Monday, 05 February 2024 14:25

Agritech's relentless growth

Written by  Sophie Preece

OPINION: Witnessing the relentless growth of agritech in New Zealand vineyards and wineries is somewhat "bittersweet" for Tahryn Mason, who loves the hands-on traditions of winegrowing.

But the viticulturist, who canvassed the challenges and opportunities of existing tech at the 2023 Grape Days in Marlborough, says people are increasingly realising that technology - and in particular automated technology - is going to be a big part of how the industry works in the future. "In terms of solving a very real issue for the industry - attracting and retaining staff - it might be the most tangible solution."

On the flipside, technology could close some of the doorways people have traditionally used to enter the industry, as he did as a university student with a holiday job running nets over a vineyard. "If you don't have those avenues into the industry it is going to be more difficult to advertise it as a viable career choice." Despite regrets about what might be lost through technology. Tahryn is also excited by what can be gained, particularly with the scale of Marlborough, where innovation can offer a more detailed understanding, in lieu of broad brushstrokes.

In this edition we look at a handful of the myriad technological advancements in wine, from apps for data management to autonomous vineyard tractors. "These advances are mind-blowing," says viticultural consultant Dr David Jordon. "And where they can take us, beyond comprehension."

Sophie Preece

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