Satellite-controlled grape harvesting, nothing short of a minor revolution in the winemaking world! Or, how satellite imaging helps the wine-grower improve preparations for the delicate harvesting process, to ensure a better blend of grapes harvested, and offer the wine lover better quality wines.
For two years now, the Oenoview® service has been helping wine-growers by providing maps derived from satellite images, indicating the state of maturity of the crop, before harvesting begins. Only a few more months to go until the first bottles of wine can be tasted …
Each year, at the height of summer, the media announce that the next vintage will be good, or excellent, or maybe even exceptional – well before the harvest starts. How do they know this? Quite simply because in the wine production cycle, the month of July is crucial: this is when the wine-grower can estimate the maturity of the grapes. On the basis of this estimate, he/she will be able to optimise the organisation of the harvest which is to take place a few weeks later. Similarly, thanks to the information gathered, he/she will be able to assess how much pesticide will be needed in the final run-up to harvesting.
Astrium Services, in partnership with the ICV (Institut Coopératif du Vin), has devised a service, called Oenoview®, designed to help the wine-grower during this evaluation phase, so critical to the quality of the wine. This service is based on the expertise of two agronomic remote-sensing and modelling companies. The satellite images, acquired in July, are processed by Astrium Services personnel using Overland software to extract information about the vivacity of the vine, such as the chlorophyll content of the leaves, an indicator that is closely linked to the maturity of the fruit. This ‘correlation’ is carried out by ICV staff who contribute all their agronomic expertise and knowledge of the vine.
The maps delivered before the harvest period offer wine-growers valuable information about how their plots are faring, but above all about discrepancies within and between these plots. This enables them to harvest and blend their grapes according to the data supplied by Oenoview®, thereby improving the quality of the wines produced.
Oenoview® received the Bronze Award for Agriculture and New Technologies at the 2009 Paris Agricultural Show.