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Purdue Researchers Developing Tech To Streamline Vineyard Decisions

Sergio Russo

A Purdue researcher says technology may be the key to making the vineyard industry more ecologically -- and economically -- friendly.

Electrical and computer engineering professor David Ebert and his research team are working on software that calculates the best decisions for farmers based on information such as weather patterns, soil mapping and business trends.

Ebert says the focus is on wineries because winemaking is a more complex process than traditional farming.

“In terms of viticulture, for grape-growing and oenology for wine-making, to understand how the decisions people make during the year not only affect the quantity of what they produce but the quality and the market value of what they’re going after,” Ebert says.

The software is being tested by a few California wineries the researchers have been working with since 2014.

“By knowing what’s going on deep in the soil and what’s available to their plant, they can actually make management decisions in terms of their crop load, and the canopy for photosynthesis, and things like that to really get a more uniform and optimum crop out of what they’re producing,” Ebert says.

Ebert says weather patterns are making agricultural decisions more complex – especially for perennial crop growers like wine-makers.