The Internet of Things is Changing the Game for: Vino

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the game for every industry, including wine. In 2014, E. & J. Gallo Winery paired up with IBM to change the way they grow their vines. Gallo Winery owns over 20,000 acres of vineyards. When they saw NASA satellite images of their vineyards, it was apparent that sections looked overwatered or under watered; and they knew something needed to change.

Gallo Winery decided to change up their watering system and bring in IBM to help them do it. Their old system was not precise enough to calibrate the watering of individual plants. After changing their irrigation system (piping, valves and infrastructure) to Netafim, they could control water to 140 individual sections of vines.

IBM brought in an IoT watering infrastructure to monitor weather forecasts,  provide imagery and inform watering techniques. Weather is a major component in how much water a vine might need: wind, storms and sunlight all play an integral role in this determination process. Depending on weather, the vine might need 12 gallons of water one day, but only 2 gallons of water the next. The new infrastructure that was put in place could provide predictions of the weather 24 hours ahead of time and estimate how much water the vines would need as a result.

At the end of 2014, Gallo Winery looked at new satellite images of their 10-acre test area and were shocked. Not only were the plants healthier, but overall they had also conserved water. They used 25% less water while crop improved 26%. That means they managed to conserve seven TRILLION gallons that year, all while producing a higher quality vine. Imagine, if other growers used this, how much water we would save.

After years of successful trial runs with vineyard grapes, IBM is researching the IoT water system with other crops such as mangos, walnuts, almonds and other citrus fruits. With this kind of progress being shown so early, it seems inevitable that IoT systems can change the way we produce food and consume water entirely.


Sources: Nick Dokoozlian, E. J.Gallo Winery with IBMJonathan Vanian, Fortune

Andrea Massimilian

Andrea Massimilian is the Multi-Channel Marketing Manager at ClearObject. Andrea came to the company after graduating from the University of Dayton and completing two years in the prestigious Orr Fellowship. A patron of the arts, more specifically musical theatre and all things Harry Potter related (#always), Andrea can usually be found exploring Indy’s cultural events including local theatre, film festivals, food festivals and everything in between.

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