Wine Industry Network (WIN) recognizes five companies with WINnovation Awards for excellence in wine industry innovation
Vineyards and wineries face new, growing and shifting challenges each year, whether from the continued pressure to stay ahead of the competition or adapt to new environmental or market conditions. Meanwhile, behind the scenes wine industry suppliers and service providers continuously work to create new ways of solving problems or seizing new opportunities, using ingenuity and technology to develop innovative solutions for the vineyards and wineries.
“Here at WIN, we have the privilege of seeing the newest products and services on a regular basis, and I’m continually impressed by the level of innovation,” says Wine Industry Network President George Christie. “In many cases, industry suppliers are the change agents that help winery and vineyard operations impact quality or improve efficiencies. The WINnovation Awards are a way for us to acknowledge the efforts of these suppliers and their contribution to the wine industry.”
The winners of Wine Industry Network’s 10th annual WINnovation Awards for excellence in wine industry innovation are:
- Buckeye Corrugated Inc.
- Simple Labs
Below are short introductions to the specific innovations from the winners that merited their recognition.
Agrology’s predictive agriculture technology platform was designed to help growers adapt to climate change, and when wildfires started ravaging wine country, they realized that detecting wildfire smoke and, more crucially, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cause smoke taint would be a valuable insight to help growers mitigate their exposure. Agrology uses a variety of sensors and merges the data using machine learning to forecast conditions up to four days into the future so growers can anticipate problems and act. The platform is the first effective, affordable and easy-to-use predictive agriculture technology. It can provide block-level weather that shows what’s happening in real-time for each block’s nano-climate and forecast what will occur next. Growers can use this information to mitigate exposure, for example, by harvesting blocks in order of which are most exposed to raisining or smoke effects.
Learn more about Agrology at WIN Expo booth 99, and hear Agrology CEO, Adam Koepel will speak at the WIN Expo session on Exploring Water Conservation Practices in the Vineyard.
Buckeye Corrugated Inc. (BCI) – VinoPack
VinoPack by BCI is a corrugated suspension pack for shipping wine that not only ensures ease of loading and unloading, but is curbside recyclable. It includes a Temperpack-created cold chain single panel for summer shipments that maintains the FedEx ISTA ship testing and 7E summer shipment standards. The suspension design ensures that the bottles don’t bounce around during shipping, as is sometimes the case with standard molded pulp cavities, and moving away from pulp also reduced wineries’ inbound freight costs, which benefits the environment doubly while delivering the wine safely.
Learn more about VinoPack from Buckeye Corrugated Inc.at WIN Expo booth 724.
GOfermentor – GOblend
The traditional method of creating wine blends with beakers and notepads can be both labor-intensive and inaccurate. The GOblend sets out to solve this problem and give winemakers a better tool to sample and record their blends that will allow them to try more variation in less time and record their findings more efficiently to create a better end product. With the GOblend, a winemaker can create blends from up to four different wines at a time and let the machine mix the wines with the percentages of each that they enter into a table app. The GOblend companion app also allows the winemaker to record notes on each blend and easily make blend adjustments to try different variations and more efficiently achieve their target profile. All the data is stored in the app for future reference or export, so that insights can be implemented and recalled.
Learn more about GOblend at gofermentor.com/goblend.
Lamothe-Abiet – Excellence B-Nature
Excellence B-Nature is a bio-protector, an alternative to SO2 that controls microbial spoilage without altering wine profile and fermentation capacities. It’s developed by Lamothe-Abiet and distributed by Bucher Vaslin. Excellence B-Nature is a pure Metschnikowia Pulcherrima strain isolated from grapes in Stellenbosch, South Africa, that occupies an ecological niche of the grapes or juice, thus limiting the development of undesirable indigenous microorganisms. It develops quickly on grapes and juice after harvest, colonizing the environment, decreasing the population of spoilage microbes like Brettanomyces, other non-Saccharomyces, lactic acid bacteria and acetic acid bacteria. It also promotes the proper development of positive microbes, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to take over and start the fermentation. B-Nature is a response to the high demand from winemakers for the reduction of SO2 use to improve their wine quality while still controlling for microbial spoilage.
Learn more about Excellence B-Nature from Bucher Vaslin at WIN Expo booth 441.
Simple Labs – COGNI
The COGNI device is a barrel insert placed in the bunghole that continuously monitors the wine’s temperature, humidity, free and molecular SO2, pH, acetic acid/VAs, ethanol/alcohol, phenol/guaiacol, internal pressure and fill level. Paired with the Simple Labs COGNI SaaS platform, it delivers alerts when levels slip out of user-set tolerance ranges and a dashboard where winemakers can see daily data for a single barrel or look at many barrels over a longer period. The continuous stream of information and data processing allows the winemaker to be more efficient and target in the interventions, and can simultaneously save them money by reducing lab test expenses.
Learn more about COGNI by Simple Labs at WIN Expo booth 316.
Meet four of this year’s innovators at the North Coast Wine Industry Expo (WIN Expo) on December 1, 2022 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds along with 24 previous WINnovation Award winners and nearly 300 total exhibitors.