A Spanish software house is offering a technological solution to UK winemakers keen to modernise their operations and develop their tourism business as a key revenue stream.
Madrid-based Ecana has step up a London office to help target vineyards in England and Wales after developing its software package with the help of Spanish vineyards, says Ecana CEO Raul Castro Fernandez.
He says: “I have been based in London since October, 2011 to undertake market research. We have developed a working prototype after consulting with vineyards in Rioja. Many vineyards are worried that software will replace the human skills of the winemaker. While some packages try to replace the human, especially those that treat wine like a commodity like Coca Cola, our software is not about replacing the human touch but providing data to make their work more professional.
“We are targeting the wine sector as it is precision agriculture by offering a technological solution that transforms all the data that a vineyard generates into valuable information for winemakers so that these can take better decisions.”
Fernandez is also keen to point out that the software will also be able to help grow and maintain a healthy income from vineyard visits and tourist activity.
The software will extract data during the growing stage to estimate diseases, frost probability or to optimise irrigation or fertilisation. During fermentation, the software can monitor the process and suggest actions to optimise a given parameter, such as quality, cost, or quantity. Fernandez considers that throughout the winemaking process it is necessary to trace each step to ensure quality control and to generate valuable information, such as comparison with past production levels, profit predictions and so on.
He says: “Every winemaker has his own requirements and what we do is to accommodate our technology to serve the different goals in the best possible way. This is why we also offer consulting services, where we listen to technological-related needs and offer solutions to every problem such as online shopping platforms, access control, identification of barrels and technologically enhanced vineyard visits with augmented reality.”