyse and use in decision making. With Winely you can even compare your wine fermentation performance to previously set parameters and targets, a winemaker is notified instantly if something is going ‘outside of range’ and can correct for it, you guessed it, in real-time.

Current state of decision making

  • Wait for data to come in
  • Input and analyse data
  • Make decisions on data

Time to make decision = 24- 72hrs

Winely state of decision making

  • Data reporting in real-time
  • Easy analysis tools
  • Alerts and warnings for preset fermentation parameters

Time to make decision = immediate

The main advantage of being data driven in winemaking is improved end wine quality. If we take principles of being data driven, the opportunities to optimize wine in the primary ferment using Winely becomes possible. The ability to use data to make decisions on our primary fermentations means we can react faster, detect anomalies, and optimize the fermentation process. Using Winely gives a winemaker actionable data that they can use in decision making with confidence.

Want to see for yourself? Reach out and we will be in touch about how Winely could help in your step to becoming a data driven winery.

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