Technology and Wine

Technology will continue to impact the wine industry, not only for consumers, but those making wine as well

Rather than writing about Tet and wine, I thought of doing something different and ask you, or ask myself, if technology has a place in quality wine making. As most of you know, I am really pro tradition, quality and value when talking about wine, so technology may be at the opposite spectrum of my way of thinking.

And it’s as if technology is used to cheat, as some wineries do, by using chemicals to change the taste of the wine, its texture, and even its look. Others use machinery in a different process to save costs, and that affects the quality, too. Therefore, I am totally against it. In case you’ve ever wondered why those cheap Chilean and Australian wines don’t taste that bad, it is because a lot of chemicals are put into the wine making process to give it a nice taste. You may be saving money, but don’t complain about the headache afterwards.

However, technology has been used considerably in wine making with positive purposes and outcomes. If you have been drinking wine for a while you may have noticed the vast improvement in the quality of wine from Spain, Portugal and Italy, even with the inexpensive bottles. One of the reasons for this is that now most wineries, even smaller ones, have small labs built in and they use technology to better control temperature and processes, from grape picking to fermentation. It is not about adding anything to the wine, but about finding the right timing, temperature, etc., and the results are there.

Another way in which technology is helping wine lovers is, for example, by telling us when the wine is ready. Innovative wineries like Mar de Frades in Rias Baixas have incorporated a thermal sensor on the label of their wines that will show a little boat when the wine is cold enough to be drunk. The wine maker and sommeliers have worked hard to check at what temperature wine tastes better, and that saves us the work while being able to enjoy the wine at its best with just a quick look.

Currently, drones are also being used to take pictures and videos of vineyards and send the data back to the winery. This helps by showing where pests start, which pests in particular, and whether some areas need more irrigation than others—this not only improves quality and reduces costs, but also helps to improve the overall performance of the winery, and this is just the beginning!

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