I have a dream to own a vineyard someday.  Perhaps when I retire.  But until then, I continue to devote my free time to understanding the physical demands of managing a vineyard.  From that understanding, as usual in my own swirling world of ideas I try to convert the physical demands to a logical format; a format that I can then use to develop an application that will help manage the vineyard.

I can appreciate the investment of time, resources, blood, sweat and tears that goes in to managing a vineyard.  I have not had the opportunity to take part in this activity.  As a business analyst, I can only study, learn and develop concepts of how technology can be applied to helping wine producers manage their prime investment.

First, I know that vineyard management is more than growing grapes on a vine.  There are other aspects such as pest management, grape yields, trellis systems, vine training, pruning, farming (organic or biodynamic, for example), canopy management, water and irrigation, nutrition, fertilization and harvesting.  Next are soil characteristic analysis, pre-planting decisions (for land cleared to accommodate new vines), and dealing with the changes in climate.

I appreciate what is involved in vineyard management just based on the list of things I have listed above during my research.  The next time I take a sip of wine, I will remember what it takes just to get the grapes grown, harvested and moved into the production facility where the fermentation process runs its cycle before the wine can be shipped to market.  That, and knowing that sometimes the wine will mature in oak barrels for months just to give the wine that extra woodsy flavour.  Truly an intricate process.

As a software developer keen on taking ideas and turning them into reality, I see some aspects of the physical management of vineyard being tracked and managed in a software application.  As always, there is a proof of concept that needs to take place, assumptions need to be validated with industry experts and vineyard managers themselves.  But in the end, software can complement what is done physically in the vineyard.  It involves an intricate process of cultivating the right ingredients to make it work.

Sean D. Christopher

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