Tasting Wine · Technology

A brief look at automation in winemaking (and a flashback to Januik)

Plainly speaking, automation is a part of wine making. The larger the winery, the more automation is used. Why? The use of automation in winemaking saves time and money for wineries. Granted, there is always the initial investment costs, but more often than not, the return on investment (or ROI) is well worth it.

In my previous post, I highlighted Artificial Intelligence (or AI) in winemaking, but before I continued down that path, I wanted to take a moment to make note of some technology that is currently being used in winemaking now. And what better way than to be be sipping a glass of Januik wine, which integrates automation in their process.

Is there a difference between automation and AI?

Simply put: yes. Both automation and AI use advanced technology, but with slightly different purposes. Automation is used to do repetitive, monotonous tasks (such as the remuage process in making Champagne), where as AI is designed to think and act like a human (such as using data to create the best possible operation schedule).

A shout-out to a little automation in winemaking today

Winemaking can be seen in temperature control or the fermentation process in the tanks, to name a few. A few good examples highlighted in the article,  Do we still need winemakers? include:

The VinWizard system from New Zealand has probes for measuring Brix/density directly; the Kreyer VinInfo systems from Germany measure the rate of CO2 production as a proxy…

Januik uses Logix systems for monitoring temperatures in their winemaking process, along with other tasks, such as raising water temperatures and monitoring ventilation to prevent molds. The system saves the winery on both time and money, allowing for attention to be given to other areas of the winery that might otherwise be overlooked.

Januik tasting notes

I thought it was only fitting to enjoy a glass of Januik red wine while reading about the automation used in their winery. Januik was actually one of the first wines I had tasted on my blog, so it was interesting to see how my palette has changed over the years. Let’s just say, I thoroughly enjoyed my glass.

The wine was a brilliant ruby red, with a nose of tannins, as well as stone fruits. The wine was smooth and the palette was robust, earthy and reminiscent of pie cherries.


Wine quality and automation

Does automation impact the quality of wine? Not necessarily. Purists may not agree with me, telling me that a wine is the makers heart and soul. But, where I see automation being plugged in doesn’t tell me that the overall integrity of the wine is compromised. To me, having temperature controls monitored by a computer allows the winemaker to spend more attention to other aspects of the process. I would be interested to hear your thoughts though.

Watch for more on AI in winemaking as I continue to explore this subject.



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